Cashews are incredibly nutritious nuts filled with protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for optimal functioning of all systems in the body. Cashews are also versatile — eat them as a snack, add them to a salad or stir-fry, or spread cashew butter on a sandwich — but any way you eat them, you’ll benefit. Keep reading to find out how cashews can boost your health.
Improve Heart Health
Cashews have a lower fat content than other nuts, but the fact that it does have is the heart-healthy kind — monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These types of fats benefit the heart by helping to reduce total cholesterol levels and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels while raising ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. One such monounsaturated fatty acid present in cashews, called oleic acid, is known to have heart-protecting properties. Also, cashews contain magnesium, which helps to regulate blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency can lead to high blood pressure and muscle spasms — including spasms to the heart muscle. Furthermore, the high antioxidant content help to protect the heart and prevent cardiovascular and coronary heart disease
Maintain Strong and Healthy Bones, Muscles, and Nerves
Cashews are an excellent source of magnesium, an essential mineral vital for bone, tissue, and nerve health. About two-thirds of the magnesium in the human body is stored in the bones. Clearly, it is an essential mineral in the physical structure of the bones. In addition, magnesium helps to balance calcium levels. It prevents too much calcium from entering the nerve cells and activating nerves. This makes for calmer, more relaxed muscles. That’s why too little magnesium can result in uncomfortable and painful muscle spasms.
Reduce the Risk of Diabetes
Cashews are a low glycemic index food, and they contain very little sugar and cholesterol, making them a perfect snack for people with diabetes. Not only that, but studies show that cashews can actually help to regulate blood sugar levels, lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Research shows that tree nuts — like cashews — can help to prevent and fight against cancer cells due to their rich nutrition profiles. Cashews contain phytonutrients which act as antioxidants, defending the body against harmful free radicals which can cause damage to healthy cell DNA and lead to cancer. Cashews have been shown especially effective against colon cancer.
Improve Oral Health
Cashews are a good source of phosphorus; an essential mineral found most abundant in bones and teeth. Phosphorus and calcium work together to provide structure and strength. Research shows that the nutrients and chemicals found in cashews can kill bacteria and other things in the mouth which lead to tooth decay. The minerals in cashews help to keep gums and teeth healthy and strong.
Boost Brain Health
Cashews are full of healthy fats which help to support brain function and improve memory and cognition. They’re also packed with minerals — iron, zinc, and copper — which have important roles in brain function; they regular neurotransmitter pathways and synaptic transmission, improving problem-solving and memory retrieval. Furthermore, the antioxidants and healthy fats in cashews protect the brain against neurodegenerative diseases, like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Reduce the Risk of Anemia
Anemia is a condition in which there are not enough healthy red blood cells in the body. Red blood cells (hemoglobin) play a significant role; they are responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to all of the other tissues and organs throughout the body. Iron is an essential mineral crucial to blood production — about 70 percent of the iron in the human body is stored in the hemoglobin. Iron deficiency is one of the major causes of anemia, which presents itself in symptoms of fatigue, weakness, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, and more. The best way to avoid becoming anemic is to eat foods that are good sources of iron, like nuts. A one-ounce serving of cashews contains 1.9 milligrams (mg) of iron, which is 10 percent of your recommended daily intake.
Might Help to Prevent Headaches
If you suffer from tension headaches, cluster headaches, migraines, or anything of the sort, you may want to consider increasing your magnesium intake. Research shows that magnesium supplementation in people with chronic headache or migraine conditions significantly reduces incidence and severity of headaches. And while these studies point to regular magnesium supplements for results, it certainly can’t hurt to increase your intake of high-magnesium foods. A one-ounce serving of cashews contains 81.8 mg of magnesium, for 20 percent of your recommended daily intake.
Improve Vision and Eye Health
Cashews contain quite a few very important antioxidants for eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two of the eye-protecting plant compounds and antioxidants in cashews shown to protect the eyes from light damage and eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Enhance Skin and Hair Health
Cashews contain an array of oils, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which are all incredibly beneficial to skin health. They help to: keep it smooth and supple, protect it from light damage, boost skin health, and prevent skin cancer. The healthy fats and vitamin E in cashews reduce inflammation and hydrate the skin. The selenium and zinc fight skin conditions like acne, and keep the skin smooth. Your hair will also benefit from the nutrients in cashews because they provide a healthy serving of copper, a mineral which stimulates the production of melanin — pigments which give hair its color, texture, and shine.Next time you’re wondering what to add to your bag of trail mix, you may want to consider this delicious and nutritious nut!