What are Cashew Nuts?
The cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) is a tropical evergreen tree that produces the cashew seed and the cashew apple. It can grow as high as 14 m (46 ft), but the dwarf cashew, growing up to 6 m (20 ft), has proved more profitable, with earlier maturity and higher yields.
The species is originally native to northeastern Brazil. Portuguese colonists in Brazil began exporting cashew nuts as early as the 1550s. Major production of cashews occurs in Vietnam, Nigeria, India, and Ivory Coast.
The cashew nut, often simply called a cashew, is widely consumed. It is eaten on its own, used in recipes, or processed into cashew cheese or cashew butter. The shell of the cashew seed yields derivatives that can be used in many applications including lubricants, waterproofing, paints, and arms production, starting in World War II. The cashew apple is a light reddish to yellow fruit, whose pulp can be processed into a sweet, astringent fruit drink or distilled into liquor.
Cashew nuts are low in fiber and they are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These include vitamins E, K, and B6, along with minerals like copper, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, iron, and selenium, all of which are important for maintaining good bodily function.
History of Cashew Nuts
The cashew, known botanically as Anacardium occidentale, is the seed of a tropical evergreen shrub related to mango, pistachio and poison ivy. Originating in Brazil, the cashew plant made its way to India and East Africa in the 16th century via Portuguese sailors. Commercial growers in the 21st century cultivate cashews in warm, humid climates across the globe, with Vietnam, Nigeria, India, Brazil and Indonesia among the top producers of 23 cashew countries. Cashews are harvested by hand.
How Do You Eat Cashews?
You might see cashews labeled “raw” in the supermarket, but all cashews undergo some heat in the process to remove the shell and caustic substance. Cashews sold as “roasted” have been cooked twice — once during the shelling process and then roasted to deepen the color and enhance the flavor, sometimes with salt. High in heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, cashews make some superfoods lists for their concentration of protein, fiber, minerals and antioxidants.
Though technically a seed, the cashew generally gets the culinary treatment of a nut. You can buy them whole to eat as a snack out of hand or pureed into butter for use as a spread or smoothie ingredient. Pressed cashews yield a light- to dark-yellow oil better used as a salad dressing ingredient or finishing oil than a cooking oil. It also has cosmetic applications as a skin moisturizer and carrier oil for aromatherapy treatments. Asian and Indian cuisines frequently include whole or chopped cashews as a stir-fry ingredient and in curries. Vegan cooks turn cashews into animal product-free milk, cream, mayonnaise, butter and cheese.
Are Cashews Nuts, Legumes, or Drupes?
I’ve sort of given the answer away already since I told you that cashews are not nuts and not legumes. So, that just leaves the third answer… Yes, cashews are drupes! (Or more technically, those cashew “nut” things we eat are the seeds of a drupe.)
What are drupes?
Don’t worry, that’s pretty much everyone’s response when they hear the word “drupe.” This funky sounding word actually just means “stone fruits” like peaches and plums. Drupes are fruits that have a soft fleshy exterior and a pit with a seed inside. Cashews are an odd drupe in that what we think of as cashews are actually the seed inside the pit of the fruit. And cashews aren’t the only foods we often think of as nuts that are actually drupes. Walnuts, almonds and pecans are also drupes! (Well, there’s some disagreement of course…some botanists classify walnuts and pecans as nuts.)
Cashew Nut Nutrition
Cashews, which are actually seeds as opposed to nuts, are light-colored and kidney-shaped nuts we often see in trail mixes. They’re actually the fruit of the tropical tree called Anacardium occidentale that produces the bitter-tasting cashew apple. Cashews have been used in traditional medicine systems for centuries to heal various ailments, including poor heart health and diabetes. They’re native to coastal Brazil and today are popular across the globe, especially in Asian cuisine.
