Cashew or Cashew nut grows on cashew tree and is widely consumed nut all over the world. It originated in Brazil but is now cultivated in many tropical areas, notably in India and East Africa. Cashews provide many health and beauty benefits as they are loaded with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, flavonoids, essential fatty acids, and dietary fibers, etc.
Health Benefits Of Cashew Nuts
Some major health benefits of cashew nuts are as follows.
(1) Reduces High Blood Pressure
Hypertension is a silent killer that affects millions around the world and is a leading cause of several cardiovascular and other health problems.
Moderate intake of unsalted cashews regulates high blood pressure as the magnesium in them enhances the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes our blood vessels and improves blood circulation.
They are also a rich source of potassium.
Potassium is a natural vasodilator that relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and provides relief from hypertension or high blood pressure.
Eat cashews in moderation as otherwise high potassium levels may drop the blood pressure below the normal level, and may increase the risk of dizziness, fainting, nausea, dehydration, lack of concentration, blurred vision, and pale skin, etc.
If you are on blood pressure medication, eat cashews after consulting with your doctor to avoid the risk of food-drug intolerance risk.
Avoid salted cashews as the sodium in them may elevate blood pressure levels.
(2) Promotes Cardiovascualar Health
Moderate intake of cashew nuts improves our cardiovascular health as the essential dietary fats in them help with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K in our body.
Monounsaturated fats ( MUFA) and Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) in cashew nuts improves cardiovascular health by reducing the level of bad LDL cholesterol, and increase the level of good HDL cholesterol.
By reducing LDL cholesterol, cashews reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, a leading cause of several cardiovascular problems.
Atherscerlsosis is a condition that leads to hardening and narrowing of arteries due to the accumulation of plaque and fat deposits in the arterial walls. It is a leading cause of several cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, and coronary artery diseases, etc.
Vitamin C and other antioxidant compounds like phytonutrients, and flavonoids, etc in cashews protect our cardiovascular system from free radical damage.
Magnesium in cashews regulates high blood pressure, a leading cause of cardiovascular and other health problems.Source-Pixabay.com
(3) Keep Muscles And Nervous System Healthy
Magnesium in cashews keeps our muscles and nervous system healthy.
It is an essential mineral for the healthy development of bones, muscles, tissues, and organs of the body.
It relaxes our muscles and nerves and keeps them healthy.
Magnesium is also needed for calcium metabolism and hormone regulation.
(4) Regulates Blood Sugar
With a low glycemic index of 25, cashews reduce the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream.
This prevents a sudden spike in blood sugar levels and helps in managing diabetes.
Magnesium in cashews also helps in regulating blood sugar levels as it helps with insulin and carbohydrates metabolism.
Cashews are also beneficial against diabetic dyslipidemia.
Dietary fibers in cashews slow down the rate at which sugar is absorbed by the bloodstream, and helps in managing blood sugar levels.
(5) Reduces The Risk of Cancer(s)
Vitamin C, vitamin A, and other antioxidant compounds like anacardic acids, cardanol, and cardols in cashews protects our cells and tissues from free radical damage and reduces the risk of various cancers like colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, and intestinal cancer.
Free radicals are unstabilized ions that stabilize by stealing electrons from neighboring molecules, and doing so causes oxidative damage to them.
Antioxidants in cashews fight against the cancer cells and prevent them from dividing further.
Copper in cashews also helps in keeping cancer at bay.
Because of their anti-carcinogenic properties, cashews are beneficial during chemotherapy.
However, some experts advise against the use of cashews during chemotherapy as cashew is prone to fungus.
If you are undergoing chemotherapy treatment, eat cashews only after consulting with your doctor and ensure that cashews you eat are from trusted sources, and have not gone rancid.
(6) Maintains Cellular Health
Copper present in the cashews maintains cellular health and is an essential mineral for our health.
Our body needs copper for various functions such as iron metabolism, formation of red blood cells, strengthening bones, strengthening the immune system, and the proper functioning of nervous and cellular functions.
(7) Strengthen Bones
Cashews strengthen our bones and teeth as the phosphorus present in the work with calcium for the growth and development of bones.
