Health benefits of Cashew nuts

Cashews are packed with soluble dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals and packed with numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals; that help to protect against diseases and cancers.

Cashews are rich in energy and nutrients. They are rich in “heart friendly” monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic and palmitoleic acids that help to lower LDL or bad cholesterol and increase HDL or good cholesterol. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet that is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids helps to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.

Cashew nuts are very rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Eat just a handful of cashew nuts every day to avoid minerals deficiencies. Selenium is an important micro-nutrient which functions as co-factor for antioxidant enzymes such as Glutathione peroxidases, one of the most powerful antioxidant in the body. Copper is a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as co-factors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulategrowth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis.

Cashews are also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that our body requires them from external sources to replenish and essential for metabolism of protein, fat and carbohydrates in the body.

The nuts are also containing good amount of Zea-xanthin, an important flavonoid antioxidant, which selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes. It is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions, help prevent age related macular degeneration.

Cashew nut (Anacardium occidentale),
Nutrition value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Principle

Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA

Energy

553 Kcal

28%

Carbohydrates

30.19 g

23%

Protein

18.22 g

32.5%

Total Fat

43.85 g

146%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Dietary Fiber

3.3 g

8.5%

Vitamins

 

 

Folates

25 mcg

6%

Niacin

1.062 mg

6.5%

PantothenicAcid

0.864 mg

17%

Pyridoxine

0.417 mg

32%

Riboflavin

0.058 mg

4.5%

Thiamin

0.423 mg

35%

Vitamin A

0 IU

0%

Vitamin C

0.5

1%

Vitamin E

5.31 mg

35%

Vitamin K

4.1

28%

Electrolytes

 

 

Sodium

12 mg

1%

Potassium

660 mg

14%

Minerals

 

 

Calcium

37 mg

4%

Copper

2.195 mg

244%

Iron

6.68 mg

83.5%

Magnesium

292 mg

73%

Manganese

1.655 mg

72%

Phosphorus

593 mg

85%

Selenium

19.9 mg

36%

Zinc

5.78 mg

52.5%

Phyto-Nutrients

 

 

Carotene-β

0 mcg

--

Crypto-xanthin-β

0 mcg

--

Lutein-zeaxanthin

22 mcg

--

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety profile

Cashew nut allergy is common in some individuals, especially in children. The reaction symptoms may range from simple skin itching (hives) to severe form anaphylactic manifestations including breathing difficulty, pain abdomen, vomiting and diarrhea.

The allergic manifestations are due to chemical compound anacardic acid (urushiol) that is present in cashew apples, shells and nuts. Cross reactions also occurs with some other nuts and fruits of anacardiaceae family such as mango, pistachio etc.

Individuals with known allergic reactions to nuts and fruits may observe caution while eating cashews.

 

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