Cashew nuts are a snack of great popularity among active and health-conscious people. Few actually know that tasty cashew nut is a seed of a tropical tree called cashew which is a close relative of the better-known mango and pistachio. You should also know that the benefits of regular consumption of these nuts go well beyond good taste!
Cashew tree comes from the coastal areas of Brazil, which has been introduced by Portuguese explorers to other tropical areas of South America, India and some African countries in the sixteenth century. Initially, cashew was valued above all because of the precious wood. Culinary qualities of its nuts started to be appreciated only in the twentieth century. Today, the main tycoons involved in cashew nuts trading are India, Brazil, Mozambique, Tanzania and Nigeria.
How to choose and store cashews?
Markets offer you two options: you can buy loose or packed cashew nuts. When buying loose nuts, you should primarily pay attention to their scent: it can't be rancid, and the color: it is important that the nuts are devoid of discoloration and spots. It is worth observing whether the market you do your shopping at has a relatively large turnover. Then you can be more confident that you will get a fresh product, and not one that has been put on the shelves months ago. Once purchased, it's best to store nuts in a refrigerator in an airtight container (up to 6 months), they can also be frozen (up to 1 year).
The benefits of eating cashew nuts
Cashews, like other nuts, contain large amounts of fat. However, they should not be considered unhealthy, fattening or non-dietary because of this fact. A large part of fat contained in the cashew belongs to the group of unsaturated fatty acids. Oleic acid, which is also present in olive oil, has a beneficial effect on cardiovascular condition even for people with diabetes. The researchers also point out that pro-health impact of cashew nuts on the functioning of your heart and circulation system is due to the wealth of anti-oxidant compounds. Experts recommend eating a handful of cashew nuts (or any other) at least 4 times a week, which will help to reduce the risk of diseases, such as, for example: ischemic heart disease or coronary artery disease.
Cashew nuts are also a source of copper - a mineral the deficiency of which can have serious health consequences, including anemia, bursting blood vessels, osteoporosis, elevated level of bad cholesterol (LDL), arrhythmia, increased susceptibility to infection. Regular consumption of cashews prevents from copper deficiency.
Cashew nuts are also a source of magnesium - an element which plays an important role in the calcium management, which in turn regulates proper muscle tension, influences mental condition. Nowadays it is fashionable to use magnesium supplements whereas a far better option is to include cashew nuts (and other nuts and seeds) in your diet.
Tips for eating cashews
First of all, of much higher nutritional value will be those nuts that do not undergo additional culinary or technological treatment. Thus, it is better to cut down on roasted, salted or coated options. Cashews are perfect as a snack on their own, added to salads, meat dishes, morning porridge or homemade muesli.
Cashew nuts are a valuable part of the menu. They are not only tasty, but also nutritious and satiating. They have beneficial influence on your health thanks to the content of valuable nutrients. The only drawback is their price. In the past two years the price of these nuts has almost doubled.