Brought by the Portuguese from Brazil as early as the 16th century, cashew nuts grew strong and sturdy roots in our country. Eaten on their own raw, roasted, fried or added in dishes, these nuts always conjure up the promise of a delicious treat.
When I see cashew nuts, I always think of summer vacations and how my grandma would smack my hand when I would try to sneak out a cashew or two from the bowl that was ready to go into a dessert. The reason, those days, for this ‘deprivation’ was the high cost of these yummy nuts. Today, it is the fear of adding on fat and calories.
However, cashew nuts are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. The good news is you can guiltlessly pop these buttery nuts into your mouth as they are high on antioxidants. Research shows that cashew nuts pack some vital minerals like copper, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium and iron, which are all essential for maintaining body functions.
Some key answers to the question of why eating cashew nuts is good for you are:
Keeps the heart healthy: Contrary to the belief that cashew nuts make you gain fat, the fat content in these nuts is lower than others. It is also in the oleic acid form, which is very vital in keeping the heart healthy. The cholesterol-free fats and antioxidants in cashew nuts keeps you free from heart diseases.
Keeps blood pressure low and prevents blood disease: Owing to the magnesium present in cashew nuts, the nuts help to keep blood pressure low. Regular cashew consumption is helpful in keeping blood diseases away. Since cashew is rich in copper, free radicals are eliminated from the body. Deficiencies like iron deficiency, which consequently leads to anemia, are prevented by the copper from cashew nuts.
Keeps weight in check: Consumption of nuts on a regular basis leads to a lower BMI. Snacking on nuts is a great way to lose weight as they make you stay full longer and are nutritious too. According to Delhi-based nutritionist, Shilpa Arora, cashews contain omega 3 fatty acids which are responsible for speeding up the metabolic process to get rid of excess fat. She further adds that the nuts, when eaten raw and unsalted, assist in weight loss.
Keeps eyes healthy: A powerful antioxidant pigment called Zea Xanthin, contained in cashews, aids in keeping the eyes healthy. The pigment is easily absorbed by the retina, forming a protective layer which screens UV rays. Age-related macular degeneration is also delayed.
Keeps hair glossy and strong: Eating cashew nuts and applying cashew oil to the scalp is a good way to maintain healthy hair. The copper in cashew promotes the production of melanin pigment which is responsible for giving hair its smooth and silky texture. The oleic and linoleic acids in cashews also help in safeguarding hair color and strength.
Keeps skin glowing: Cashew oil is wonderful for the skin as it is rich in minerals and antioxidants besides being a great source of protein and phytochemicals.
Helps to prevent cancer: Cashew nuts have a high percentage of copper, selenium and flavanols called proanthocyanins which fight against cancerous cells.
A good source of dietary fibers: Cashew nuts are a rich source of two dietary fibers called oleic and palmitic acids. These fibers are not produced by our body but are very essential in digestion. They prevent digestive diseases, bloating and intestinal gas production. Consumption of cashew nuts provides these two vital dietary fibers to our body.
Keeps bones healthy: The mineral, magnesium, helps in keeping our bones healthy. It is good for the teeth and gums as well. Since cashew nuts are rich in magnesium, you can be assured of strong bones, teeth and gums if you munch on them regularly.
Now that you know why and how cashews are good for you, give in to the temptation of indulging in these delicious nuts without any feelings of guilt.