Cashew nuts are the seeds of cashew apples from cashew tree that is botanically known as Anacardium occidentale. The tree originated from Brazil however it is presently grown in tropical regions such as the Ivory Coast, the Caribbean, Vietnam, Nigeria, Indonesia and India. Cashew nuts are characteristically kidney-shaped in appearance and can be used for preparing dishes or served as snacks. The cashew apple is the fruit which can also be processed into astringent drinks or distilled into liqueur.
Health Benefits of Cashew Nuts
Cashew nuts are among the plant food with the highest antioxidant level, which suggests why cashew nuts act as cardio-protective agents. The presence of oleic acid and magnesium in cashew nuts make them contain approximately low fat content than other nuts. Basically, oleic acid helps to maintain good cardiovascular health by reducing the triglyceride levels of which a high level can trigger heart disease.
Cashews are cholesterol free and their high antioxidant content assists in lowering the risk of coronary heart and cardiovascular diseases. Cashew nuts contain mainly of unsaturated fatty acids of which majority of this unsaturated fatty acid content are monounsaturated fats.
The presence of arginine in cashew nuts make them an excellent source of protein. The conversion of amino acid to nitric oxide in the body causes the blood vessels to dilate easily. This process causes the blood vessels to remain elastic thus preventing blood clots. Cashew nuts also contain a very high amount of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid which helps in maintaining adequate functioning of the human body.
Cashew nuts contain high level of monounsaturated fat which is considered as healthy fat. Studies suggest that individuals who consume nuts at least twice a week have a very low possibility of gaining weight unlike those individuals who hardly eat nuts.
Although cashew nuts contain fat, the proportion of their fat constituents is relatively lower than other nuts such as pecans, almonds, peanuts and walnuts. Cashew nuts are very high in dietary fiber but dense in energy which make them a very healthy snack for maintaining healthy weight.
Ripe cashew fruit contains antioxidants and flavanols known as proanthocyanidins which diminishes the tumor growth as well as stop the division of cancer cells. Cashew is an excellent source of copper, which makes the nuts capable of destroying free radicals from the human body.
Ideal for Healthy Bones
Cashew contains high amount of magnesium and calcium which are required for developing healthy and strong bones.
Prevention of Gallstones
Researchers agree that women who eat cashew nuts every week have a very low chances of developing gallstones.
Studies agree that cashew nuts aid in easy food digestion.
Cashew nuts contain a high amount of plant sterols, fibre and vitamin E that are beneficial in reducing blood cholesterol levels by reducing the cholesterol reabsorption from the gut.
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