Nutfruit Magazine

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26 November, 2021 Country Product Spotlight

Health Benefits of Cashews

Health Benefits of Cashews

Cashews are one the most beloved nuts around the world. Known for their creamy and tasty attributes, they also come with a wide range of health benefits that consumers should know about!

Cashews are high in iron, which contributes to a healthy immune system[1]. Moreover, this delicious nut is high in vitamin K, which may contribute to normal blood clotting and healthy bones[1-3]. Cashews are also high in minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, and copper; while they are a source of fiber, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and minerals like potassium and selenium[1-3].

Nutrition Research

The research on cashews continues to grow, and as more and more studies analyze their potential benefits, consumers are given further reason to include them in their diet. Apart from the list of minerals and nutrients listed above, in recent years the potential benefits of cashews have been studied in areas like weight management, heart health, diabetes, and antioxidants.

Weight Loss and Management

The confusion surrounding nuts and weight is often a reason why individuals decide not to include them in their diets. However, a 2017 study[4] published in the journal Nutrients found that individuals who consume nuts (cashews included) did not experience weight gain, and actually the incorporation of nuts into the diet may aid in the control of hunger and appetite.

When looking at cashews and their impact on weight, Nutrients published a study[5] in 2019 that used eighteen healthy individuals in a controlled diet intervention to analyze how bodies absorb energy from cashews. The participants were fed a controlled-based diet for 4 weeks with no additions or with the addition of 42 grams/day of cashews. Once the trial was completed, researchers noted that the mean value of calories ingested from the cashews was 16% lower than what is found on food labels. In other words, not all of the cashew’s calories are absorbed into the body, as some of the fat remains sealed off by the product's fiber. This study was funded by the Global Cashew Council.

Healthy Heart

Heart disease is one of the world’s most common diseases and cashews may provide a defense against it. Cholesterol is defined by LDL, the bad cholesterol that leads to a buildup in arteries, and HDL, the type that may protect the heart. A 2017 study[6] in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at how cashew consumption affected the LDL-cholesterol in individuals. Participants consumed a typical American diet with one group consuming 28-64 grams/day of cashews and the control group consuming potato chips. It was found that those including cashews in their daily diet saw a decrease of bad LDL cholesterol.

A separate study[7] in The Journal of Nutrition from 2018 found that with a group of Asian Indians, after a 12-week intervention, cashew consumption was associated with higher levels of HDL cholesterol which is classified as the good type of cholesterol.

Apart from cholesterol, another important aspect of heart health is blood pressure and levels of triglycerides, which are a type of fat in the blood that when elevated can increase risk for cardiovascular disease. A 2019 study[8] in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition examined the role of cashew consumption on these parameters. The results showed that cashew intake was linked to lower blood pressure, and also lower levels of triglycerides.

Additional Health Benefits of Cashews

As mentioned previously in this article, cashews can also have beneficial effects for those managing diabetes. In individuals with diabetes, the importance of managing blood sugar levels cannot be understated. Conclusions from a 2019 study[9] in the International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism suggested that including cashews in your diet can lower insulin levels, which helps with blood sugar management. Through a controlled feeding study, researchers saw that those with type 2 diabetes who consumed 10% of their daily calories from cashews saw lower levels of insulin.

Antioxidants are helpful in protecting the body’s cells, protecting from disease, and lowering inflammation overall. A 2011 study[10] in Nutrition Research Reviews found that cashews contain polyphenols and carotenoids which are two types of antioxidants that may help improve blood pressure levels and reduce inflammation, among other benefits. So, as you can see, not only are cashews a delicious nut that can be enjoyed as a snack, in sweet or savory, or other ways, but it also gives plenty of potential health benefits!

1. Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health.
2. Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods.
3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release April, 2018.
4. De Souza, R. G. M., Schincaglia, R. M., Pimentel, G. D., & Mota, J. F. (2017). Nuts and human health outcomes: a systematic review. Nutrients, 9(12), 1311.
5. Baer, D., & Novotny, J. (2019). Metabolizable Energy from Cashew Nuts is Less than that Predicted by Atwater Factors. Nutrients, 11(1), 33.
6. Mah, E., A Schulz, J., N Kaden, V., L Lawless, L., Rotor, J., B Mantilla, L., J Lisk. D. (2017). Cashew consumption reduces total and LDL cholesterol: a randomized, crossover, controlled-feeding trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
7. Mohan, V., Gayathri, R., Jaacks, L. M., Lakshmipriya, N., Anjana, R. M., Spiegelman, D., ... & Gopinath, V. (2018). Cashew Nut Consumption Increases HDL Cholesterol and Reduces Systolic Blood Pressure in Asian Indians with Type 2 Diabetes: A 12-Week Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of Nutrition, 148(1), 63-69.
8. Mahboobi, S. (2019). The effect of cashew nut on cardiovascular risk factors and blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis (P06-117-19). Current developments in nutrition, 3(Supplement_1), nzz031-P06.
9. Damavandi, R. D., Mousavi, S. N., Shidfar, F., Mohammadi, V., Rajab, A., Hosseini, S., & Heshmati, J. (2019). Effects of daily consumption of cashews on oxidative stress and atherogenic indices in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled feeding trial. International journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 17(1).
10. Bolling, B. W., Chen, C. Y. O., McKay, D. L., & Blumberg, J. B. (2011). Tree nut phytochemicals: composition, antioxidant capacity, bioactivity, impact factors. A systematic review of almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. Nutrition research reviews, 24(2), 244-275.
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