Cashew - Overview, History, Benefits, Precaution, Dosage

What Is Cashew?

Among all nuts, cashews contain the least amount of fat and are high in plant-based protein that promotes muscle growth. Cashew nuts are made from the seeds of the cashew tree, an evergreen of the Anamacaceae family. The scientific term Anacardium, which was derived from the Latin words ana (upward) and -Cardium (heart), refers to the fruit that is named after an "upward-pointing heart" due to its form.

The West Indies, coastal areas, and northern or northeastern sections of South America are the native habitats of cashew trees. They hate too much rain and humidity and are sensitive to the cold. Cashew trees grow to a height of 10 to 15 metres, and from November to March, the tops of the trees produce 5 to 15 mm-long flowers. The majority of the flowers feature pink stripes on each petal and are pale green with a hint of reddish or yellowish-white.

After it flowers, the fruit will take two to three months to set and ripen. The fruit is a reddish-yellow cashew apple with a pear-like shape and an apple scent. Its biggest flower receptacles measure between 5 and 12 centimetres. The seed has a grey-brown shell protecting its apex and is shaped like a magatama. Cashew nuts are the seeds that are affixed to the outside.

The two-layered shell of cashew nuts contains a liquid called cyanogenic glycoside, which is extremely poisonous. Among the countries that grow cashew nuts are India, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Brazil. Most grain is exported whole to India, a processing country, from the equipment used for hulling and threshing. India has a special technique for dehulling and is the world's top producer and exporter.

History Of Cashew

The Tupi language spoken by the local indigenous peoples has been spoken since the 1850s when the Portuguese began to spread into the northeastern section of the South American continent (now the northwest to the northeastern part of the Federal Republic of Brazil), which is part of the region of origin. The word's etymology is attributed to the Portuguese, who are claimed to have misheard the cashew's name, `{acajú'', and borrowed it into Portuguese as ``Caju'', which became ``Cashew'' in English. It is now called.

Because of their efforts, the cashew tree spread over the world from its native Portugal. Since then, people have eaten the fruits and seeds of the cashew tree and planted the trees as windbreaks in coastal areas, utilising the many branches that grow from the tree's base. In the 1560s, a sizable cashew nut processing plant was built in Goa, India, and cashew products were exported to several countries, making cashew nuts a popular food item all over the world.

Moreover, it has been claimed that the cyanogenic glycosides present in the cashew nut shells have been used as a therapy for deadly snake bites in India and as a skin disease treatment in Nigeria.

Characteristics Of Cashew

Fresh fruit contains irritating ingredients such as anacardic acid and cardol, as well as toxic substances such as the cyanogenic glycoside amygdalin, so they must be removed by high-temperature heating to make them edible. Cashew apple is the term for the pulp that surrounds cashew nuts and has an apple-like scent. The fruit is consumed in the region where it is grown after being processed into jam or pressed into juice. However, fully developed cashew apples are only consumed in a small area surrounding the location where they are farmed. Because it resembles lacquer, the resin that is collected from the fruit's shell is also used as paint and occasionally used in place of lacquer.

Anacardic acid and cardol, two of the product's constituents, are comparable to urushiol, which is present in sumac and can result in allergic reactions and rashes. If you have the opportunity to see cashew trees or fresh fruit up close, avoid touching them with bare hands.

Nutrient Of Cashew 

Among nuts, they are relatively high in carbohydrates and low in fat, and the fat contains a lot of oleic acid. Oleic acid is an omega-9 fatty acid represented by olive oil. Like other nuts, they are considered a superfood because they contain many other vitamins and minerals.

Unsaturated Fatty Acids: This fatty acid is abundant in plants and fish oils, and needs to be consumed through diet because the body is unable to produce it on its own. The primary fatty acid found in cashew nuts is oleic acid, which has strong antioxidant properties and may prevent blood clots and arteriosclerosis in addition to decreasing blood pressure and regulating bad cholesterol. It is easily oxidised by heat, light, and air, so proceed with caution. If it transforms into lipid peroxide, it could be harmful to your health.

