Cashew nuts are kidney shaped seeds that stick on to the bottom of the cashew fruit. They are native to Brazil and are considered as delicacies in Brazil as well as the Caribbean.
Cashew nuts have firm but slightly spongy texture and have delicate flavor. They are packed with phytonutrients and are loaded with good fats. These nutrients protect us from heart disease and cancer. Some important health benefits of cashew nuts are discussed below.
Cashew nuts are heart healthy food because they contain relatively high amount of heart healthy monounsaturated fats. These monounsaturated fats lower the bad cholesterol i.e. LDL and triglyceride levels and help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Cashews are excellent source of oleic acid, a fatty acid that is heart healthy. They contain lowest amount of fats as compared to other nuts. All these factors make cashews excellent food for heart health.
Cashews are loaded with magnesium which fulfills about 25% of our daily magnesium requirement. Magnesium reduces insulin resistance; hence is an important mineral for diabetics.
It also plays a crucial part in maintaining a healthy blood pressure and maintaining and building our bone health.
Studies have revealed that people with low levels of magnesium have a higher risk of heart disease. Thus magnesium contained in cashews play an important role in lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease. In menopausal women, magnesium also helps in promoting normal sleep patterns.
Cashews contain abundant antioxidants. Free radicals present in our body cause damage to body cells and organs and increase the risk of cancers. Antioxidants present in cashews help in elimination of these free radicals and thus protect our body cells from damage.
According to studies, people who consume cashew nuts regularly, have a tendency to be thinner and are less likely to gain weight, than people who do not consume cashews.
This may be due to the fact that cashews have high protein content, fiber, and monounsaturated fats; hence are more fulfilling and satisfying to eat. This way they can help people with weight loss motive. Since cashews are energy dense and very high in calories, they should be eaten in moderation.
Cashew nuts are a rich source of copper which is needed to keep the collagens healthy. Copper is also essential for the body for producing melanin, a pigment that is responsible for the hair color.