Due to their high nutrient density and supply of many vital minerals, cashews and other nuts are often recommended most often to improve heart health. Cashews are rich in unsaturated fatty acids and numerous other beneficial compounds, including plant-based protein; dietary fiber; minerals like copper, zinc and magnesium; plus antioxidants in the form of phytosterols and phenolic compounds. The composition of the cashew kernel is about 21 percent protein, 46 percent fat and 25 percent carbohydrates (a portion of which is indigestible fiber), making it a filling, high-protein and high-fat food choice.
One of the key factors of cashews nutrition is their healthy fat content. Cashews are primarily made up of unsaturated fats in the form of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs that contain oleic acid) plus a smaller proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAS mostly in the form of linoleic acid). Roughly 62 percent of the cashew’s fats are monounsaturated fat, 18 percent polyunsaturated fats and the rest a mix of saturated fats.
Because of the positive effects of MUFAs and PUFAs on metabolism and other bioactive functions, many studies associate cashew consumption (and nut consumption in general) with a reduced risk for coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.Cashew Nuts
Amount Per 100 grams
- Calories 553
- Total Fat 44 g – 67% RDA
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 12 mg
- Potassium 660 mg – 18% RDA
- Carbohydrate 30 g – 10% RDA
- Dietary fiber 3.3 g – 13% RDA
- Sugar 6 g
- Protein 18 g – 36% RDA
- Calcium 3% RDA
- Iron 37% RDA
- Vitamin B-6 20% RDA
- Magnesium 73% RDA
Like all nuts, cashews provide an excellent source of protein. Protein is one of three macronutrients your body uses for energy, and it is particularly important for rebuilding muscle tissue and creating new cellular compounds. Plus, eating protein prevents you from getting hungry between meals, which can help you stick to a healthy eating plan.
Although many nuts are good sources of protein, cashews stand apart from the pack because of their particularly well-balanced nutritional profile. Each ounce of cashews (about 16 to 18 nuts) contains 160 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 13 grams of fat (most of it heart-healthy monounsaturated fats) (MacMillan, 2015). This makes them less calorie dense than other nuts such as macadamia nuts, which contain 200 calories but only 2 grams of protein per ounce. Thus, eating cashews is an excellent snack choice for people following a low-calorie or high-protein diet.
Cashews Contain No Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy compound that accumulates in the blood, leading to plaque that can restrict cardiovascular functioning. Avoiding cholesterol in your diet can be a healthy choice that promotes optimal blood circulation. Cashews contain no cholesterol, making them an extraordinarily heart-healthy choice.
Cashews Calorie Considerations
Each ounce of cashews has 163 calories, which is only 16 to 18 cashew nuts, so it’s easy to eat multiple servings in one sitting if you aren’t careful. You need to cut 500 calories out of your diet each day to lose one pound per week, and this will be hard to do if you eat too many servings of cashews in one sitting. Eating cashews along with an apple or other relatively low-calorie source of fiber will help you fill up without eating too many calories.
Health Benefits of Cashew Nuts
1. Heart Health
Cashews are a good source of healthy dietary fats, monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) which help reduce Low Density Lipoprotein cholesterol that can cause cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis or the hardening of arteries.
2. Prevents Anemia
Cashew nuts are rich in copper which helps in the metabolism of iron and aids in the formation of red blood cells. Cashew nuts also contain iron, a deficiency of iron can lead to anemia.
3. Improves Vision
Cashews contains a powerful antioxidant pigment called Zea Xanthin which is readily and directly absorbed by the retina. This then forms a protective layer over the retina which prevents the harmful UV rays. They also prevent age related macular degeneration in elderly.
4. Skin Care
Cashew nut is rich in selenium, zinc, magnesium, iron and phosphorous which help boost skin health and prevent skin cancer. The selenium and zinc in cashews help eliminate acne. Selenium, along with vitamin E, helps reduce skin inflammation and hydrates the skin. It also reduces the appearance of scars. Zinc, on the other hand, promotes wound healing.
