Cashews

Jul
2012
03

posted by

Cashews are feel-good, nutritious and energy packed nuts, currently being touted as a natural alternative to Prozac. Eat a handful today.
About – Cashews are produced by the cashew tree, which is native to northern South America, but now widely grown in tropical countries. The small evergreen tree grows to about twelve meters tall, with a short, irregularly shaped trunk. Often thought of as a nut, the cashew is actually a kidney shaped seed, and technically a drupe, that grow from the bottom of the cashew apple. It is called an accessory fruit of the cashew apple, which is known as “marañón”, which grows 6-10 cm long and is very sweet, but because of its fragile skin is unsuitable for transport. The cashew nut develops first on the tree, and then the pedicel expands to become the cashew apple; the cashew nut is the single seed of that fruit.  The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing a phenolic resin, which is a potent skin irritant. Because of this irritant in the past almost all cashews, which are difficult to open, have been commercially opened with heat. Recently a new process has been developed to open the cashew shell without heat.
Cashews are high in protein, mono unsaturated fats and fiber, and so they are very filling.  Studies show that people who eat nuts regularly are less likely to gain weight and be thinner than those who do not. This could be because they are so filling and reduce overall calorie consumption; however they should be eaten in moderation because they are energy dense and also high in calories.

Nutrition – The mild, sweet and crunchy cashew is energy packed with protein, antioxidants, minerals and healthy fats. They have a lower fat content than most other nuts with 75% of this fat being unsaturated fatty acids, which is mostly oleic acid, the heart healthy oil also found in olive oil. They also contain 5 grams of protein per ounce and have high levels of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron and manganese. 5 ounces of raw cashews provide 100 percent of daily requirement of magnesium. Insufficient magnesium leads to higher blood pressure, muscle tension, migraine headaches, soreness and fatigue. Not surprisingly, studies have demonstrated that magnesium helps diminish the frequency of migraine attacks, lowers blood pressure and helps prevent heart attacks. Cashews contain proanthocyanins, a class of flavanols that actually starve tumors and stop cancer cells from dividing. Studies have also shown that cashews can reduce your colon cancer risk. Cashews are currently being claimed by many sources to act as a natural form of Prozac. It is said and seems to be true that a handful of cashews a day will take and blues away.

Raw Cashews available at Upaya. The raw aged cashew cheese is delicious!

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