cashew
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
May 29, 2024 ·  6 min read

10 Benefits of Eating Cashews Everyday

Cashews are a delicious, rich-tasting snack that many people love to enjoy regularly. There has been some debate, however, as to whether or not they have a place in a healthy diet. The science is in, and it turns out that yes, they do. Cashews are not just delicious, but they also offer a plethora of health benefits that make them an excellent addition to your daily diet. Let’s delve into the various advantages of consuming cashews regularly, along with some drawbacks to be mindful of.

What Are Cashews?

Red cashew and Cashew Nut is on the tree,Leaves of green cashew.
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Cashews are a type of nut that is native to Brazil and other parts of South America. They are often referred to as “tree nuts,” but they are actually seeds that grow on the cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale). They actually belong to the same family as mangoes and pistachios. The cashew tree is a tropical evergreen that can reach up to 40 feet in height. It produces small, yellow flowers and fruit that resemble apples or pears. Cashews have a unique growing process where the cashew nut itself hangs from the bottom of a cashew apple. The shell of a cashew contains an oil that is extremely poisonous when not processed correctly. (1)

Read More: Boiling Whole Walnuts: Unveiling Grandma’s Time-Tested Culinary Trick

10 Benefits of Eating Cashews

Homemade Roasted Salted Cashews in a Bowl
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Cashews are known for their wonderfully buttery texture and mild flavor. Thankfully, this delightful snack is not only delicious, but it also has some benefits for our health. These are ten reasons why you can feel good eating cashews on a regular basis.

1. Packed with Nutrients

Delicious salted roasted cashews in texture pattern. Anacardium occidentale. Closeup of many salted cashew nuts of kidney shape in beige culinary background. Vegetarian food full of healthy nutrients.
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Cashews are a rich source of vital nutrients like protein, healthy fats, and essential minerals such as copper, magnesium, and iron. They are also an excellent source of unsaturated fats, which are linked to lower risk of several chronic illnesses. The nutritional profile of cashews is as follows (2):

Calories: 157
Protein: 5 grams
Fat: 12 grams
Carbs: 9 grams
Fiber: 1 gram
Copper: 69% of the Daily Value (DV)
Magnesium: 20% of the DV
Manganese: 20% of the DV
Zinc: 15% of the DV
Phosphorus: 13% of the DV
Iron: 11% of the DV
Selenium: 10% of the DV
Thiamine: 10% of the DV
Vitamin K: 8% of the DV
Vitamin B6: 7% of the DV

2. Rich in Beneficial Plant Compounds

Doctor using virtual touch screen presses text: ANTIOXIDANTS. Natural Antioxidant Nutrition Healthy Eating Diet Medical Concept. Healthy foods rich in antioxidants.
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Cashews are loaded with antioxidants, polyphenols, and carotenoids. Inflammation and oxidative stress are associated with a number of illnesses, including cancer, dementia, and other chronic diseases. The antioxidants and plant compounds in cashews are known to combat inflammation and oxidative stress and support overall health. (3)

3. May Help with Weight Management

Young fitness woman measuring progress with a scale for healthy living.
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In the past, people looking to either manage their weight or lose weight tended to shy away from nuts. This is because they are high in fat and calories, which are seen as problematic when it comes to weight loss. Studies are now showing, however, a positive correlation between nut-rich diets, including cashews, and weight loss due to their fiber and protein content. Some studies have even shown that people who regularly eat nuts have greater weight loss and an easier time managing their weight. These researchers found our bodies only absorb about 84% of the fat found in cashews. The remaining 16% stays trapped in chashew’s fibrous walls rather than being absorbed by the body’s digestive system. (4)

4. May Improve Heart Health

Portrait, heart and senior man in forest hiking, fitness and health support, self care hands and cardiovascular workout. Nature, travel or trekking of happy person in woods with love sign or emoji
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Cashews may contribute to lowering bad cholesterol levels and maintaining good heart health when consumed as part of a balanced diet. There is some conflicting evidence as to whether or not cashews actually improve cholesterol levels. However, there still seems to be strong evidence that diets rich in nuts, including cashews, have a positive effect on heart health. (5)

Read More: Interesting Fact: Peanuts Aren’t Technically Nuts So What Are They?

5. May Benefit Those with Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetic woman using a flash glucose monitor to measure her blood sugar levels with a simple scan, allowing her to adjust her diet and medication as needed for optimal health and wellness.
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With low sugar content and rich fiber, cashews can aid in managing blood sugar levels, making them suitable for diabetics. The fiber content helps to prevent blood sugar spikes, as well as the nuts themselves are quite low in sugar. (6)

6. Healthy Replacement for Less-Healthy Snacks

Young happy woman eating different nuts (cashew, hazelnut, almond) in modern kitchen. Healthy food and Dieting concept. Loosing Weight
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We live in a world with seemingly endless quick snack options. Many of these snacks are high in salt, “empty calories” (aka calories with no nutrient value), and chemical products associated with processed foods. Opting for cashews as a snack can be a nutritious choice over processed and sugary snacks.

