Cashews have a buttery, sweet, and salty taste, an unmistakable shape, and they are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. They grow on cashew nut trees, which are originally native to northeastern Brazil. Portuguese colonists in Brazil began exporting cashew nuts as early as the 1550s. Major production of cashews occurs in Vietnam, Nigeria, India, and Ivory Coast.
Cashews not only taste great, but also come with many health benefits. Below are some of the proven health benefits of this nut.
Help with brain function
The brain is made up of mostly fat, nearly 60% fat, and relies on a steady supply of healthy fatty acids within the diet (1). Nuts are one of the natural plant foods richest in fat and support cognitive function, healthy aging and mood regulation.
100 g of raw cashews contain 23.8 g of monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs that contain oleic acid) and 7.8 g of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAS mostly in the form of linoleic acid), 2.2 mg of Copper, 5.8 mg Zinc, and 6.7 mg of Iron (2) all of which help support cognitive abilities and multiple brain processes by regulating neurotransmitter pathways, synaptic transmission and membrane fluidity (3). Dietary deficiency of healthy MUFA and PUFA fatty acids has even been associated with increased risk of several mental disorders such as ADHD, anxiety or depression, dyslexia and dementia.
Help lower the risk for diabetes
MUFA fats, which cashew is a good source of, slow the rate at which blood is released into the blood stream (4), but the anti-diabetic properties of cashews nutrition is partially due to the active ingredients called hydroethanolic extract in the form of anacardic acid, which stimulates glucose transport and control (5).
May help prevent migraine headaches
Cashews help support healthy brain function and improve blood circulation while lowering blood pressure. Nuts also provide plant-based phytosterols, which are beneficial for reducing headache duration and occurrence.
Additionally, cashews fight rapid changes in blood sugar and hypoglycemia, another well-recognized trigger for migraines. (6)
Cashew nut cheese:
Ingredients: (makes 48 servings; will yield about 3 cups of cheese sauce, serving size 1 Tbsp.)
- Raw cashew nuts: 2 cup
- Filtered water: 2 ½ cups
- Lemons: 2, juice of
- Garlic powder: 1 Tsp.
- Dried onions or onion powder: 1 Tsp.
- Dry yeast: 1 package (7 g)
- Salt: 2 Tsp. or more to taste
- Pepper: to taste
- Soak cashews for at least a couple of hours
- Drain cashews and add them to a food processor
- Add the rest of the ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy
- Pour the cheese sauce in a medium sauce pan and place over medium heat
- Cook cheese sauce for about 15-20 minutes or until it is the thickness that you want. Stir occasionally to prevent from burning
- Cool to room temperature, place in a mason jar and refrigerate.
Nutrition facts per serving:
- Protein 53g
- Fat 13g
- Carb 98g
- Fiber 04g
- Sugar 23g
Stay happy and healthy