Cashew Nuts Offer 12 Impressive Health Benefits
Cashew nuts are more than just a tasty snack. These kidney-shaped nuts are packed with vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that provide a host of health perks.
While high in calories and fat, the fats in cashew nuts are mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Moreover, emerging research shows that regularly eating Cashews may protect against disease and even aid in weight loss.
Top 12 Benefits of Cashew Nuts
Here are 12 science-backed ways Cashews can boost your health.
Loaded with Nutrients
Cashew nuts provide a nutritional punch for their size.
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of roasted, unsalted Cashews contains:
- 157 calories
- 5 grams protein
- 9 grams fat
- 9 grams carbs
- 1 gram fiber
This same serving also contains 20% or more of the RDI for copper, manganese, and magnesium. These minerals are essential for energy production, collagen formation, nerve function, and bone health.
Cashew nuts are also packed with vitamin K, zinc, and iron, supporting immunity, growth, and metabolism.
High in Healthy Fats
Most of the fat in cashew nuts comes from oleic acid, the same monounsaturated fat found abundantly in olive oil. Studies show diets rich in monounsaturated fats lower total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels better than low-fat diets. They also reduce triglycerides and may decrease inflammation. Cashew nuts contain smaller amounts of polyunsaturated fats, which benefit heart health, blood sugar control, and inflammation.
May Aid Weight Loss
Despite their high calorie and fat content, eating cashew nuts regularly may help you shed pounds.
In one 12-week study, people who included cashew nuts in a low-calorie diet plan lost more weight than those who didn’t eat nuts. Researchers also found substituting cashew nuts for carbs increases fat burning.
The protein, fiber, and fat in cashew nuts support weight loss by satisfying hunger, regulating blood sugar, boosting metabolism, and reducing fat absorption.
Chronic inflammation is linked with numerous health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders.
Cashews contain high amounts of antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory effects. The main antioxidants are:
- An acardia acid: halt production of pro-inflammatory chemicals.
- Flavonoids: combine antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress.
- Zeaxanthin: absorbs UV light that causes inflammation.
By lowering inflammation, cashew nuts may decrease pain and swelling, especially for those with inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
Improve Heart Health
Cashew nuts contain nutrients vital for heart health, including healthy fats, magnesium, copper, and antioxidants.
Several studies reveal that adding cashew nuts to your diet significantly lowers dangerous LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol — all major risk factors for heart attacks and stroke.
One study found people who ate a diet high in cashew nuts for 12 weeks experienced decreased blood pressure and better circulation.
Together, these beneficial effects give your heart an extra layer of protection.
Help Control Blood Sugar
Cashew nuts have a low glycemic index, meaning they don’t spike your blood sugar levels compared to other carbs.
Human and animal studies demonstrate that eating cashew nuts may lower fasting blood sugar and improve insulin response.
This is important for preventing and controlling type 2 diabetes. The healthy fats, fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants in cashew nuts all play a role in stabilizing blood sugar.
Boost Brain Health
Cashew nuts are rich in copper. Your brain requires copper to function properly, as the mineral is vital for nerve transmission and neurotransmitter formation.
Low copper levels are linked with a decline in brain function, while increased copper may improve learning and memory.
In addition, the antioxidants in cashew nuts help prevent oxidative damage to brain cells from free radicals.
Cashew nuts are a stellar plant-based source of minerals essential for building and maintaining strong bones.
Just one serving provides 18% of your daily copper, 21% magnesium, and 36% manganese — more than nuts like almonds.
Copper boosts collagen production for bone structure, while manganese and magnesium are needed for bone crystal formation.
May Prevent Gallstones
Gallstones affect 15% of adults, especially women, causing severe abdominal pain.
Some evidence suggests that frequent nut consumption, like adding cashew nuts to your diet, lowers your risk of developing gallstones.
The unsaturated fats in nuts help increase estrogen levels, which boosts HDL cholesterol. This may lower gallstone risk, as low HDL is linked with gallstone development.
Promote Healthy Skin and Hair
The nutrients in cashew nuts nourish your skin and hair from the inside out.
The anti-inflammatory effects protect against various skin issues caused by inflammation.
Zinc accelerates wound healing, boosts immunity against skin infections, and aids in collagen production for smooth skin.
Copper builds and repairs skin cells, while vitamin E protects skin cell membranes from free radical damage.
Cashew nuts provide essential minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, and selenium for strong, shiny hair that promotes growth and strength.
Support Healthy Vision
Cashew nuts safeguard your eyes as your age thanks to two special antioxidants — lutein and zeaxanthin.
These compounds accumulate in eye tissue and filter out damaging blue light rays that can cause macular degeneration.
In fact, studies show people who eat more nuts have a 35% lower risk of macular problems.
Cashew nuts combined with a healthy balanced diet may improve digestive health.
Their high magnesium content helps move digested food through the gut, preventing constipation.
Meanwhile, their fiber feeds beneficial gut bacteria that support optimal digestion and nutrient absorption from your food.
Incorporate Cashews into Your Diet
To take advantage of the many impressive benefits of cashew nuts, enjoy them regularly as part of a healthy diet.
Aim for a 1-ounce serving, around 18 whole nuts, a couple of times per week. You can also try:
- Snacking on a handful of roasted, unsalted cashews.
- Adding cashews to stir-fries, salads, and Asian dishes
- Spreading cashew butter on whole-grain toast
- Blending cashews into smoothies and energy bites
- Swapping cashew milk for cow’s milk where possible
As with any nut, portion control is important, as cashews are calorie-dense. But when eaten in moderation, they provide valuable nutrition to protect your overall health.
- Cashews deliver protein, healthy fats, carbs, fiber, and key vitamins/minerals.
- They contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation and promote health.
- Cashews may aid in weight loss, heart health, blood sugar control, and brain function.
- Their nutrients also benefit from digestion, vision, bones, skin, and hair.
- Enjoy 1-2 servings of cashews per week for maximum benefits.
Here are two tables related to the nutritional benefits of cashews:
|Key Vitamins in Cashews
|Supports bone & blood health
|Aids enzyme reactions
|Protects cells from damage
|Boosts immune function
|Key Minerals in Cashews
|Essential for nerve health
|Needed for bone building
|Relaxes muscles & Vessels
|Supports tooth/bone formation
Here are some tips for buying and eating cashews:
Tips for Buying Cashews
- Choose raw over roasted.
- Choose unsalted or lightly salted.
- Check the sell-by date.
- Buy from a store with turnover.
How to Eat More Cashews
- Add homemade trail mixes.
- Use in place of pine nuts in pesto.
- Mix into oatmeal or yogurt.
- Coat chicken or fish before baking
- Blend into nut butter
- Sprinkle on salads or stir-fries
Ways to Roast Cashews
- Toss with olive oil and spices at 350°F for 8-10 minutes.
- Cook in a dry pan over medium heat until golden.
- Air fry at 360°F for 5 minutes, shaking halfway.
So, in summary, cashew nuts provide an abundance of nutritional benefits to power up your health. Their winning combo of protein, carbs, healthy fats, and key micronutrients offers protection against a variety of conditions. Work these versatile nuts into your diet and reap the nutritional rewards!