Cashews: Medicinal Benefits
Diet and Weight Management
Cashew nuts do have a relatively high fat content (12 grams per ounce, 2 grams saturated fat), but it is considered “good fat.” This is due to the agreeable fat ratio in the nut, 1:2:1 for saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated, respectively, which scientists say is the ideal ratio for optimal health.
Cashew nuts also have a fatty acid profile that contributes to good health through phytosterols, tocopherols, and sqaulene, all of which lower the risk of heart disease, combined with the nut’s zero percent cholesterol content.
Even with the relatively high fat content, cashew nuts are considered to be a “low-fat” nut. In fact, cashew nuts contain less fat per serving than many other popular nuts commonly found in grocery stores and health food stores, including almonds, walnuts, peanuts and pecans.
Recommendations vary for cashew nut consumption in diet and weight loss. Cashew nuts have a high energy density and high amount of dietary fiber, both which have been attributed to a beneficial effect on weight management, but only when eaten in moderation
Cardiovascular and Circulatory Health
With no cholesterol, a rarity for such a tasty and pleasing treat, cashew nuts are a healthy fat food for heart patients. And because of their high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids, they also help support healthy levels of low good (HDL) cholesterol.
The cashew nut’s high magnesium content also takes the credit for its healthy heart qualities. In their raw form, cashews contain 82.5 milligrams of magnesium per ounce, or 21 percent of the daily recommended value of the heart healthy mineral, which also protects against high blood pressure, muscle spasms, migraine headaches, tension, soreness and fatigue.
Magnesium also works with calcium to support healthy muscles and bones in the human body.
And with a high copper content, too, cashew nut consumption helps the body utilize iron, eliminate free radicals, develop bone and connective tissue, and produce the skin and hair pigment melanin.
Copper, which is an essential component of the enzyme superoxide dismutase , is vital in energy production and antioxidant defense, producing greater flexibility in blood vessels, bones and joints.
Recent clinical trials have shows that cashews and other nuts work with a person’s lipid profile to have a beneficial effect on those with diabetes or at risk for diabetes.
And with 37.7 percent of the daily recommended value of monounsaturated fats, cashews can reduce triglyceride levels in diabetics, protecting them from further complications.
Integrating frequent nut consumption into your diet, especially raw cashews, may lower the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, the most commonly diagnosed form of diabetes in America today.
All nuts, including the cashew nut, have been associated with a reduced risk of gallstone disease.
According to the Nurses’ Health Study, looking at the dietary data of 80,718 women, integrating at least one ounce of nuts a week, such as cashews, gives women a 25 percent lower risk of developing gallstones.
Research has also shown that chemicals in cashew nuts kill gram positive bacteria, a pervasive mouth affliction that causes tooth decay, acne, tuberculosis and leprosy.
Eating cashew nuts at moderate levels, some say, can eliminate abscessed teeth, though this has not been proven yet by proper clinical trials.