The cashew nuts belong to the same family that includes mangos and pistachios, and are originally native to the coastal areas of northeastern Brazil. Cashew nuts are kidney shaped seeds that are widely cultivated in places that have a tropical climate. The major cashew producing countries are India, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Tanzania. They stick to the bottom of its fruit, known as cashew apple, and have various applications, particularly in Brazil and some parts of Asia and Africa.
Cashews are highly nutritious nuts and contain a great amount of proteins and essential minerals, such as copper, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Sodium is also present in very small quantities. They also contain vitamins such as vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin E and vitamin K. Rich in monounsatured and low in polyunsaturated fats, they can only be beneficial, when consumed appropriately.
The health benefits one gets when consuming cashew nuts include a healthy heart, strong nerve and muscle function, improved bone and oral health, relief from diabetes, anemia and gallstones. By offering antioxidant defenses, they also aid in the formation of red blood cells and aid for a better immune system.
• Cashews are very rich in dietary fats, essential for the body to absorb vitamin A, D, E and K and to produce fatty acids for the correct development of the brain and blood clotting. The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats contained in the nut are especially good for balancing cholesterol levels, also protecting the heart and arteries.
• Cashews are rich in magnesium, which is vital for the healthy development of bones, muscles, tissues and organs. Magnesium also helps maintain healthy bone pressure, sustain the immune system, maintain nerve function and keep the bones strong.
• The low amount of sugar and no cholesterol in cashews makes them a safe snack for diabetic people. Additionally, consuming cashews can help lowering the risk of type II diabetes.
• Cashews contain some vital antioxidants that can protect people that suffer from cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy. Namely, these antioxidants are anacardic acids, cardanols and cardols.
• The copper found in cashew nuts can help metabolize iron, thus aiding in the formation of red blood cells and keeping the bones and immune system healthy. Copper is also vital for the nervous and skeletal systems and copper deficiency can ultimately lead to osteoporosis, irregular heartbeats and anemia.
• Phosphorus can also be found in these nuts, a nutrient important for healthy development of teeth and bones, as well as aiding in protein synthesis, absorption of carbonhydrates and fats.
• The combination of iron and copper that cashews contain can be used to deal with issues such as anemia.
• Consuming cashews can lower the risk of formation of gallstones in the gall bladder.
• Cashews contain zinc, which is important for srengthening the immune system against microbial infections, protein synthesis and wound healing.