CASHEW: THE KIDNEY SHAPED NUT
When I was younger I remember the caustic smell that hung around the street, especially in cashew season. We roasted it ourselves!.. Sometimes even used it as currency among ourselves. Now I discover that we were better off roasting the stuff ourselves owing to the fact that store-bought cashews are always sold shelled because the interior of the shells contains a caustic resin, known as cashew balm, which must be carefully removed before the nuts are fit for consumption. This caustic resin is actually used in industry to make varnishes and insecticides.
Now, what does cashew contain and what does it supply?
A quarter-cup of cashew nuts supplies;
-37.4% of daily recommended value for monounsaturated fats
-38.0% of daily recommended value for copper
_22.3% of daily recommended value for magnesium
Cashews are high in calories. 100 g of nuts provide 553 calories. They are packed with soluble dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and numerous health-promoting phyto-chemicals that help protect us from diseases and cancers.
They are rich in “heart-friendly” monounsaturated-fatty acids likeoleic, and palmitoleic acids.These essential fatty acids help lower harmful LDL-cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet, which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
Cashew nuts are abundant source of essential minerals.Minerals, especially manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium are concentrated in these nuts. A handful of cashew nuts a day in the diet would provide enough of these minerals and may help prevent deficiency diseases.Seleniumis an important micronutrient, which functions as a co-factor for antioxidant enzymes such asGlutathione peroxidases, one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body.Copperis a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as co-factors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc).Zincis a co-factor for many enzymes that regulategrowth and development, gonadal function, digestion, and DNA (nucleic acid) synthesis.
In thier raw form, cashews contain 82.5 milligramms of magnesium per ounce, or 21 percent of daily recommended vale of heart healthy minerals which also protects against high blood pressure, muscle spams, migarine headchaches, tension, soreness and fatigue. Magnesium also works with calcium to support with calcium to support healthy muscles and bones in the human body, with high copper content too, cashew nut consuption helps the body utilise iron, eliminate free radical, develop bone and connective tissue, and produce the skin and hair pigment melanin copper which is an essential component of the enzyme “superoxide dismutase, is vital in energy prodution and antioxidant defense producing greather flexibility in blood vessels, bones and joints.
Proanthocyanidins are a class of flavonols which fight against tumor cells by stopping them to divide further. These proanthocyanidins and high copper content in cashew nuts help fight against cancerous cells and keeps you away from colon cancer. This is one of the major cashew nut benefits.
Eating Nuts Lowers Risk of Weight Gain:
Although nuts are known to provide a variety of cardio-protective benefits, many avoid them for fear of weight gain. A prospective study published in the journal Obesity shows such fears are groundless. In fact, people who eat nuts at least twice a week are much less likely to gain weight than those who almost never eat nuts.
Cashews and Oxalates:
Cashews are among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating cashews.
Its exterior shell composes a phenolic resin, urushiol, which is a potent caustic skin irritant toxin. In the processing units, this outer shell is roasted in order to destroy urushiol resin, and only then its edible cashew kernel is extracted. Allergic manifestations are due to chemical compoundanacardic acid(urushiol) that is present in cashew apples, shells, and nuts. Cross-reactions may also occur with some other nuts and fruits of Anacardiaceae family such asmango,pistachio, etc.
Individuals with known allergic reactions to cashew nut and fruit may observe caution while eating them.
ENJOY WITH CAUTION!..Cheers.
The author Prince
Hi, I’m Prince.. a registered Dietitian, an avid reader and a passionate writer. I hope you enjoy my articles as much as I enjoy writing them