Vitamin K: Blood coagulation is one of vitamin K's primary functions. It may be difficult to stop bleeding when you are deficient in vitamin K. In addition, it increases bone growth and deposits calcium in the bones, both of which are important for strong bones and the prevention of osteoporosis. It also has the effect of preventing arterial calcification.

Vitamin B1: People who eat a lot of carbs or exercise frequently require more vitamin B1, as it is necessary for the conversion of glucose into energy. It is claimed that low vitamin B1 impairs athletes' endurance by preventing the body from converting glucose into enough energy, which results in sensations of exhaustion and lethargy.

Vitamin B6: They function as a coenzyme in the metabolism of amino acids, which enhances skin resistance and preserves immunological function. Dermatitis and stomatitis can result from vitamin B7 deficiencies. Pantothenic acid: A coenzyme that contributes to the synthesis of energy. Numerous symptoms, including exhaustion, appetite loss, constipation, dizziness, palpitations, and sleeplessness, might be brought on by its deficit.

Folic Acid: Folic acid is a member of the vitamin B group and is necessary for the production of red blood cells. Pregnant women must have enough folic acid because it is a nutrient that is vital for fetal growth.

Biotin: Biotin is a type of vitamin B group, which functions as a coenzyme in several metabolic pathways. Histamine is a chemical that promotes skin inflammation and itching; biotin is thought to have the effect of inhibiting its synthesis. It is also anticipated that biotin will help with atopic dermatitis.

Magnesium: Calcium is needed when muscles contract, and magnesium is needed when they relax. When this balance is disrupted, muscles may spasm.

Zinc: Zinc plays a role in several bodily reactions. It is a vital mineral that is necessary for DNA synthesis and protein resynthesis, particularly in places where new cells are growing. Deficiency may cause taste disorders.

Iron: Hemoglobin in the blood, which carries oxygen throughout the body, is found in iron. Iron deficiency causes anaemia and can produce symptoms like exhaustion, breathlessness, and pale skin.

Benefits of Cashew

Prevent Lifestyle Diseases: Cashew is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, named oleic acid which helps to prevent arteriosclerosis, heart disease, and hypertension by raising good (HDL) cholesterol and lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol. Oleic acid is the most stable of all the unsaturated fatty acids and has the property of not easily converting into lipid peroxides. As such, it is effective in preventing lifestyle-related disorders.

Strengthen bones and teeth: Cashew nuts are high in mineral content, which includes vitamin K, copper, magnesium, iron, and other elements. They aid in bone growth. In addition to calcium, collagen and protein are required for the development of bone. The formation of the proteins that comprise bones is aided by vitamin K. Our bones deteriorate with age, peaking at approximately 25 years of age. In order to avoid osteoporosis, it is vital to acquire adequate vitamin K from nuts and other foods from your teens and twenties.

Relieve Constipation: The high dietary fibre content of cashew nuts helps to maintain intestinal health and encourage regular bowel movements. Cashew nuts, which are high in dietary fibre and oleic acid, are also claimed to have the ability to relieve constipation due to the effects of oleic acid.

Prevent Anaemia: Because iron is absorbed at a very slow pace, women are more prone than men to be iron deficient. It is believed that 50% of women are iron deficient. Copper is also required for the transformation of iron into the pigment known as haemoglobin. Cashew nuts are abundant in iron and copper, thus they should be beneficial for anaemia.

Fatigue Recovery: There is a belief that vitamin B3 aids in fatigue recovery. Vitamin B3 is one element required to convert carbohydrates from meals into energy. You tend to feel fatigued due to the accumulation of lactic acid, which is produced when the body's capacity to convert carbs into energy declines. Nuts like cashews, which are high in vitamin B3, are supposed to help with fatigue relief.

