What's a cashew?
Most of us have enjoyed a cashew or two at some point but did you know cashews are actually seeds & not nuts?! (hehe) I find this so interesting, though not as interesting as the fact that they grow at the base of what’s called a cashew apple. The cashew grows in a thick, hard shell at the base of the fruit. Ever notice cashews always come shelled? This is because the inner resin of the shell is actually toxic & must be properly removed. Native to Brazil, cashew apples are considered a delicacy though most people in North America have never heard of them.
What makes the cashew good for you?
Like most seeds & nuts, cashews are packed with calories & good fat (though significantly less fat than many other seeds or nuts) - 100 g of nuts provide 533 calories. Good for the heart, they are packed with monosaturated-fatty acids that fight off ‘bad’ cholesterol while promoting the ‘good’. Extremely nutrient dense, they are also full of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, & other disease-fighting agents.
Cashews are also a great source of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, copper, iron, zinc, manganese, & selenium.
Why are these nutrients important?
Magnesium helps regulate a diverse range of biochemical reactions in the body including energy production, structural development of the bones, it’s an antioxidant, transports calcium & potassium. It also aids in the regulation of nerve impulses, muscle contraction, & the maintenance of normal heart rhythms.
Potassium can be found in most food, particularly leafy greens. Like magnesium, calcium, & chloride, it is an electrolyte, promoting electrical charges throughout the body. It’s an essential mineral in the maintenance of proper blood levels and the maintenance of healthy heart & nerve function.
Copper is a trace element aiding in the proper function of organs & metabolic processes. Iron is a key ingredient in the production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is in your red blood cells & carries oxygen through your body. Manganese assists in bone production & the maintenance of skin integrity & health. It also fights against free radicals & blood sugar control.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant & supports normal thyroid function.
In other words, this little fruit-nut is super good for you! Sweet & savory, crunchy & creamy, it’s incredibly diverse & is only limited by your imagination.
Pssst....studies have also suggested that eating nuts twice a week helps prevent weight gain so eat away!
(If you’re still with me, congratulations! I know I just threw tons of very broad information at you and chances are you’re left with more questions than answers but fear not (!) we’re going to dive deeper into all these concepts as time moves on and you’ll be an expert in no time! I want to empower you to make healthy choices for you and your family and to be able to trust your intuition as time moves on.)
Thank you to ‘The World’s Healthiest Foods’ and Wikipedia who are both used as sources for this post.