Cashews Are Owed an Apology

Cashews often have a reputation for being unhealthy. Almonds and walnuts are praised for being sources of healthy fats, protein, fiber and nutrients. Cashews are blamed for weight gain. But, just like other nuts, cashews are powerhouses of nutrition.

Cashews are filled with protein and healthy fat. You have to pay attention to portion size while enjoying them, like all nuts. They are a good source of antioxidants that aid immunity. Raw or dry roasted cashews without added salt and fat are best.

Walnuts and almonds get a lot of attention for how they aid brain health. But cashews may be even better. They contain all the healthy fats along with additional bioactive compounds and antioxidants that can boost the health of neurotransmitters and prevent cognitive decline. While they are high in calories, they are a low GI food high in fiber and can aid blood sugar.

They are often accused of raising cholesterol because they are high in fat and calories. Cashews are cholesterol-free. Cholesterol is only found in animal products. Some studies have found that cashews can lower cholesterol in people with blood sugar concerns. One study found that people with blood sugar concerns who got 10 percent of their daily calories from cashews had lower LDL cholesterol and higher HDL cholesterol than those who ate none. Other studies have linked cashews to lower blood pressure and triglycerides. The results only appear to be seen if the cashews replace unhealthy snacks, not if they are simply added to an existing diet. They don’t appear to cancel out unhealthy food.

As well as containing B vitamins, vitamin E, copper, magnesium, zinc and more, they can help you get other nutrients from your food. Some nutrients are fat-soluble. That means they can’t be absorbed without fat in your system. The healthy fats in cashews help the body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K.  

While almonds and walnuts have been praised, cashews have been called a high-fat snack. But, with their many benefits, you shouldn’t write them off! All nuts are filled with healthy fats. Some have more calories than others. But they also have different benefits to offer! You should consider your dietary needs and tastes. Cashews are delicious, and you shouldn’t avoid them in an effort to be healthy when they have so much to offer!

Banner image: Jocelyn Morales via Unsplash

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