Cashews are a well-known delicacy in India, used abundantly in sweets and as snack with a lot of different flavouring. But in this day of highly processed foods, maybe we need to revisit the good old cashew and encourage our children to choose it as a snack over the junk food that they seem to prefer all the time.
Cashews, or caju as they are known in India, are actually the seed of the cashew apple. The cashew tree itself is native to Brazil. It was brought over from there to India by the Portuguese in the 16th century and since then, we have known it as caju.
Cashew Nuts can be considered an extremely healthy snack due to their amazing nutritional content. They contain a good dose of essential minerals, useful vitamins and healthy unsaturated fats. All of these together provide a whole host of health benefits for the body, some of which are listed below:-
- Healthy fats protect the heart
Junk food snacks are riddled with unhealthy saturated fats which wreak havoc on your body – and especially on your heart – cashew provides you with a decent dose of healthy fats. The fat content of cashew is low relative to other nuts, which is a good thing in itself, but even this low fat content is made up of 66% monounsaturated fats. These fats are essential in keeping the triglyceride level in the blood to a bare minimum. When triglycerides increase, the risk of heart related diseases also goes up. Therefore, the fat content in cashews is ideal for protecting your heart from a variety of cardiovascular problems.
- They greatly improve the quality of blood
Cashews are rich in a number of minerals, one of them being iron. A deficiency of iron can cause diseases like anaemia; therefore, cashews provide you with a helping of iron to boost the haemoglobin count in your blood and increase its oxygenation levels. This makes the body healthier and immune to diseases.
Another mineral that cashews are rich in is copper. Copper also improves the quality of blood by helping to increase the iron absorption in the body. Moreover, it also boosts the red blood cell count.
- They keep the bones and muscles healthy
Cashews are a rich source of phosphorus, which is a mineral that is central in the healthy development and growth of bones and teeth. Also found in cashews is magnesium, which not only promotes healthy bones but also improves the quality of muscles, tissues and organs of the body.
- They can prevent the occurrence of gallstones
Gallstones are tiny stone like deposits of cholesterol that accumulate in the gall bladder and are the source of great pain to the patient. While they ultimately pass through, they can cause a lot of damage and pain on the way out. Cashews are known to be effective in preventing the formation of gallstones – research suggests that one ounce of nuts can lower the risk of gallstones by about 25%.
- They lower the risk of weight gain
Contrary to popular perception, cashews don’t cause you to gain weight quickly. As a matter of fact, their effect is quite opposite to what people believe – they actually help to lower the risk of weight gain.
In a recent 28 month study which involved more than 8,000 participants, it was discovered that on average, a person who consumed nuts like cashews at least twice a week was 31% less likely to quickly gain weight as compared to those who never ate them. This finding only solidifies the claim that fats found in nuts are quite healthy and rather than making you gain weight, they can help the body stay fit and actually lose whatever excess weight you may have.
These health benefits clearly highlight the amazing health benefits that can be enjoyed by consuming cashews. So throw out the packets of junk food and enjoy a bowl of cashews the next time you feel the need to enjoy an afternoon snack!
To know more about cashews, click here.