Cashews are a delicious nut with a sweet flavour and a host of health benefits that makes them even more enjoyable to eat and in a number of different ways.
They contain 100% of our recommended intake of copper which we require in small amounts to support immune, cardiovascular and neurological function. They are a great source of magnesium, a super important mineral used in every cellular function in the body, aiding in stress reduction, migraines, energy and cognitive function.
As a food group many people have negative attitudes towards dietary fats, fearing that they will cause weight gain and other unfavourable health implications. However research has reported the opposite, when consuming good forms of fats such as those found in nuts and seeds. Cashews are a high source of monounsaturated fats in the form of oleic acid, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes, boosts circulation and fights free radicals reducing inflammation.
For many years fats were given a bad rap, promoted as a key driver of obesity and heart disease, however we know that consuming the right fats in conjunction with a balanced diet, is highly supportive of good health, disease prevention and maintaining a healthy weight. Healthy fats keep your blood sugar levels stable, further reducing the risk of developing diabetes, a condition associated with obesity and heart disease.
Cashews also contain powerful antioxidants that protect against disease and fight cancer. A key one being proanthocyanidin which inhibit the ability of cancer cells to divide and multiply, specifically reducing incidences of colon cancer. Another powerful antioxidant found in cashews is Zea Xanthin. This pigment is readily absorbed by our retina, forming a protective layer against UV rays and helps protect against age related macular degeneration.
There are a number of ways cashew nuts can be incorporated into the diet to add flavour and obtain their health promoting benefits. They can be:
- Used as a creamy cheese substitute for those following a vegan and dairy free diet. - Simply combine with nutritional yeast, lemon and garlic and you can use it to make mac and cheese, cheesy cauliflower bake or as a spread.
- Blended into a nut butter, which makes a great protein snack, spread on apple, banana or veggie sticks.
- Thrown into salads for crunch and a boost of good fats to keep you satiated.
- Combined with dried fruits and other superfoods such as goji berries, chia seeds and raw cacao to make a trail mix or blended into snack balls. If you’re time poor, Tasti's Smooshed Wholefoods Balls are a great option, using only dates, cashews, cacao, cranberries and coconut!