5. Aids in weight loss
Cashew nuts have omega 3 fatty acids that boost metabolic process that burn excess fat.The study done by the Journal of Nutrition states that the epidemiological evidence indicates consistently that nut consumers have a lower BMI than non-consumers.
6. Regulates Blood Sugar
Cashew nuts are low on the glycemic index scale (Glycemic index is the measure of how quickly a particular food can raise the blood sugar levels).They also contain oleic acid that can reduce triglyceride levels, the excess of which is a common issue in diabetics.
7. Improve Digestive Health
The antioxidants in cashews protect the inner lining of the stomach, and this boosts digestive health. Research has found that intake of cashews can reduce stomach damage due to alcohol.And though low in fiber, cashews might help ease constipation.
8. Improve Digestive Health
The antioxidants in cashews protect the inner lining of the stomach, and this boosts digestive health. Research has found that intake of cashews can reduce stomach damage due to alcohol.And though low in fiber, cashews might help ease constipation.
9. Brain Health
Vitamin E in cashew nuts help prevent age-related memory decline. They also contain iron, zinc, and copper which regulate neurotransmitter pathways and synaptic transmission – and this activity has been linked to prevention of ADHD, depression, anxiety, and even dementia and dyslexia.
10. Reduces Cancer Risk
Cashews are great sources of antioxidant vitamins like tocopherols and phenolic compounds that protect the body from free radical damage. They also prevent cell mutation and DNA damage due to cancerous cells. They contain ellagic acid, which can arrest cancer cell cycle and even induce their death, as per studies. Cashews have been found to be particularly beneficial in treating prostate and liver cancers.
11. Prevents Cancer:
Proanthocyanidins are a class of flavonols which fight against tumor cells by stopping them to divide further. These proanthocyanidins and high copper content in cashew nuts help fight against cancerous cells and keeps you away from colon cancer. This is one of the major cashew nut benefits.
12. Lowers High Blood Pressure:
Cashew nuts lower your blood pressure with the help of magnesium present in them.
13. Helps Hair
Copper is the mineral which helps your hair get that color. So if you take cashews which are full of copper content, you can get that black hair that you always wished for.
14. Healthy Nerves:
Magnesium is stored on the bones surface which prevents calcium from entering the nerve cells and thus keeps the blood vessels and muscles relaxed. Insufficient amount of magnesium can lead calcium to enter the blood vessels leading them to contract. It also leads to high blood pressure, migraine headache etc.
15. Prevents Gallstones:
Daily intake of cashew nut can reduce the risk of developing gallstones up to 25%.
16. Healthy Gums and Teeth:
As mentioned before, the magnesium content present in cashew nuts is very good for bones. So it gives healthy teeth as well as strong gums to hold them.
17. Pleasant sleep:
After menopause, these cashew nuts can give you relaxed and pleasant sleep during nights.
18. Free Radicals:
Cashew nuts help our body to utilize iron properly and eliminate free radicals which cause health problems.
19. Macular Degeneration:
Cashew nuts have the ability to filter Sun’s UV rays and protect us from macular degeneration. Now that you know the health benefits of Cashew nuts, ensure that you eat a few once every week I am sure you already love them.
20. Help Prevent Migraine Headaches
Cashews help support healthy brain function and improve blood circulation while lowering blood pressure. Nuts also provide plant-based phytosterols, which are beneficial for reducing headache duration and occurrence. Additionally, cashews fight rapid changes in blood sugar and hypoglycemia, another well-recognized trigger for migraines.
21. Cashews Are an Excellent Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidants, the compounds that counteract oxidative damage in the cell. Antioxidants sweep through the cell, neutralizing free radicals that can cause cellular damage. Some of the most potent antioxidants include vitamins E and K. Cashews contain both of the vitamins, helping your body fight off oxidative damage.
