On the outside, a cashew might seem like just another nut – a little crunch in your granola bar, trail mix or morning oatmeal. But on the inside, it’s actually a powerhouse food that can improve your wellness, stave off disease and illness, and make your stronger, healthier person on the whole.
In fact, these little nuts have even been proven to prevent tooth decay, acne, tuberculosis and pneumonia!
Who knew something so small could do so much?
All About Cashews
Cashews are native to northeastern Brazil, and they’re technically seeds – not nuts. They actually grow on the bottom of the cashew apple, a fruit from the cashew tree.
You won’t find cashews in shells, as the interior of their shell actually contains a poisonous resin – one that is not safe for human consumption. This resin is actually used to make things like varnishes and insecticides – things you definitely don’t want to be putting in your body.
The Benefits of Cashews
Native to North Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela, cashews are some of the healthiest nuts (technically seeds) on the planet. They’ve actually been scientifically proven to kill gram positive bacteria – a bacteria linked to severe tooth decay, tuberculosis, acne, strep throat, pneumonia and even leprosy. The anacardic chemicals in the nut attack these bacteria, and when eaten enough, they can prevent these unwanted diseases and health conditions.
On top of this amazing benefit, cashews are also very high in nutrients. That have lots of copper, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, calcium, sodium, iron, potassium and zinc, and they actually have a lower fat content than the majority of other nuts on the market. About 82 percent of their fat is the unsaturated kind – the stuff that won’t clog your arteries or hurt your heart. They’ve even been shown to help reduce triglyceride levels and lower rates of heart disease.
Thanks to their high magnesium content, cashews can even help your relax, and they can reduce overall stress and anxiety. Their high levels of calcium and magnesium also ensure strong teeth and bones, and they can even reduce chances of osteoporosis later on down the line.
Cashews may even help you lose weight. They’re extremely high in fiber (which helps you stay full and stave off cravings, and according to a recent study, people who eat nuts (like cashews) at least twice a week are significantly less likely to gain weight than those who do not. So if you’ve been avoiding nuts because you think they’re too fatty or caloric, think again. They could actually lead to a slimmer waistline in the long run!
To top it off, there’s research that shows cashews can slow signs of aging, too. They contain powerful antioxidants that can fight off free radicals, which often lead to fine lines, wrinkles and crow’s feet. These antioxidants can also protect against UV damage and prevent macular degeneration.
Finally, as if all this weren’t enough, some studies have even shown cashews can help fight off cancer. Thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties and high levels of proanthocyanidins, research shows they actually stop the growth and multiplication of cancer cells, and their high copper content makes them the perfect enemy to colon cancer cells.
Getting More Cashews in Your Diet
As someone who’s dairy free, I use cashews a lot in my diet. If you soak them long enough, they can actually blend up into a yogurt-like substance that can be used in sauces, soups and even baking. I especially like to turn it into a faux-tzatziki sauce, and create homemade Greek-inspired meals like chicken schwarma, satay and gyros.
You can even make it into an Alfredo-like sauce and serve it over rice noodles, or you can blend it up with some lemon and thyme and use it as a dipping sauce for fresh veggie or even proteins likes chicken breast and turkey.
Cashews are also good mixed up in Asian dishes like lettuce wraps, pad thai or even fried rice. They even go well with peanut-based dishes, as they add a little extra crunch and boost of flavor.
Of course there are always the classic ways of eating cashews, too. You can mix them up in a trail mix with other nuts, seeds and dried fruit and snack throughout the day, or you can create your own granola bars with honey, oats and raisins. You can even sprinkle cashews over your salads for an extra crunch. Just make sure not to add too many. Remember, a serving size is about 17 nuts. Go over that, and you could be consuming many more calories than you intended – a big no-no if you want to slim down and stay healthy!
Do you eat cashews a lot in your diet? If not, you might want to consider making some changes. These little babies can do wonders for your health.