Most of us have enjoyed a cashew or two at some point but did you know cashews are actually seeds and 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 and must be properly removed. Native to Brazil, cashew apples are considered a delicacy though most people in North America have never heard of them.
Like most seeds and nuts, cashews are packed with calories and 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, and other disease fighting agents.
Cashews are also a great source of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, copper, iron, zinc, manganese, and selenium.
Why are these 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 and potassium. It also aids in the regulation nerve impulses, muscle contraction, and the maintenance of normal heart rhythms.
Potassium can be found in most food, particularly leafy greens. Like magnesium, calcium, and 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 and nerve function.
Copper is a trace element aiding in the proper function of organs and metabolic processes. Iron is a key ingredient in the production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is in your red blood cells and carries oxygen through your body. Manganese assists in bone production and the maintenance of skin integrity and health. It also fights against free radicals, and blood sugar control. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and supports normal thyroid function.
In other words, this little fruit-nut is super good for you! Sweet and savory, crunchy and creamy, it’s incredibly diverse and 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.