22. Eating Cashews Could Boost Your Immune System
In addition to containing high amounts of copper, cashews are a great source of zinc (WH Foods, 2014). Failing to get enough zinc compromises your immune system functioning, since this mineral is important for the development of immune system cells, production of antioxidant enzymes and activity of immune system regulators (Ho, 2013). Each 1-ounce serving of cashews provides 1.6 mg of zinc, helping you advance toward your recommended daily target of 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women. In numerous studies, boosting zinc intake has been associated with a healthier immune response, meaning that cashews could help you fight off your next cold (Ho, 2013).
23. Bone health
Cashews are one of the few food sources that are high in copper. One ounce of cashews contains 622 micrograms of copper. For adults aged 19 years and over, the recommended intake for copper each day is 900 micrograms.
Severe copper deficiency is associated with lower bone mineral density and an increased risk of osteoporosis. More research is needed, however, on the effects of marginal copper deficiency and the potential benefits of copper supplementation for prevention and management of osteoporosis.
Copper also plays an important role in the maintenance of collagen and elastin, major structural components of our bodies. Without sufficient copper, the body cannot replace damaged connective tissue or the collagen that makes up the scaffolding for bone. This can lead to a range of problems, including joint dysfunction as bodily tissues begin to break down.
The magnesium in cashews is also important for bone formation as it helps with the assimilation of calcium into the bone. Manganese, another mineral in cashews, has been shown to prevent osteoporosis in combination with calcium and copper.
24. Eye Health
We’ve all heard that carrots are good for your eyes, but it might come as a surprise that cashews are too! They contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, which act as antioxidants when consumed regularly. These compounds protect the eyes from light damage (which can turn into blindness in the elderly), and can even help decrease the instance of cataracts.
How to Select and Store Cashews
Cashews are actually seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple on a cashew tree, native to Brazil. When buying cashews, you will only find them out of their shell–the shell around the cashew contains urushiol, the same substance found in poison ivy, and the inside of the shell contains a toxic resin. Therefore the nut must be safely removed before packaging. To avoid the resin from contacting the cashew, producers either steam the nut at a high temperature or boil in oil to open the shell. This process essentially cooks the cashew a bit, so although cashews may be labeled as raw, they are never completely uncooked due to this shelling procedure. They are, however, more raw tasting than roasted cashews.
Selecting Cashew Nuts
Raw cashews may be difficult to find, but roasted cashews are widely available. Roasted cashews are offered both salted and unsalted, as well as whole or in pieces. You will also find dry-roasted, meaning the nuts were cooked without any added oil. If you are watching your fat intake, choose dry-roasted cashews, as they have a lower fat content than any other nut.
Cashews are offered in bulk and prepackaged containers. When purchasing from bulk bins, make sure the cashews are covered, and that the store has good product turnover to maintain freshness. You will find packaged cashews in a variety of containers–resealable and non-resealable bags, plastic jars, and foil-lined cans. When buying packaged cashews, choose vacuum-packed jars or cans over cellophane packaging as they will stay fresh longer. Whether in bulk or packaged, check to make sure there is no evidence of moisture or insects. Also look to see that the cashews are not shriveled, as this is a sign that they are past their prime. If possible, smell the cashews to ensure they are not rancid. When shopping for cashews you may also see them described as “cashew kernels,” which is the same as the cashew nut.
Storing Cashew Nuts
Cashews have high levels of two things: oleic acid and oil. The oleic acid gives cashews an edge over other nuts by boosting shelf life; cashews last longer than almonds and peanuts, for example. The high oil content (as with all nuts), however, makes them perishable and they can turn rancid quickly. Store cashews in a cool, dry place in an airtight container to avoid absorption of other food odors. At room temperature, they will not last long, but if you refrigerate them, they can last up to six months. Cashews may also be stored in the freezer for up to one year.
More than just a snack, cashew nuts are delicious added to recipes and blended into nut butter.
