7 Nutritional Benefits of Cashews

By: Julie Hand
March 5, 2018

Cashews make for an amazing keto-friendly snack that could help reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Research also points to the benefits of cashews on your skin and hair, and even your nerves, due to their powerful micronutrient content. Learn about cashews’ nutritional benefits, and how to select the most healthful nuts.

Cashews are actually seeds originally used in traditional medicine to heal ailments

Cashews, kidney-shaped seeds originating from a tropical tree called Anacardium occidentale native to Brazil, also grow across many parts of Asia. Utilized in traditional medicine to heal diverse illnesses throughout time, cashews are now considered exceptionally nutritious by modern society too.

Are cashews healthy?

A single cashew contains about 21 percent protein, 46 percent fat, and 25 percent carbohydrates. A one-quarter cup serving contains about 200 calories, 5 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbs, and 16 grams of fat. Cashews possess a healthy balance of fat types — 62 percent of the cashew’s fats are monounsaturated fat (MUFAs),  while 18 percent are polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). While many nuts possess high levels of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), which promote inflammation, cashews have relatively low amounts of PUFAs, which limits the imbalance of omega-6’s to omega-3’s you’re exposed to. Due to these MUFAs and PUFAs, cashew consumption leads to lower risk for a variety of diseases – including cancer, obesity, and heart disease.

What are cashews’ nutritional benefits?

  1.     Protects against cancer: Cashews are brimming with proanthocyanidins, a type of flavanol that starves tumors and prevents cancer cells from dividing.[1]
  2.    Cuts heart disease risk: The oleic acid found in cashews promotes sound cardiovascular health by reducing triglyceride levels, which is associated with heart disease risk.[2][3]
  3.     Improves bone and joint health: Cashews’ magnesium[4] and copper[5] content work in concert to strengthen bone mass. Most of the magnesium in your body is stored in the bones, so if you’re deficient, your bones will suffer. Copper helps keep bones and joints flexible by synthesizing collagen and elastin.
  4.     Relaxes nerves: Magnesium in cashews prevents calcium from over-activating nerve cells, therefore relaxing them.[6] This action keeps your blood vessels and muscles relaxed as well. (You may notice that if your magnesium levels are low, you often get muscle cramps.)
  5.     Keeps skin and hair healthy: The copper in cashews helps to manufacture various enzymes involved in hemoglobin and collagen formation.[7] Collagen is the main structural protein found in hair and skin that gives it elasticity – so you can think of copper as one of the precursors to your luscious locks.
  6.     Aids in weight loss and maintenance: Cashews contain less fat than other popular nuts including peanuts, pecans, almonds, and walnuts. Yet what makes them a winning “weight loss nut” is that they are nutrient- and energy-dense, and high in fiber, which makes them more filling — a boon for managing weight.[8][9]
  7.   Prevents diabetes: Most recently, a study[10] found that cashews reduced systolic blood pressure and increased HDL cholesterol concentrations in people with diabetes.

How do you reap the nutritional benefits of cashews and bypass the harm?

Except for coconut, all nuts are considered “suspect” on the Bulletproof Diet to some extent. Nuts contain a high risk of mold contamination and have high levels of omega-6 fats that oxidize easily and can contribute to inflammation. Mold is a real issue with cashews because they’re always boiled to remove the tough outer layer of the actual seed. To ensure you’re getting mold-free cashews, buy only those that come in a sealed package (not out of a bin). If you do get headaches, brain fog, food cravings, or joint pain after eating them – toss them out. You may have happened upon a bad batch.

Nuts also contain varying levels of lectins, nutrient-sapping compounds that can also be tough on your gut. If you’re having trouble losing weight or suffer from headaches, joint pain, or other autoimmune symptoms, try removing nuts from your diet completely. You can try reintroducing them once symptoms subside.

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