The cashew, scientific name Anacardium occidentale, is a tree in the family Anacardiaceae which produces a seed that is harvested as the cashew nut. Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which itself is derived from the indigenous, the tree is now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew apples and nuts.
The cashew nut is a popular snack and food source. Cashews, unlike other oily tree nuts, contain starch to about 10% of their weight. This makes them more effective than other nuts in thickening water-based dishes such as soups, meat stews, and some Indian milk-based desserts. Many southeast Asian and south Asian cuisines use cashews for this unusual characteristic, rather than other nuts.
The shell of the cashew nut is toxic, which is why the shell is removed before it is sold to consumers.
Cashew nuts are commonly used in Indian cuisine, whole for garnishing sweets or curries, or ground into a paste that forms a base of sauces for curries, or some sweets. It is also used in powdered form in the preparation of several Indian sweets and desserts. In Goan cuisine, both roasted and raw kernels are used whole for making curries and sweets.
The cashew nut can also be harvested in its tender form, when the shell has not hardened and is green in color. The shell is soft and can be cut with a knife and the kernel extracted, but it is still corrosive at this stage, so gloves are required. The kernel can be soaked in turmeric water to get rid of the corrosive material before use.
Proanthocyanidins are a class of flavonols which fight against tumor cells by stopping them to divide further. These proanthocyanidins and high copper content in cashew nuts help fight against cancerous cells and keeps you away from colon cancer. This is one of the major cashew nut benefits.
Cashews contain low fat content when compared to other nuts and that too in the oleic acid form which is very healthy for heart. They are cholesterol free and the antioxidants present keeps you away from heart diseases.
Cashew nuts lower your blood pressure with the help of magnesium present in them.
Copper is the mineral which helps your hair get that color. So if you take cashews which are full of copper content, you can get that black hair that you always wished for.
Like calcium, magnesium is also important for bone health which is the main content in cashew nuts.
Magnesium is stored on the bones surface which prevents calcium from entering the nerve cells and thus keeps the blood vessels and muscles relaxed. Insufficient amount of magnesium can lead calcium to enter the blood vessels leading them to contract. It also leads to high blood pressure, migraine headache etc
Daily intake of cashewnut can reduce the risk of developing gallstones up to 25%.
Even though cashew nuts are considered as fats, it contains good cholesterol. So contrary to popular belief, those who eat cashews at least twice a week gain less weight when compared to those who eat less.
Selenium, copper, magnesium etc. act as co-factors for many enzymes.
Cashew nuts help in growth and development, nucleic acid synthesis and digestion.
Cashew nuts are rich in vitamins like riboflavin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, niacin etc. These vitamins keep you safe from sideroblastic anemia, pellagra, etc.
As mentioned before, the magnesium content present in cashew nuts is very good for bones. So it gives healthy teeth as well as strong gums to hold them.
After menopause, these cashew nuts can give you relaxed and pleasant sleep during nights.
Cashew nuts help our body to utilize iron properly and eliminate free radicals which cause health problems.
Cashewnuts have the ability to filter Sun’s UV rays and protect us from macular degeneration.
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