Other Types Of Products Made From Cashews
Cashew “butter” — a great alternative to peanut butter, this is made by soaking and blending cashews. Salt should be the only other ingredient added.
Cashew flour — made by drying and grinding cashews, this can be used in similar ways to almond meal. Try combining it with coconut flour or other gluten-free flours to make muffins, pancakes or other treats.
Cashew milk — this is a good alternative to almond milk, coconut milk or dairy milk if you avoid lactose and conventional (pasteurized) dairy. It’s a bit creamier than almond milk and is free of sugar and lactose as long as you buy an unsweetened version.
One way to increase the nutrient content of cashews and reduce the presence of antinutrients — which can block some of cashews’ minerals from being absorbed once eaten — is to soak cashews overnight in plain water. You can also sprout cashews to further increase their mineral availability.
There are countless ways to add cashews to your meals: consuming them raw as a healthy snack, adding them to grain-free granola or oatmeal with breakfast, having some cashew butter with fruit, throwing some into a salad, or tossing them into a healthy stir-fry. Premade (or homemade) cashew butter and cashew flour even make it possible to have cashews in smoothies, spread on homemade gluten-free baked goods, or used in place of wheat and other refined flours in many different ways.
Unlike most other nuts, cashews actually contain a fair amount of starch, which is one reason they make a great thickening agency in “milks” or creamy sauces, especially when they’ve been soaked beforehand. This allows them to blend more easily. It’s one reason why they’re popular across the world for thickening soups, curries, meat stews and to make desserts.
In Southeast Asia and India, for example, they’re used this way all the time, such as to make the type of curry dish called korma or to make the sweet treat called kaju barfi. Cashew nuts are also commonly used in Thailand, the Philippines, Chinese and South African cuisine.
Simple Recipes Of Cashew Nuts
Cashew Chicken with Apricot Sauce Recipe
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 1 cup dried apricots
- 6 medjool dates
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 cup coarsely chopped cashews
- 1 1/4 teaspoon curry
- 4 boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cover baking dish with coconut oil. In medium bowl, soak the apricots and dates in the hot water for at least one hour.
- In food processor, blend soaked apricots, dates and honey until thick. Add the mustard and curry powder and pulse until thoroughly blended.
- Pour the sauce in bowl.
- Dip chicken breasts in the apricot mixture, coating well. Roll coated chicken breasts in chopped nuts and place in baking dish. Bake in oven for 25–30 minutes.
Pumpkin Cashew Soup Recipe
This pumpkin cashew soup recipe is full of healthy fats, vitamin A and vitamin C. It’s easy to make, fast, delicious and a favorite.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 can organic pumpkin
- 1 ½ cups chicken bone broth
- 1 jar roasted red peppers
- ⅓ cup sprouted cashew butter
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup coconut milk
- Heat Coconut Oil over medium heat in a sauce pan
- Brown Onion then add garlic for two minutes.
- Add everything but salt, pepper, Coconut Milk, lemon juice, maple syrup.
- Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer for 5 minutes
- Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Pour into blender and puree until smooth.
- Serve in a bowl with Parsley garnish
Cashew Butter Recipe
This cashew butter recipe is full of healthy fats and magnesium. It makes for a great snack.
- 2 cups raw cashews
- ¼ cup medjool dates (optional)
- sesame oil, as needed to facilitate blending
- sea salt to taste
In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe
This recipe is full of flavor, healthy fats and high in protein.
- 2 tablespoons tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1½ pounds chicken breasts, cut into ¾ inch pieces
- sea salt and black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced
- One 8 ounce can sliced water chesnuts, drained
- ¼ cup roasted, unsalted cashews
- 1 small head Boston or Bibb lettuce, leaves separated
- Combine tamari and honey/agave in a small bowl, set aside.
- Heat oil in large skillet over med/high heat. Season chicken with sea salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken begins to brown, about 3 min.
