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The Nutrition of Cashew Nuts

Fitday Editor
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The delicate flavor of cashew nuts makes it a popular snack and a culinary delight. But the value of cashews exceeds far beyond its great taste. Cashews are nutritiously dense with a variety of essential fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals which can bring you a number of health benefits. Including cashews as a part of your healthy diet can enhance your body's function and performance and reduce your risks for debilitating diseases.

Good Fats for Heart Health

Cashews have a rich supply of oleic acid (OA). This essential fatty acid actively inhibits the transport of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Studies have shown that increased OA intake reduces your blood triglyceride and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). It also elevates your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) concentration. This combined action significantly improves your blood lipid profile and lowers your risks of plaque formation and heart disease.

Cashews are also rich in linolenic acid (LA). LA can effectively lower your blood pressure. This omega-6 fatty acid also has antioxidant properties which defend your blood vessels from free radicals. Increased intake of LA can strengthen your blood vessels, making them more resilient and less susceptible to blockages and lesions.

Magnesium for Muscle and Nerve Response

The other nutrient that makes cashew a remedy for high blood pressure is magnesium. Magnesium is involved in nerve conduction and muscle relaxation. It cooperates with calcium to allow muscles that line your blood vessels to relax, enabling vasodilation (dilation of blood vessels) and lowers your blood pressure.

You also need magnesium to conduct nerve impulses from your muscles to your brain. Inadequate intake of magnesium causes your muscles to stay in contraction which can result in painful cramps, muscle spasm and lesions. Eating cashews after strenuous exercises or during menstrual periods can effectively help you relieve pain and promote faster recovery.

Vitamin K for Bone Health and Cancer Protection

Cashews are an excellent source of vitamin K. This vitamin is indispensable to maintaining healthy bones. Vitamin K allows your bones to calcify and bond together. Without enough of this vitamin, you can lose your bone mass and develop diseases like osteoporosis and skeletal deformation.

Vitamin K also has tumor suppression abilities. Studies have shown that increased intake of vitamin K lowers the occurrence of prostate cancer in men. Studies have also shown that vitamin K is effective in both prevention and treatment of cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Copper for Healthy Liver and Brain

Cashews are one of the best sources for dietary copper. You need this mineral to breakdown the fat in your food. Inadequate copper intake can raise your blood triglyceride and increase your risk of fatty liver and heart disease.

You also need copper for proper brain function. Copper is involved in the production and secretion of melanin and dopamine. Without enough copper, you can develop severe sun burn, chronic fatigue syndromes, depression and other neurological disorders.

Zinc to Fight Infection

The high zinc concentration in cashews gives these nuts powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. There is strong proof that increased zinc prevents microbial colonization, and it is especially active against gram positive bacteria and protects you from food poisoning and gastroenteritis. Having cashews in our diet improves your natural immunities against microbial infections.

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