Dr Funke Oshifuye
The history of cashew trees,could be traced to Brazil’s Amazon rain forest but spread all over the world by Portuguese explorers. Cashews are calorie – dense foods, loaded with healthy fats that help reduces risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
They are packed with protein, dietary fibers and a rich supply of essential minerals and vitamins that contribute to overall health. 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 from diseases and cancers.
They are rich in “heart-friendly” monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic and palmitoleic acids that help to lower or bad LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol.
Cashew nuts are very rich source of minerals. Minerals especially manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium are concentrated in the nuts. A handful of cashew nuts a day in the diet would provide enough of these minerals and prevent deficiency diseases.
Selenium is an important micronutrient, which functions as co-factor for antioxidant enzymes such as Glutathione peroxidases, one of the most powerful antioxidant in the body. Copper is 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).
Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis.
Cashews are also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin, and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that our body requires them from external sources to replenish and essential for metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates at cellular levels.
In addition, the nuts are also containing small amount of Zea-xanthin, an important flavonoid antioxidant, which selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes. It is thought to provide antioxidant and protective UV ray filtering functions and helps prevent age related macular degeneration (ARMD) in the elderly.
However, the health benefits of cashews do not stop with beating depression rather its health benefits maybe even surprising, so when you eat raw cashews know that you are doing something very positive for your body and mind.
Perhaps one of the main health benefits of cashews is their ability to overcome depression. The role of nuts is very important, sometimes being regarded as a meat substitute.
Cashews are often used in raw food recipes. Their mild sweetness and smooth texture add flavour and body to many raw food dishes. Have you ever hear that the shape of fruits and vegetables gives a clue as to what it is good for? Well, the little cashew nut is shaped like a “smile.” Yes, cashew nuts are good for depression, for helping to boost your moods and stabilise your thoughts.
A large handful of these tasty nuts provides one to two thousand milligrams of the important amino acid tryptophan which works just as good, if not better, than antidepressants, specifically prozac. It is the tryptophan that produces the feelings of mellowness.
Actually food, not drugs, will feed your body going to the root cause of your problem, rather then just temporarily removing the symptoms. The “side-effects” of this natural “Prozac,” rather than harmful, are more health benefits.
Only a single ounce of raw, unsalted cashews showcases an impressive array of raw minerals, ready to nourish the cells of your body. These minerals are potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, sodium, manganese, zinc, copper and selenium.
Cashews are also rich in folate and vitamin K. This array of minerals offers far superior and genuine health benefits that far exceed conventional drug therapy. It is no wonder that the cashews nut is shaped like smile.
Studies have shown that eating cashew nuts, may be one of the reasons that raw food and weight loss are linked. A study have shown that individuals who consumed nuts of any type on a regular basis were actually at a reduced risk of weight gain.
Like coconut oil and nuts in general, cashews are no exception, they are high in fat — very good fat. The fat content of nuts, including cashews, helps to satisfy your hunger and fills you up while helping to keep the weight off.
The fat found in cashew can also help reduce triglyceride levels in diabetics. Diabetics are not the only ones who may benefit from eating cashews and other nuts. A study linking nuts to a lower risk of coronary heart disease showed that the more nuts consumed, the better the chance of reduced heart disease.