Cashew is a tropical evergreen plant that is native to equatorial South America and known to have originated in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest. In the 16th century the seed was introduced to India by Portuguese sailors. It was only in the 1920s where the nut was traded internationally.
Cashew belongs to the same plant family as poison sumac and poison ivy containing the same potent chemical irritants found in the shell of the seed. Its botanical name is Anacardium occidentale. The cashew apple fruits are edible and delicious and because they quickly ferment as soon as picked, they are commonly processed into jams or liqueurs. Cashew nut is actually the seed that hangs from the bottom of the cashew apple. The nut is kidney-shaped, richly sweet and succulent. It is encased in two-layered hard shell which also holds a black substance called cardol that is extremely caustic and toxic. And this is why cashews are rarely sold in shell.
This super food has excellent nutrient value and health benefits. It is loaded with vitamin E, K and B complex, which are essential in the metabolism of protein, carbohydrate and fat at the cellular level. Cashew nut consists of essential minerals like potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, selenium and zinc in sufficient quantity to help prevent deficiency diseases. It is loaded with 5 grams of protein per ounce and filled with soluble dietary fibers. Cashew is packed with monounsaturated- fatty acids like palmitoleic and oleic acids that are heart- friendly. They help lower your harmful LDL cholesterol level while increasing your HDL cholesterol. It also holds a small amount of a flavonoid antioxidant called Zea-xanthin that provide protection from UV ray and help prevent macular degeneration in the elderly.
Because of its high energy density and fiber content, cashew nut can provide beneficial effect on people under weight management program. It also has zero cholesterol.
One thing to watch out is that cashew nut is high in calorie – a 100g is equal to 553 calories.
Some of the numerous healing power of cashew includes prevention of pervasive mouth disease, clearing the skin of acne, relieving stomach problems, reducing the risk of gallstone, fighting tuberculosis, and treating warts.
In food quantity, cashew is normally safe even for pregnant and nursing women. With regards to its use as medicine, there is not enough information if it’s safe in long term use. Avoid use to be safe. May cause hypertensive conditions to some individuals with symptoms ranging from skin itching to breathing difficulty, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. For your safety, do not eat unroasted cashew nut as it can irritate your skin and cause blisters.
Cashew nut facts: In the 1500s, anyone owning a cashew tree was considered a very individual.
You may want to include cashew nuts on your shopping list. It’s great for stir-fries too!
Eat healthy. Stay fit
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