Health Benefits of Cashew Nuts:
How To Incorporate Them Into Your Diet
What Are Cashew Nuts?
Despite their name, cashew “nuts” are actually seeds; larger and softer than the usual seeds we are familiar with, cashews come from the cashew apple – a sweet, soft, and edible fruit – and have their own set of nutritional benefits, which are listed below. The cashew fruit grows on cashew trees, native to Brazil. “Raw” cashews we find in supermarkets are not truly raw: the seeds must be picked, peeled, and cooked thoroughly during processing to remove the toxic shell and the toxic oil, urushiol, to become safe to eat.
From “raw” to sprouted, whole or in nut butter, there are many ways to eat cashews. Read on to learn more about why you should add cashews to your diet!
Nutritional Benefits of Cashew Nuts in Your Diet
Cashews, just like many nuts and seeds, are a wonderful source of unsaturated fats and can improve blood cholesterol, regulate heart rate, help to reduce inflammation, as well as provide additional fibre and healthy sugars to our diet!
Cashews are high in vitamins and minerals, particularly in copper: 28 grams of raw cashews cover 67% of the average adult’s daily value. Cashews are also a good source of magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus, iron, selenium, thiamine, vitamin K and vitamin B6.
Cashews: Raw, Roasted or Sprouted?
Since they are mild, slightly sweet and creamy in flavour, cashews make a great addition to many dishes, and they can be prepared in different ways: they can be eaten “raw”, toasted/roasted, or even sprouted – no matter what preparation they go through, cashews keep their nutritional content (except for salted cashews – read on for more information).
Sprouted cashews are cashews that have been soaked until they are much softer in texture. The benefits of soaking or sprouting cashews (or other nuts) is to enhance their nutritional contents: sprouting nuts make them more bioavailable and easier to digest by our stomachs since it increases the seeds’ protein and amino acid rates, meaning we absorb a lot more of those nutrients this way than we would otherwise by consuming “raw” or roasted cashews.
Healthiest Ways To Eat Cashews
It can be tempting to snack on these deliciously creamy seeds all day, but it is important to be careful with how much is consumed to maintain a healthy diet. The daily recommendation is 28 grams of cashews per day, which yields to about 18 cashews. Eating too many cashews can increase your daily calorie intake and may result in unwanted weight gain because of their high caloric value per gram.
The easiest ways to add cashews to your diet are to:
- eating them whole: either raw, roasted or sprouted;
- blended into a nut butter: substitute the peanut butter in your PB&J with 1 tbsp of natural cashew butter;
- chopped into a salad;
- blended in smoothies.
Be wary of salted cashews – these cashews are fried in vegetable oil and absorb a lot of that unhealthy fat, which increases their caloric value and your sodium intake. Salted cashews are not recommended if you are struggling with high blood cholesterol or need to be careful about how much salt you are consuming.