Maintain a sense of taste: Humans use their tongue's taste buds to sense the flavour of food. New taste bud cells regularly replace old ones in the blink of an eye. Eating with outdated taste buds can lead to taste problems, including an incorrect perception and appreciation of flavour. Zinc is essential for taste bud development because it promotes healthy cell regeneration. In actuality, a zinc shortage stops new taste buds from developing. Zinc is found in good amounts in cashew nuts.

Beautiful Skin & Hair: Zinc is a mineral involved in protein synthesis and is found in large amounts in cashew nuts. It works to create a protein called keratin, which is the main component of hair and is an important ingredient in giving hair firmness and body. Therefore, it has been pointed out that zinc deficiency can cause skin disorders and hair loss. Cashew nuts are also high in protein which is the raw hair material, and also contain the vitamin pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid has the function of supporting vitamin C, which produces collagen, so it keeps your hair and skin healthy.

Diet Effect: When dieting, it is important to increase your metabolism and make it easier to burn fat. Cashew nuts are a great source of vitamin B1, which helps your body burn carbohydrates and produce energy, both of which aid in weight loss. When compared to other nuts, cashew nuts also have a comparatively high soluble dietary fibre content. Water-soluble dietary fibre can be considered useful for dieting since it dissolves in water and turns jelly-like. It also slows down the absorption of sugar, suppresses the buildup of fat and increases satiety.

Relieve Swelling: Potassium is one of the minerals present in cashew nuts. Potassium, along with sodium (salt), has the function of excreting excess water. It's a great ingredient when you eat too much salt. It can be said to have a detox effect because it eliminates swelling, which is a common problem for women, and also eliminates unnecessary substances from the body.

Ageing Care: Zinc is also an important nutritional component that has antioxidant properties. One of the components of the enzyme that eliminates active oxygen is zinc. Because cashew nuts are high in oleic acid and zinc, they are potent anti-ageing. Antioxidant actions are crucial because oxidation produces peroxide molecules, which can lead to diseases like cancer and arteriosclerosis. Staying healthy regardless of age is important to staying beautiful. To achieve beauty, anti-ageing care is important as well as beauty care.

Cashew Dosage

As per FSSAI, the recommended allowance dose for cashew fruit or cashew nites is 10-20 g. Hence, it is advised to consume roughly ten cashew nuts each day. You should not overdose on cashews or any other nuts or any fruits or herbs. It is not good for the body in any way. Eating too much can have the opposite effect, so watch how much you consume. Chewing your food well, even if it's only a small amount, stimulates your satiety centre.

The best time to eat is before a meal or before or after exercise. Eating before and after physical activity allows you to restore the minerals that tend to be lost with sweat.

What type of cashew nuts is good? We suggest selecting unsalted and unglazed cashew nuts for daily use. Products that use oil are not suitable for beauty or health purposes, and processed products that contain butter or the like may cause skin problems. Also, be careful not to eat salty foods as this can cause your body to retain water, which can lead to swelling.

Cashew Precaution

When having any nuts, it is crucial to know about the precaution points first. Here are some cashew nuts that you should know-

Cashews with skin are hard to digest: You should avoid using cashews with their skin. because it is challenging to digest cashew nuts with skins. We advise removing the peel before consuming cashew nuts if you have a sensitive stomach or are prone to indigestion because fats like unsaturated fatty acids take time to digest.

Overeating cashews causes acne: It's been suggested that consuming excessive amounts of cashew nuts can cause acne-like blemishes. However, cashew nuts are not directly bad for your skin. Nutrients like zinc and oleic acid found in cashew nuts support good skin. Consequently, you should anticipate having lovely skin if you eat cashew nuts in moderation. Skin issues can arise from processed cashew nuts that include butter or other substances. Eat as many unglazed cashew nuts as you can when you can.

Overeating cashew nuts can upset your stomach: Overconsumption of cashew nuts may irritate the intestines and stomach. It may strain the stomach and intestines' ability to break down food, leading to gastrointestinal distress. Potassium is also abundant in cashew nuts. Potassium can only be excreted through the kidneys. As a result, excessive potassium consumption may impair kidney function.

