An array of cashew nuts.

Health benefits of cashew nuts

Before we discuss the health benefits of cashew nuts, there’s something you must know. Cashew nuts are, in fact, seeds. Cashew nuts are the flowering seed on the cashew plant, which was discovered in Brazil in 15581. Today, cashew nuts grow all over the world. Like many nuts and seeds, cashew nuts are full of nutrients. Vegans love them, as a small portion of cashew nuts provides nearly as much protein2 as an equivalent portion of meat3 4.

In this article, we’ll explain why cashew nuts are so popular. We’ll then discuss the various health benefits of cashews, their nutritional profile, any disadvantages, and who should avoid them.

Why are cashews so popular?

Cashew nuts are America and Europe’s favourite nut5. Nuts are a popular snack, and cashew nuts are often sold salted, in a portion-sized bag; perfect for snacking on the go. Cashew nuts are an essential feature of many world cuisines, including Thai food6, and that has likely increased their overall popularity.

Health benefits of cashews

Cashews are linked to a wide variety of health benefits, including:

  • Better heart health. People who eat diets high in nuts, including cashews, are less at risk of heart disease than those who don’t7.

  • Lower cholesterol. Cashew nuts seem to lower the amount of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body and increase the amount of ‘good’ cholesterol8.

  • Lower blood sugar. People with diabetes who ate cashew nuts every day had lower blood sugar than their counterparts who didn’t9.

Nutritional values of cashews

Cashew nuts may be small, but their nutritional value is mighty.

An average, 40g portion of cashews contains10:
  • 98% of your daily copper, which can help blood cells form, improve growth, help the brain to develop, and protect the immune system.
  • 34% of your daily phosphorus, which helps maintain bone and teeth health.
  • 29% of your daily manganese, which helps the body perform chemical reactions, like converting food into energy.
  • 28% of your daily magnesium, which helps thyroid glands release the right hormones11.

Disadvantages of cashews

With all of cashew nuts’ promising health benefits, it’s difficult to believe there are any downsides to this delicious seed. However, there are some aspects to cashews that frequent eaters should be aware of.

Cashew nuts contain phytates, an antinutrient which can negatively impact how your body absorbs the nutritional content of cashews. Likely, soaking your cashews before eating or preparing food with them reduces the efficacy of the antinutrient12.

Who should avoid cashew nuts

Dieters may want to avoid cashew nuts, as an average 40g portion of cashew nuts, a small handful, contains 221 calories13. People who are allergic to tree nuts should avoid cashew nuts in case of anaphylactic shock14. Tree nuts include walnuts, macadamia, brazil, and cashew nuts.

Last Updated: 12th October 2020

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