7. Easy to Add to Your Diet

flat lay bowl with spinach, orange and cashew salad on light wooden table
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Cashews can be enjoyed in various forms, whether raw, roasted, in butter form, or incorporated into different dishes to elevate their nutrition. They can be eaten as a snack on their own or as an addition to a variety of different meals and dishes.

8. Immune Support

Strong immunity as shield protecting children virus, illustration
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The presence of zinc, copper, and vitamin E in cashews can help strengthen your immunity and protect against illnesses. Each of these vitamins and minerals are essential for the production and/or protection of immune cells. (7)

9. Bone Health

Sporty young women doing yoga in gym. Concept of healthy spine
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The magnesium content in cashews plays a crucial role in maintaining strong and healthy bones. This is because magnesium works with vitamin D and calcium to maintain bone health. Vitamin K, another nutrient found in cashews, is also important for maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis. (8

10. Brain Health

Woman holding human brain model with variety of healthy fresh food on the table. Concept of balanced nutrition for brain health
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An essential source of vitamin E, magnesium, and antioxidants, cashews can support optimal brain function and protect against cognitive decline. Vitamin E is known for improving brain function and protecting against cognitive decline. The same is true for magnesium and both mono- and polyunsaturated fats found in cashews. (9)

Drawbacks of Eating Cashews

Farmers take bunches of cashews from the trees to inspect the quality of the produce. The fruit looks like rose apple or pear. At the end of the fruit there is a seed, shaped like a kidney.
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The phrase too much of a good thing is certainly present when it comes to eating cashews. While they are very good with you in moderation, eating too many can pose certain drawbacks.

  1. High in Fat: Cashews are rich in fats, including saturated fats. While they are healthy fats, moderation is key, especially for those watching their fat intake.
  2. High in Salt: Many pre-roasted cashews you can find at the store are also heavily salted. These typically contain high levels of added salt, which may be a concern for individuals on a low-sodium diet.
  3. High in Calories: Cashews are calorie-dense, so portion control is essential to prevent overconsumption.
  4. Potential Allergen: Cashews are one of the common tree nut allergens, so individuals with nut allergies should be cautious.
  5. Can Be Expensive: Due to their labor-intensive harvesting process and quality, cashews can be pricier compared to other nuts.

The Bottom Line

Engaging in a mindful eating moment, an Asian woman seated on a kitchen counter smiles while holding pistachios, with almonds and cashews nearby
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In conclusion, cashews are not only a tasty snack but also a nutritional powerhouse that offers a range of health benefits. From aiding in weight management to supporting heart and brain health, incorporating cashews into your diet can be a wise choice. However, it is crucial to be mindful of potential drawbacks, such as their fat and calorie content. Overall, when consumed in moderation, cashews can be a valuable addition to a balanced and healthy eating plan.

Read More: Eggplant toast: the low-carb breakfast that will help you burn fat like crazy

Sources

  1. Anacardiaceae – The Mango Family.” Florida Fruit Geek. Craig Hepworth.
  2. Nuts, cashew nuts, raw.” USDA
  3. Tree nut phytochemicals: composition, antioxidant capacity, bioactivity, impact factors. A systematic review of almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.” Pubmed. Bradley W Bolling, C-Y Oliver Chen, Diane L McKay and Jeffrey B Blumberg. December 2011.
  4. Metabolizable Energy from Cashew Nuts is Less than that Predicted by Atwater Factors.” NCBI. David J. Baer and Janet A. Novotny. Janaury 2019.
  5. Nut Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.” NCBI. Marta Guasch-Ferré, PhD., et al. November 2018.
  6. Dietary Fiber Intake and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses.” NCBI.
  7. Marc P. McRae, MSc, DC, FACN, DACBN. March 2018.
  8. Composition of Nuts and Their Potential Health Benefits—An Overview.” NCBI. Berta Gonçalves, et al. February 23, 2023.
  9. Consumption of Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) Nuts Counteracts Oxidative Stress and Tissue Inflammation in Mild Hyperhomocysteinemia in Rats.” NCBI. Ramona D’Amico, et al. April 2022.
  10. Nut Consumption for Cognitive Performance: A Systematic Review.” Pubmed. Lauren E Theodore, et al. June 2021.