Cashew nuts are a hugely nutritious and delicious food used in many different ways around the world.
Cashews are referred to as nuts but are actually edible seeds. They have an off white colour and a distinctive kidney-shape. They are eaten as a snack (plain or flavoured), used in cooking, or made into products like cashew butter, cashew milk or cooking oil.
How Cashews Grow
The cashew tree grows in tropical climates like Brazil, Vietnam, India and Côte d’Ivoire. Not only does it produce the cashew nut but it also produces a fruit known as the cashew apple. Producers need to decide whether they want to harvest the apple of the nut as by the time the fruit is ripe the nut is past its best. The cashew apples are either bright red or have a golden yellow colour. They can be eaten fresh but are usually made into juice or used in alcohol production.
Cashews grow attached the fruit inside a hard shell. They once harvested they are either roasted or steamed to make selling easier. They are never sold raw in the shell because the shells contain a toxic oil that irritated your skin.
- Curry – Cashews are used in many different curry recipes. They can be blended into the sauce to add flavour and to thicken it or used whole. A popular curry made with cashews is the chicken korma, this mild curry is a British favourite,
- Smoothies – Blended cashew nuts give smoothies a creamy quality, it’s also a great way to sneak extra nutrients into your diet.
- Salad – Top salads with whole or chopped cashews fox extra texture.
- Stir fry – Cashews are used in both Chinese and Thai stir-fries and are great served with noodles or rice.
- Granola – They are also a popular ingredient in granola. Perfect for breakfast with milk or yogurt.
Cashew Nutritional Information
Cashews are low in fibre and high in carbohydrates but they contain valuable vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. There are about 553 calories per 100g of cashew nuts.
They are a great source of vitamin E, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B-6, as well as essential minerals like copper, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, iron, and selenium. They also have an okay amount of protein.
Potassium, vitamins E and B-6, and folic acid help in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, protecting your heard form developing heart disease and keeping it healthy.
Copper and iron also help your body to produce red blood cells keeping blood vessels, nerves, bones, and the immune system working correctly.
Cashews have a high fat content but it is considered to be good for you! Some studies have shown that the fat in cashew nuts can reduce your risk of developing heart disease and reduce the risk of stroke. It may also help sustain hunger for longer, which can help manage weight.
They also contain high levels of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are important in maintaining eye health, preventing blindness in later life and even prevent your body from developing cataracts.
Unless you are allergic to cashews they can be enjoyed by everyone. They are a great addition to a healthy diet because they are packed with many health benefitting qualities. They are also perfectly safe to eat while you are pregnant.