Cashew nuts are a kidney or bean shaped seeds that grow at the end of the cashew apple on a tree that is about 30 feet tall.
Cashews are native to Brazil. Today the leading producers of cashews are are India, Brazil, some African countries and Vietnam.
Nutrition & Health
Like most nuts, cashews are naturally cholesterol free, gluten free, low in saturated fat and are a low glycemic-index food. They are good source of protein, fiber, heart healthy fats, vitamins & minerals and particularly:
- Highest content of zinc and copper than any other nut
Copper is an essential component of many enzymes, playing a role in a wide range of physiological processes including iron utilization, elimination of free radicals, development of bone and connective tissue, energy production, antioxidant defenses and the production of the skin and hair pigment called melanin.
- Good source of magnesium as well as other vitamins and minerals
Magnesium plays a vital role along with calcium in keeping healthy bones as well as regulating nerve and muscle function, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Magnesium has been known to help in lowering the frequency of migraines by relaxing the muscles.
- Contains a small amount of zeaxanthin that promotes eye health
This important flavonoid antioxidant pigment protects the eye from macular degeneration in older adults.
In a nutshell, cashews are especially rich in heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’s), similar to those found in olive oil. They are a source of essential minerals and some antioxidants. Each nutrient plays its part in providing bone strength and joint flexibility, discouraging migraines, improving memory, lowering blood pressure, and protecting against UV damage, heart disease, and cancer.
Buying Tips & Storage
Look for raw cashews if possible, with plain “dry roasted” cashews being your second best option. Cashews are always sold shelled. They should look bright cream-white, compact, uniform and feel heavy in hand. They should be free from cracks, mold, and spots and free of rancid smell. Due to their high content of oleic acid, cashews are more stable than most other nuts but should still be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator, where they will keep for about six months, or in the freezer, where they will keep for about one year.