For our bone health, phosphorus is as important as calcium.
Phosphorus deficiency may increase the risk of rickets in children, and osteomalacia in adults.
An imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in our bodies may increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Cashews also contain calcium, an essential mineral for the growth and development of bones, and lack of it may increase the risk of bone disorders like osteoporosis.
Other bone-strengthening minerals like potassium, magnesium, and manganese also help in keeping our bones healthy.
Potassium neutralizes acid loss, reduces calcium loss from the bones, and improves bone density.
Magnesium also improves bone density.
Manganese in cashews increases calcium absorption and improves the bone mineral density of the spinal column.
(8) Reduces Anemia Risk
Cashews help in reducing the risk of iron-induced anemia as the iron present in them increases the production of red blood cells for carrying oxygenated blood to cells and tissues of the body.
This provides nourishment to the body and reduces the risk of iron-induced anemia.
Iron-induced anemia is a blood disorder primarily caused by iron deficiency in our bodies. It gives rise to symptoms like fatigue, weakness, pale skin, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, cold hands or feet, and dizziness, etc.
Cashews also contain a little amount of vitamin C which is known for increasing iron absorption in our body.
(9) Reduces The Risk Of Gallstones Formation
The build-up of plaque and fat deposits in our body is a leading cause of gallstone formation as more than 80 percent of gallstones contain cholesterol as their primary component.
Cashews help in reducing the risk of gallstone formation as they reduce bad LDL cholesterol and increases good HDL cholesterol in our body.
Cashews prevent the accumulation of cholesterol in the gall bladder and reduce the risk of gallstone formation.
(10) Strengthen Immune System
Cashews strengthen our immune system, the defense mechanism of our body that helps in the prevention and treatment of various microbial infections, diseases, injuries, and wounds,
Vitamin C, vitamin A, and other antioxidant compounds like anacardic acids, cardanol, and cardols, etc in cashews protects our immune cells or the white blood cells from free radical damage and strengthens our immunity.
Vitamin C enhances white blood cells production in our body, and further strengthens immunity.
With stronger immunity, our risk of getting a cough, cold, fever, and flu, etc, diminishes significantly.
Other nutrients like zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron, and, folate, etc in cashews also contribute to better immune health.
Because of their antimicrobial properties, cashews also reduces the risk of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
However, they are also prone to mold infections.
So, make sure you eat cashews from a trusted source.
(11) Promotes Weight Loss
Eating 100 grams of cashews provides 553 calories of energy, 44 grams of fat, and 30 grams of carbohydrates.
From the above data, cashews look more suitable for weight gain.
However, when consumed in moderation, they are equally beneficial for weight loss as they improve the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates, and increases the rate at which our body burns calories.
As per research by Harvard University, eating two servings of nuts a day reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. The study suggests that replacing animal fats and proteins with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (cashews are rich in MUFA and PUFA ) for efficient weight management.
Eat cashews in moderation as otherwise high calories may lead to weight gain.
Avoid salted cashews as the sodium in them causes water retention, and promotes weight gain.
(12) Keep Our Eyes Healthy
Cashews are good for our eyes as they contain vitamin C, and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, and polyphenols, etc.
These compounds protect our eyes from free radical damage and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and glaucoma, etc.
(14) Reduces Stress And Depression
Cashews provide relief from stress and depression as the L-tryptophan amino acid in cashews breaks down into niacin and serotonin.
Both niacin and serotonin provide relaxation to our nerves and provide relief from stress and depression.
(15) Good Source of Vitamin K
Cashews are a good source of vitamin K, an essential nutrient that provides many benefits such as the formation of blood clots, strengthening bones, reduced risk of bone fractures, reduced risk of cancer, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and other cognitive benefits.
(16) Powerhouse of Energy
Cashews are an abundant source of energy as eating 100 grams of cashews provides 553 calories of energy.
They also contain thiamine (Vitamin B1), an essential nutrient that converts sugar into energy.
Lack of thiamine may cause health problems like muscle pain, loss of appetite, irritability, reduced reflexes, blurry vision, nausea, and vomiting, etc.
This article provides general information about the topic and is not be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.