We have always seemed to take a liking to cashew nuts for their outstanding taste without actually ever knowing all the health benefits they offer. This yummy treat is the source for a considerable amount of proteins, vitamins, minerals, promoting a healthy lifestyle and state of mind. Originally discovered in the north-west region of Brazil, the cashew tree is now grown in many tropical areas and is produced by India, Indonesia, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Vietnam. No need to worry, this life-changing nut can be purchased from many of your local stores at decent prices.
But what exactly are the best health benefits of cashew nuts and how can they have an impact on our day-to-day lives? The scientific results are genuinely stunning and may help you make some nutritional adjustments for the best. Check out our pick of 12 reasons why you should incorporate cashew nuts into your diet and test out the magic for yourself.
1. Antioxidants – take care of your heart
What better way to give back love to your ticker than by enjoying a nutritional snack? Few people know that these delicious nuts are rich in antioxidants and have proved to bear significant cardio-protective qualities. Like multiple other tree nuts, cashews contain quite a high amount of alkyl phenols in their composition, but also co-factors for a wide variety of enzymes, such as copper, magnesium or selenium. Studies have demonstrated that cashew nuts have lowered the risk of coronary heart disease and have decreased death rates from cardiovascular causes by 11% thanks to consumption increase. By consuming cashews you can slowly but surely say goodbye to heart conditions!
2. Magnesium – strong bones, gums and teeth
Even though calcium is considered to be one of the most important factors for determining a healthy bone structure, few are those who know the true value of magnesium from this viewpoint. It is appreciated that around 2/3 of the amount of magnesium found in the human body resides in our bones, so we should truly reconsider the importance of this vitamin if we want to maintain superhero bones. The high amount of magnesium is yet another health benefit of cashews that we should keep in mind when searching for natural remedies. This great antioxidant found in cashew also does wonders for the oral cavity: it strengthens gums and helps you preserve your teeth in the long run.
3. High blood pressure, be gone!
Another reason why the high intake of magnesium from cashew nuts can visibly change your life is the impact it has on blood pressure. A lack of magnesium can lead to alarmingly high blood pressure and even to various muscle cramps, spasms and tensions. Cashew nuts are known to lower blood pressure and have a wonderful impact on patients who suffer from this condition. Even if you don’t have these kinds of problems, you should know that they also help fight migraine headaches and continue your day without pain and with a clear mind.
4. Cashew Butter – creamy, delicious & nutritious
Love PB&J sandwiches? You now have a healthy alternative for your favorite lunch. If you take your average peanut butter and switch it with cashew butter, you’ll find a wonderful replacement that contains a great amount of protein and unsaturated fats. It contains way less fat than other kinds of nuts, one tablespoon of salt-free cashew butter containing just 94 calories. The best way to consume cashew butter is in its raw form. The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service states that raw cashew butter has proved higher nutrient levels and thus is more all-around healthy.
5. Dietary Trace Minerals – keep fit & enjoy a healthy snack
Whoever thought eating could help you lose weight? Another health benefit of cashew nuts is their great cholesterol that has aided in weight loss countless times. Research shows that people who eat cashews at least two times per week actually gain less weight than those who don’t! Although most people are hesitant when they hear that these nuts are acknowledged as fats, studies have proven the existence of dietary trace minerals like manganese, copper, phosphorus and magnesium in these appetizing nuts. The authors of one study conducted in Spain concluded that “Frequent nut consumption was associated with a reduced risk of weight gain (5 kg or more).”
6. Cashew Oil – for your hair, skin & health
Cashew oil is world-famous as being a miracle worker when coming to hair and skincare. Aside from the fact that this oil increases skin and muscle tone, it also provides a healthy dose of melanin, which is a significant pigment that aids in premature aging. Cashew nuts are also rich in copper, which enhances hair color and can lead you to the perfect jet black shade you’ve been dreaming of. This fragranced oil also contains linoleic and oleic acid, which give your hair a silky-smooth appearance and makes it shine beautifully. Having problems with hair loss or balding? Believe it or not, cashew oil can be your life saver.
7. Vitamin Rush – protect your body, nourish your soul
Cashews are also noted for their abundance of vitamins. You can get your dose of vitamins such as B, C or E from these nuts, as well as a large range of other essential vitamins and minerals like niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin or thiamin. These have all proven to strengthen your all-around immune system and even prevent fatal illnesses. With the help of these nuts, you can prevent gallstones, pellagra and even sideroblastic anemia.
8. Cashew Apple – rich taste & rich nutrients
Widely regarded as a delicacy in countries such as Brazil, the cashew fruit or apple is said to contain 5 times more Vitamin C than oranges! It has a various range of uses in dishes and refreshments, such as in curry or alcoholic beverages. It’s so delicious that you can eat it freshly picked from the tree, as well. Ever enjoyed a caipirinha cocktail at the bar? You probably didn’t know that the cashew apple is the reason for its amazing flavor.
9. Medicine – heal your injuries
Numerous parts of the cashew plant have proved to be successful in medicinal uses. In Guyana, the Amerindian tribe Patamuna has incorporated cashew in their list of ingredients for traditional medicine with various health benefits. By grinding cashew seeds, they obtain a remedy for snakebites that could otherwise become fatal. Moreover, they use cashew nut oil for cracked heels or many times of anti-fungal activity. The leaves and shell can protect your body from bacteria and fungi, if prepared properly. Stomach aches? You should know that cashews have high antidiarrheal properties that could save you quite a few trips to the bathroom.
10. Cancer prevention – battle cancerous cells
Whoever thought that some nuts could literally help you prevent one of the world’s scariest diseases ever discovered? Science has proved that cashew nuts contain large amounts of proanthocyanidins, a class of flavonols that prevent tumor cells from further dividing and spreading throughout your body. One of the main forms of cancer that cashews can help you avoid is colon cancer, by fighting the cancerous cells that can lead to its development. This is definitely one of the best health benefits of cashew nuts that can subsequently save your life.
11. Cashew Milk – vegan & vegetarian delicacy
For all the vegans, vegetarians and people searching for an alternative to classic cow’s milk out there – we have the perfect nutritional solution for you. By adding cashew butter to milk shakes you can benefit from the properties of cashews in liquid form and also enjoy a delicious beverage. Even more so, if you’re looking for a replacement for creamer, you can add cashew milk to your coffee, tea and even hot chocolate. It’s truly yummy and also very easy to make: just pop the nuts in your blender and they will turn into a smooth and creamy delicacy in no time.
12. Sleep tight!
Are you going through a hard time with menopause and just can’t seem to get a good night’s rest? Cashews can be the source of a well-deserved night of sleep by promoting a normal pattern and helping you ease the strains of menopause. Even if you’re not a woman or going through such a stage in your life, we assure you that the increase of cashew consumption will offer positive results for countless health problems you may be experiencing.
How can you enjoy a healthy amount of cashew nuts? Here are a few ways you can serve them and even use them as a key ingredient in recipes:
- Go Thai – want to spice up your selection of cuisine for dinner? If you sauté cashews and add them to a dish with basil, shrimp and green beans, you have a great and simple recipe for a memorable family dinner.
- Trail mix – a mix of dried fruits and nuts with cashews make a delicious treat for when you’re tempted with steering astray from your diet.
- Sauce – combine cayenne pepper, garlic, soy sauce, ginger and water with cashew butter and mix them all in a saucepan for a mouth-watering sauce to pour over a large range of dishes.