Thanks to their rich nutritional profile, cashew nuts are an extremely healthy addition to any diet.
They are the perfect topping for salads or morning muesli, and you can turn them into creams and cheese-like ingredients.
But just how good are cashew nuts for you?
Cashews are a unique source of plant protein and energy, and they should have a special place in anybody’s lunch bag.
However, it is essential to learn how to consume them safely and reap their unique benefits.
In this article, you will find out why cashew nuts are so good for your health.
Cashew Nuts Nutritional Profile
Just like many other nuts, cashews have a rich nutritional profile.
When prepared properly, you can turn them into cheeses and creams.
For individuals following a plant-based diet, this can be a great advantage.
Indeed, cashews make sure that vegans can still enjoy the creaminess of dairy products and boost their protein intake without including animal products in their diets.
Additionally, thanks to their nutritional profile, cashews yield many health benefits that make them an unmissable ingredient for anybody who wishes to follow a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
In the video below, you can find out an overview of the benefits of cashews:
Alternatively, read on to find out more about why cashews are so good for your health.
All the benefits of cashew nuts stem from their unique nutritional profile. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, cashews—1oz (8.3g)—contain:
- 157 calories
- 68g (0.059oz) of sugar
- 9g (0.031oz) of fiber
- 5g (0.29oz) of carbohydrate
- 1g (0.17oz) of protein
- 4g (0.43oz) of fat—includes saturated fat 8g (0.28oz), polyunsaturated fat 8g (0.28oz), and monounsaturated fat 24g (0.84oz)
Aside from these macronutrients, cashews are also a source of calcium (10mg), non-haem iron (1.9mg), magnesium (83mg), phosphorous (169mg), potassium (187mg), and zinc (1.64mg). Cashew nuts also contain vitamins B6 and K.
Health Benefits of Cashew Nuts
Cashew nuts’ nutritional profile makes them perfect for anybody following a vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, or plant-based diet to consume all the necessary nutrients for a healthy lifestyle.
Ultimately, cashews are only off the table for those with a specific nut allergy.
However, if you can include them in your diet, you can get some of the main benefits you can get from them.
They Are Beneficial for Heart Health
These studies show that introducing nuts in our diets can lower the risk of heart diseases and strokes.
A 2019 study specifically focuses on the benefits of cashews on heart health.
It found that individuals who consumed cashews as part of their regular diet had lower LDL levels, which is the bad cholesterol often associated with heart and circulatory diseases.
Generally, lower LDL than HDL (good cholesterol) indicates that an individual is healthy.
They Can Decrease the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Some studies have shown a link between nuts’ consumption and the possible benefits in protecting against type 2 diabetes.
Indeed, cashew nuts are high in fiber, one of the macronutrients that protect our digestion and gut bacteria.
More importantly, fibers are responsible for preventing blood sugar spikes, which are usually associated with the symptoms of diabetes.
In turn, this can lower insulin levels and offer the body better control over blood sugar.
They Can Help With Weight Loss
Cashew nuts are a source of healthy fats and calories.
Alongside their high fiber content, this makes them a highly filling food.
Therefore, even a handful of nuts can help you remain full between meals, reduce hunger, and prevent you from snacking on unhealthy foods.
Additionally, more recent studies have shown that our bodies don’t process all calories in nuts.
Our bodies only metabolize about 84% of the calories in cashews, while the rest remain trapped in their fibrous bodies.
This characteristic makes them particularly suitable if you are on a weight loss journey.
What Are the Disadvantages of Cashew Nuts?
As we have seen, cashews are a powerhouse of essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
However, just like most other foods, they have some disadvantages that you should consider when including them in your diet.
It is also worth mentioning that cashew nuts might be a bad match for specific diets, such as vegans who have turned to a plant-based lifestyle because of ethics.
Indeed, cashews’ production and the unregulated labor market behind it have become an increasingly pressing issue.
Since some aspects are considered unethical, some vegans abstain from eating this food.
Here is an overview of the main disadvantages of cashews:
The Added Salt or Oil
Most cashew nuts on the market come as part of a mixed nuts package or roasted, salted, or oiled. Of course, eating cashew nuts in this way will help you reap all the benefits of these nuts.
However, you might be looking at a different nutritional profile from the one you would expect.
Added salt, sugar, or oil could increase fat and sugar levels, which can get in the way of your weight loss goals and cause different outcomes in terms of circulatory health.
Ultimately, if you wish to include cashew nuts in your diet for their health benefits, make sure you opt for unsalted, dry-roasted cashew nuts.
The Level of Phytate
Phytates or Phytic acid is a substance naturally found in plant seeds.
This substance’s primary function is to trap minerals into the plant to use them to grow.
However, when found in cashews and other nuts such as almonds, this substance is considered an anti-nutrient because it prevents the absorption of zinc and other minerals from the cashew.
Additionally, it can make cashews less digestible.
You might decide to leave the cashews to soak overnight and allow them to release the Phytate hiding in them.
This technique will enable you to make the most of the cashews’ nutritional profile while also digesting them more easily.
They Can Cause Allergic Reactions
The last main disadvantage of cashews is that they are classified as tree nuts.
As tree nuts, they might cause allergic reactions in some people.
So, if you are allergic to nuts such as brazil nuts, almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts, you should consider checking whether you are also allergic to cashew nuts.
How Many Cashews Can I Eat a Day?
Cashew nuts are high in fats and calories.
While these characteristics are the same ones that might help you to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, they are also the ones that can yield the opposite effects.
Indulging in nuts every day can cause you to consume more calories than you wish to and, ultimately, gain weight.
If you have experienced issues with cholesterol, obesity, weight gain, or diabetes, you should consider speaking to a nutritionist before introducing nuts into your diet regularly.
How Much Zinc in Cashew Nuts?
Zinc is one of the essential minerals required for good health.
Over 300 enzymes in the body rely on this nutrient to carry on their functions.
Zinc is the essential mineral that looks after the immune system functions, metabolizes nutrients, and ensures tissue health and repair.
Our bodies don’t store zinc, which makes it essential to consume enough of it from our diets—and cashews are the best foods for it!
When looking into the nutritional profile of cashews, you will notice that they are exceptionally high in zinc.
Which Nuts Are Highest in Zinc?
Cashews are among the best nuts to eat if you wish to ensure a balanced intake of zinc.
Cashews are critical nuts to include in anybody’s diet.
They are an irreplaceable source of protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
These nuts are exceptionally high in zinc and loaded with healthy fatty acids.
Thanks to their rich nutritional profile, cashews can help you fight bad cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes.
Cashews are also loved for their versatility.
When adequately prepared, you can turn them into cheeses and creams, perfect for anybody following a plant-based diet.
Just make sure you are limiting the number of cashew nuts eaten in a day to 5.