- Lower heat to medium and stir in garlic and ginger. Add scallions and cook for 1 min. Stir in water chesnuts and soy sauce mixture. Continue to cook until chicken is cooked through, about 4 min. Remove from heat and sprinkle with cashews.
- Divide lettuce leaves among individual plates and spoon chicken over the top.
Culinary Uses Of Cashew Nuts
Cashews have crunchy, buttery texture with a pleasant sweet fruity aroma.
Here are some serving tips:
- Cashews can be enjoyed as a snack as they are. They can also be eaten salted or sweetened.
- Cashews are nutty yet pleasantly sweet in taste. They can be relished as a garnish in various kinds of sweets and desserts.
- Cashews, along with almonds and other dry fruits, are being used in savory rice dishes Hyderbad-biriyani, rice-pulao…etc, and in curry (kaaju-shahi-paneer) preparations in Indian, Persian, Pakistani, and Middle-Eastern regions.
- Split or crushed cashew along with almonds, pistachio is often sprinkled over desserts, particularly sundaes, and other confectionaries to enhance flavor.
- The nuts widely employed in the confectionery, as an addition to biscuits, sweets, and cakes.
Cashew apples are among popular fruits; eaten on their own in many regions around the world. They are also being used to prepare healthy drinks.
How To Grow Cashew Nuts
Cashew Nuts Growing Information
Cashew or Anacardium occidentale originates from the Caribbean Island and the North East of Brazil. But today it is grown in several other tropical parts of the world. Mostly in Africa, India and Southeast Asia for cashew nuts. It is also called as cashew apple tree; it is part of the Anacardiaceae family, the same family that belongs to pistachio and mango. Cashew tree can grow up to 6 – 12 m (20 – 40 f) high. Its evergreen leaves are oval, leathery and dark green.
They have a prominent midrib. The flowers, white and pink are gathered in inflorescence at the tips of young shoots. They are smaller in size but very fragrant.
As for the fruits of this tree, do not be fooled by appearances. The cashew apple is oval-shaped, like bell pepper: yellow, orange or red in color is a false fruit (it is also edible). The real fruit, more discreet is a nut attached to the end of the fake fruit. It is that which contains the edible kernel, which we called cashew.
How to Grow Cashew Tree from Seed
Cashew tree can be grown from seeds, air layering, and grafting. To propagate it from seeds, you will need a matured unshelled nut (seed). These seeds are viable up to 4 months. If you have collected the fresh seed from the tree, dry it in the sun for 3 days and soak in water overnight before sowing. Sow the seeds in good quality seed starting mix; the seeds will germinate anywhere from 4 days to 3 weeks.
Requirements for Growing Cashew Nuts Tree
Cashew tree needs at least 6 hours of direct sun, it grows slowly and doesn’t fruit if grown in the shade.
Cashew prefers poor sandy and laterite soil with the pH level around 5 – 6.5. Never grow cashew tree in a clay-rich soil. It is heavy and encourages waterlogging, and in the case of growing cashew tree, the soil you use should be well drained in a way that water will flow smoothly.
Cashew trees are moderately drought tolerant once established, but they produce more fruits if watered regularly. During the summer, water weekly or twice and deeply. Reduce or withhold watering during winter. Overwatering can harm or even kill your cashew tree, so water only if soil is dry and let the soil to dry out between spells of watering.
Cashew tree needs regular application of fertilizer to grow vigorously and produce fruits. Use slow release fertilizer with N-P-K 8 – 3 – 9 according to the product instructions given on the packet, around the base of the tree every two months during growing season. Also apply compost or farm manure once in a year, around 30 pounds (15 kg) on the surface of the soil to a mature tree.
Cashew Nuts Growing Care
Prune cashew trees regularly to remove weak, dead and entangled branches and branches that are infested with diseases or pests. Also, cut overcrowded branches to promote vigorous growth.
Do mulching around your cashew tree with organic matters to prevent weeds and to conserve moisture.
