Packed with antioxidants and other important nutrients including copper and magnesium, cashews are among the healthiest foods in existence, not to mention very tasty. This November 23rd is National Cashew Day, so let’s take a look at the health benefits of cashews.
Improve Heart Health
Cashews are lower in fat than most other nuts, and the fat they do contain is largely monounsaturated fat that is good for your heart. Studies have shown that cashews can actually lower triglyceride levels in your blood. This is important since triglycerides when in high levels, are associated with heart disease.
Other studies show that the antioxidant levels in cashews can dramatically reduce the risk of coronary disease when eaten at least four times per week. If you’re looking after improving your heart health, try eating a handful of cashews or a tablespoon of cashew nut butter four times each week.
For most adults, you need about 900 micrograms (0.9 mg) of copper each day. A quarter cup of cashews each day will give you almost that amount (880 micrograms), making it an excellent source of this antioxidant. In addition to helping your body use iron and develop bone, copper can also decrease free radicals and help prevent certain cancers, particularly colon cancer.
Copper is also necessary to help prevent iron deficiency, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and irregular heartbeat.
Great for Your Bones
Along with its copper content, the magnesium levels present in cashews are also beneficial for your bones. It balances out calcium, which is important for your nerves and muscles. Without magnesium, calcium can creep up into nerve cells and activate them, resulting in muscle spasms, high blood pressure, migraines, tension, soreness, and even asthma. The magnesium found in cashews blocks calcium from doing this and keeps it in its place.
One study showed that eating at least an ounce of nuts daily, including cashews, can dramatically decrease the risk of developing gallstones. A couple tablespoons of cashew butter or a handful of nuts should be sufficient.
Cashews make a great part of stir-fries, trail mixes, and hot cereal toppings, but they are also easy to enjoy on their own. Cashew butter is also available in some places, making it a great addition to sandwiches and sauces. About an ounce and a half (roughly a quarter cup) of cashews each day will give you all the copper you need as well as significant amounts of magnesium, manganese, zinc, and phosphorous. Looking to spice up some tasty healthsmart treats? Don’t hesitate to help yourself to some cashews!