Why You Should Include Cashew Nuts in Your Diet

When we think about changing our eating habits, we usually think of the foods that we should eat less of or avoid completely, like processed meats and artificial sweeteners. What most of us don’t realize is that it is equally important to consider what we should eat more of to get the nutrients we need.

One such food that should be included in a healthy diet is the cashew nut. In the old days, the fruit was given more importance over the nut. The juice was consumed both as medicine and beverage, while the flesh and oil were used for various cooking purposes. Indeed, in Brazil where the plant originated, cashew fruit juice is highly popular and more people prefer eating the “apple” to the nut.

And while the cashew fruit itself is not without its health benefits, it’s the cashew nut or the seed that is packed with more nutrients. One ounce of raw cashews contains 9.2 grams of carbohydrates, 5.1 grams of protein, 9.5 micrograms of vitamin K, and 10.4 milligrams of calcium, among many other vitamins and minerals. Below is just a few of the many health benefits that should convince you to add cashew nuts to your diet.

It Can Help You Lose Weight
Studies have found that people who consume more nuts on a regular basis also lose weight faster. What’s more, nuts like cashews contain omega 3 fatty acids which help boost the body’s metabolic process. Cashews are also rich in magnesium, which are essential for the proper metabolism of fat and carbohydrates. Moreover, cashew milk has the lowest calorie content among all plant-based kinds of milk, with only 20 to 50 calories per cup. Try adding milked cashew nuts to your coffee (it foams beautifully!), soups, and sauces, or simply enjoy it on its own as a refreshing beverage.

It Can Help Protect Your Eyes
Most people think of carrots and squashes when it comes to keeping our eyes healthy due to their vitamin A content. However, there are also other nutrients that are essential for eye health. Lutein, for example, blocks harmful blue light from reaching the macula, the part of the eye that is responsible for sharp and detailed vision. This, in turn, reduces the light-induced damage that may impair visual acuity. Zeaxanthin, meanwhile, is an antioxidant that can be directly absorbed by the retina, protecting the eyes from UV rays and other external stressors. Cashews contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, which not only help keep the eyes healthy but also decrease the risk of developing eye diseases like cataracts.

It is VERY Good for the Heart
Not only do cashews NOT contain any cholesterol, which already makes them extraordinarily beneficial to your heart health, they can also help lower LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and increase the blood’s carrying capacity of HDL (the “good” cholesterol). HDL absorbs cholesterol from the heart, then brings it to the liver where it can be synthesized or removed. Studies have also been conducted about the capabilities of nuts like cashews to reduce oxidative stress and improve vascular reactivity. Finally, cashews also contain vitamins E, B6, and K, which all help fight heart disease. Vitamin K, in particular, helps prevent calcification of the aortic valve.

It Helps Improve Blood and Bone Health
Cashews are rich in copper and iron, which are both essential in the formation and utilization of red blood cells. Copper is also an important component in the proper conversion of iron into hemoglobin, and the prevention of iron accumulation in the liver and brain. Copper and iron also have antioxidative properties, helping the body get rid of free radicals and thus keeping the immune system healthy.

In addition, when copper interacts with iron, manganese, and zinc, it helps form superoxide dismutase. This antioxidant helps protect the bone from damage caused by free radicals. Copper is also important in the formation of connective tissues that help boost the tensile strength and fracture resistance of our bones.

They may not look like much and may not be as popular as other kinds of nuts, like almonds or hazelnuts, but cashews are highly nutritious and delicious, too. They’re also more mildly flavored compared to other nuts, so if you aren’t fond of nutty flavors, cashews are the best way to receive these various health benefits.

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