By Jackie Hiester
Although the cashew nut is actually a seed, it is served as a snack like other nuts. Also used in recipes, the cashew provides energy, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals essential for health. The nut contains 5 g of protein which supplies us with the everyday energy we need. Providing heart-friendly monounsaturated fatty acids, the cashew helps lower harmful cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol. The nut can help protect the body from diseases and cancers due to its high amount of dietary fiber and numberous-health promoting phyto-chemicals.
Cashews provide the body with important minerals such as potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Fun fact: It is said that a handful of nuts a day in the diet would provide enough of these minerals that may prevent deficiency diseases. The American Cancer Society provides us with information reguarding these minerals in relation to cancer. Low levels of potassium in the body may be linked to cancer, and in a number of countries where there are high-potassium diets, cancer rates are lower. According to the National Institutes of Health, selenium is a promising nutrient that may play a role in the prevention of cancer. The mineral helps prevent the development and progression by causing cancer cells to die before they have a chance to grow and spread. The abundane of vitamins and minerals in cashews help avoid poor nutrition that causes fatigue in people with cancer.
Cashew nuts are available year round. They can be purchased raw, salted, sweetened, or candied. The healthiest option is to buy cashews with a bright cream-white shell. They should be compact, heavy in hand, and uniform in size. The shells should be crack free, spot free, mold free, and of course free of any rancid smell. Once taken home, they should be stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge. These fresh nuts should last up to 5-6 months.
The cashew nut is a very popular ingredient and sweet and savory dishes worldwide. They provide a crunchy, buttery texture with a sweet, fruity aroma. Cashews are popularly enjoyed as a snack (saltened or sweetened). They are also popular in desserts and rice and curry dishes. You can check out Cook For Your Life’s recipes to include cashews in your diet: Broccoli Cashew Stir Fry, Mango Coconut Chia Pudding, Pineapple Fried Rice, and Coconut Granola.
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