The nutritional benefits of foods from the plant kingdom come from different species, from vegetables, vegetables, fruits and nuts . One of these foods belongs to the group of nuts, with many benefits for human health, such as cashews. 

In this article, we will provide you with information about what cashew is and what benefits it brings to people’s health.

What is cashew?

The cashew nut is a dry fruit with a hard shell and a kidney shape , which comes from the cashew tree ( Anacardium occidentale ), whose origin is located in the northeast of Brazil and is known in other latitudes as cashew, cashew chestnut or cashew nut between other names. (1)

Note : This fruit spread to many other regions of the world such as India, Ivory Coast, West Africa and Vietnam thanks to the Portuguese colonizers. 

It should be noted that the cashew nut consists of a seed that serves as food in the form of snacks and due to its nutritional value and chemical components, many health benefits have been granted .

What are the health benefits of cashew nuts?

Thanks to its nutritional properties, the cashew nut provides the following benefits for people’s health:

1. Reduces the risk of heart disease

The cashew fruit, especially its seeds, contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids comparable to olive oil that balance cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, aiding in the prevention of heart disease.

In addition, this dried fruit has phytosterols , tocopherols and squalene , chemical compounds with antioxidant properties that potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular system pathologies. (two)

To highlight: The cashew pulp contains a lot of vitamin C, a vitamin that is involved in the regulation of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

2. Enhances the functioning of the immune system

The consumption of cashew nuts provides some B vitamins and minerals such as zinc , copper, phosphorus and selenium, some with antioxidant properties and others participate in metabolic processes that strengthen the immune system. (3)

In addition, the presence of vitamin C in the pulp of this fruit enhances the protective functions of the body.

3. Strengthens bones and muscles

Another aspect of cashews is that it has a great diversity of minerals for vital functions of the whole organism.

In this sense, the presence of calcium , phosphorus and magnesium contribute enormously to the formation, development and hardness of the bone system. Other minerals such as sodium, potassium as well as calcium and magnesium and some B complex vitamins promote the health of smooth and striated muscles.

You should know: It should also be mentioned that cashews are suppliers of essential amino acids, necessary for tissue repair and muscle development.

4. Increases energy and mood 

The polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that cashews have, provide the necessary energy   to the body to keep it in constant activity.

Note: Added to this is vitamin B3 , whose function is to metabolize carbohydrates and fats to convert them into energy . It also has minerals that promote muscle movement such as sodium , copper and potassium . 

5. Increases the quality of sleep

Another of the benefits of cashews is that in their nutritional composition they contain an essential amino acid called tryptophan , related to the health of the Central Nervous System .

In this sense, tryptophan through complex metabolic mechanisms is transformed into serotonin, a neurotransmitter belonging to happiness hormones capable of maintaining a good mood and is also related to restful sleep. (4)

To highlight : Serotonin is converted into N-acetylserotonin, a precursor molecule for melatonin, a hormone that regulates day and night cycles or sleep-wake cycles. (5)

6. Promotes sexual performance

The traditional medicine of Brazil has described that the consumption of cashew nuts can be associated with male sexuality and that is that there must be some reason, since this food is rich in zinc, a mineral that is involved in the production of male sex hormones. .

You should know: Scientific articles describe the usefulness of zinc in the production of male hormones . (6)

What properties does the cashew have?

The health benefits granted by the consumption of cashew nuts come from its chemical and nutritional elements , which we mention below:

1. Vitamins and minerals

The vitamins present in this fruit are:  Vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin) , vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B9 ( folic acid ), vitamin K and traces of vitamin C (in the nut).

Note : This food contains minerals such as calcium, iron , potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper and selenium.

2. Other compounds

Cashews contain carbohydrates, polyunsaturated and saturated fats, fiber, quality vegetable protein, as well as amino acids, including tryptophan. (7)

How is cashew consumed?

Cashew pulp can be eaten fresh, in fruit salads or to make juices or jams , for example. The nut must be toasted before consuming it, since it can be highly toxic and is due to a substance known as urushiol , a type of oil contained in the leaves of the cashew tree.

On the other hand, the already toasted nut can be consumed as a snack or can also be used as an ingredient in different recipes, desserts and in the food industry.

To highlight: The recommended serving of cashews is about 30 grams, which corresponds to about 18-20 seeds.

Key Findings

  • Cashew is a dry fruit with nutritional and therapeutic properties.
  • Cashew prevents heart disease and favors the functioning of the immune system.
  • Cashew increases physical energy and improves sleep quality.
  • The cashew nut should be eaten after roasting to avoid its toxicity.

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