Overeating cashew nuts results in weight gain: Unsaturated fatty acids, a type of high-quality fat, are abundant in cashew nuts. However, if you eat too much just because it is good for your health, you will end up with too many calories. When the calorie intake exceeds the calorie expenditure, weight increases and becomes a cause of weight gain. Moreover, cashews have more carbs than other nuts. Watch how much you eat each day and take care not to overconsume it.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on Cashew

What nutrients do cashew nuts contain?

Cashew nuts are rich in high-quality protein, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and minerals such as magnesium, iron, and zinc.

Are the fats in cashew nuts good for your health?

Yes, most of the fat in cashews is unsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Are there any health benefits from consuming cashew nuts?

Cashew nuts contain vitamin E, an antioxidant, and magnesium, which support bone and muscle health, so regular consumption can help maintain and improve your health.

Are cashew nuts high in calories?

While cashew nuts are high in nutritional value, they are also high in calories. It is important to maintain an appropriate amount and take a well-balanced intake.

What about cashew nut allergies?

Cashews can cause allergic reactions in some people. If you experience allergic symptoms, we recommend avoiding consumption or consulting your doctor.

How many cashews can I eat a day?

The recommended daily intake of cashews is about a small handful or 10-20 grams as part of a balanced diet. This provides healthy fats, protein, and essential nutrients without excessive caloric intake.

Why are cashews so expensive?

Cashews are relatively expensive due to the labour-intensive process of harvesting and processing. The outer shell contains a toxic resin that must be carefully removed, making the extraction of the edible nut a meticulous and time-consuming task.

What is the difference between cashew and Kaju?

There is no difference between cashew and kaju; they refer to the same nut. "Cashew" is the English term, while "kaju" is the word used in many Indian languages.

Which colour cashew is best?

The colour of cashews can vary, but the best quality cashews are generally pale ivory or light yellow. Avoid cashews that appear discoloured or have dark spots, as these may indicate a decrease in quality.

What is Kaju called in English?

"Kaju" is the English term for the nut commonly known as cashew.

What is the real colour of cashews?

The natural colour of cashews is pale ivory or light yellow. Processing methods may slightly alter their colour, but be cautious of any significant deviation from this hue.

Is cashews good for health?

Yes, cashews are a nutritious snack. They contain healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to heart health, bone health, and overall well-being. However, moderation is key due to their calorie content.

How many cashews to eat per day?

Consuming a small handful or around 10-20g of cashews per day is a generally recommended portion for a healthy diet.

Are cashews good for diabetes?

Cashews can be part of a diabetes-friendly diet when eaten in moderation. They have a lower glycemic index compared to some other nuts and provide healthy fats and fibre.

Is cashew nuts good for diabetes?

Yes, cashew nuts can be included in a diabetes-friendly diet in moderate amounts due to their nutritional benefits and lower glycemic index.

Can you eat cashew fruit?

Yes, the cashew fruit is edible. It is often consumed in tropical regions, and its juice can be used in beverages. However, the nut is the more commonly consumed part globally.

Can dogs eat cashew nuts?

Yes, dogs can eat cashew nuts in moderation, but it's crucial to avoid salted or flavoured varieties. Raw, unsalted cashews are the safest option.

Can dogs eat cashew nuts?

Dogs can eat cashew nuts in moderation, but it's essential to feed them plain, unsalted cashews. Too many can lead to digestive issues due to their high-fat content.

Can dogs eat cashews?

Yes, dogs can eat cashews in moderation, but it's crucial to provide them with plain, unsalted cashews. Always consult with a veterinarian before introducing new foods to your pet's diet.

How many calories are in 1 cashew nut?

One cashew nut typically contains around 8 calories. However, the calorie count may vary slightly based on the size of the nut.

Is cashew good for cholesterol?

Cashews contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which may help lower bad cholesterol levels. However, they are calorie-dense, so moderation is key to maintaining overall health.

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