Pests and Diseases
The cashew tree is generally pest free if it is in good health. Major pests that attack it are tea mosquito, stem and root borer, leaf Miner and blossom Webber.
Harvesting and Cashew Nut Processing
Harvest when cashew apples turn pink or red and cashew nut shell are gray. After harvesting, separate the cashew apple from the nut. Cashew apple can be eaten raw or make juice of it. Unshelled cashew nut can be stored up to 2 years.
Do not attempt to break the shell before roasting; cashew shell contains very caustic oil which can burn skin. When processing cashew nut at home must wear gloves and safety glasses and take special care.
Cashew Nuts Growing Tips
- Sow fresh cashew seeds for germination, as they germinate easily.
- A tree grown from seeds take 3 to 5 years to produce its first fruits. Our recommendation is to buy a potted plant from a nursery, this way you’ll not have to wait that long.
- Choose a location that is well protected from the wind.
- Cashew grows better when the temperature remains around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (25 C) although it can withstand temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 C) and as high as 105 Fahrenheit (40.5 C) without any problem.
- Keep the area around the base of your cashew tree free from weeds, small shrubs, vines, and debris.
Watch for sick or dead branches, prune them if necessary.
Benefits of Cashew Nuts
- One of the most delicious and healthiest nuts cashews are an amazing source of nutrients, and not only the cashew nuts but its fruit cashew apple is nutritious too. It is a rich source of vitamin C, five times more than an orange. It also contains higher amounts of calcium, iron and vitamin B1, which is more than most of the fruits.
- To know more about the benefits of cashew nuts read this article.
Quick Tips For Cashew nuts
- Make homemade trail mix with a mixture of cashews and other nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
- Make your own cashew butter (like peanut butter) by blending whole, raw cashews in a food processor until smooth
- Top main dishes such as fish or chicken with a mixture of chopped cashews and herbs before baking
- Mix cashews into your next salad or stir fry
- Use cashew milk as an alternative to dairy milk
Or, try these healthy and delicious recipes developed by registered dietitians:
- Baked halibut with garlicky kale and toasted cashews
- Mason jar lentil salad
- Sweet chilli chicken and cashew stir fry
- Apart from plain and roasted cashews, other cashew products include cashew nut butter, cashew oil, and cashew-based beauty products.
Negative Effects Of Cashew Nuts
For some people, cashews and other tree nuts can potentially cause complications or allergic reactions. Allergic reactions to nuts can sometimes even be life-threatening, although the majority of people with no known nut allergies experience no negative reactions to eating cashews. If you have a known nut allergy, carefully avoid cashews and other tree nuts until you’re tested for reactions to all types of nuts, since an allergy to one type usually means reactions can occur when eating other types, too.
Anyone who has an existing condition of kidney stones might also need to avoid cashews or carefully monitor their nut consumption in general because cashews naturally contain gastric and intestinal soluble oxalates that can make kidney problems worse.
Too much of a good thing can be bad for your health. Unless you are diligent in seeking out unsalted cashews, you may be adding significant amounts of sodium to your diet when noshing on this salty treat. An adult only requires 1,500 mg of sodium per day, while the tolerable upper limit for adults is 2,300 mg. A single ounce of cashews contains 5 mg of sodium, if they are unsalted. However, salted cashews can add 87 g of sodium per ounce. High sodium intake can leave to high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.
Allergies to cashews are on the rise, according to a study published in the December 2003 edition of the journal “Allergy.” The study points out that this is concerning because it affects young children who may have never previously been exposed. A further concern is raised in a 2005 article published in the journal “Archives of Disease in Childhood”: Anaphylaxis, or constricting of the airways, was found to be more common in cashew allergies than in peanut allergies.
Possible Drug Interactions
Cashews have a high magnesium content, generally 82.5 mg of magnesium per ounce. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes a number of drug interactions with magnesium. Quinolone antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin, and magnesium bind together, preventing adequate absorption of the antibiotic. Magnesium may also interact with blood pressure medications and calcium channel blockers, increasing the likelihood of adverse side effects from the medications, such as nausea and water retention. Magnesium from cashews may also interact with diabetic medications, thyroid medications, diuretics and penicillamine. Pay close attention to drug information and if medications list magnesium as a concern, be aware that cashews may contribute to drug interactions.
With a small 1-oz. portion packing a 163 calories and healthy unsaturated fats, this snack could help you tip the scale if you are not careful with portion sizes. Even healthy fats need to be consumed in moderation. Excessive weight gain puts you at risk for high cholesterol, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, stroke, heart disease and many other medical conditions.
Raw Cashew Nuts Are Dangerous
Although these days it is not so common to find raw or in-shell cashews at the store but even if you do then it’s best to stay away from them and give preference to commercially prepared cashew nuts. This is because raw cashews are related to poison ivy and poison sumac and oils present in the cashew shells can cause an itching and unpleasant reactions on our skin .
Commercially prepared cashew nuts are safe for eating because they are de-shelled and roasted at a high temperature and this destroys any lingering toxic oils and make them perfectly safe for eating.
Destroys Balance Of Other Food Materials
Eating cashew nuts is good for our health because of the number of nutrients present in them but even after the presence of a large number of nutrients in cashew nuts, they are not a complete food and our body needs other important nutrients which we get from other food materials like fruits, vegetables, and grains etc.
Because of this reason ,it is better to eat cashew nuts in a limited quantity and as per the recommendation of The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines, it is better to keep the high protein intakes like nuts, beans, tofu and fish to 5.5 ounces per day.
Eating cashew nuts ( and other high protein foods) in limited quantity will ensure that there is enough room for other important food material in our body. So, in short eat cashew nuts ( in moderation) for your good health but don’t let cashew nuts or any other food item to dominate your diet.
Cause High Blood Pressure
Eating too many salted cashew nuts may increase the blood pressure level of our body and give rise to hypertension and other health problems because of the high level of sodium ( around 181 milligrams of sodium per ounce of cashew nuts ) present in salted cashew nuts. It is important to note that level of sodium in unsalted cashew nuts is very low ( around 12 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams of cashew nuts ) which means it is better to eat unsalted cashew nuts and say no to salted cashew nuts.
If you still want to eat salted cashew nuts then eat them only once in awhile and that too in moderation. Although the level of sodium in unsalted cashew nuts is not so high ( in comparison to salted cashew nuts) but still it is better to eat even the unsalted cashew nuts in limited quantity ( to avoid other side effects of cashew nuts overeating ).
Not Suitable For People Suffering From Headaches And Migraines
Eating cashew nuts is not suitable for people suffering from headaches and migraines because of the amino acids like tyramine and phenylethylamine present in them. Although these amino acids are good for our health and help in maintaining the normal blood pressure levels and provide a sense of well-being , but these amino acids may cause head pain in individuals who are sensitive to these amino acids.
Cashew nuts are generally very healthy, but its usage and consumption should be measured depending on the age and health condition of a person. True, cashew nuts are natural in nature but several health conditions can stand as a negative in favoring its consumption.
Cashew nuts do have unsaturated fat present in them and it can go a long way towards prevention of weight gain. Unsaturated fat even though has weight loss properties, its consumption above the required level can frankly go the other way.
Cashew nut allergy is a common hypersensitivity condition in some individuals, especially in the children. The reaction symptoms may range from simple skin itching (hives) to severe form of anaphylactic manifestations, including breathing difficulty, pain abdomen, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The allergic manifestations are due to chemical compound anacardic acid (urushiol) that is present in cashew apples, shells, and nuts. Cross-reactions may also occur with some other nuts and fruits of Anacardiaceae family such as mango, pistachio, etc.
Individuals with known allergic reactions to cashew nut and fruit may observe caution while eating them.
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