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Benefits of Cashewnuts

Most of us as kids, have been constantly forced to have nuts with the assurances of growing up stronger and faster. From almonds to pistachios, assortment of nuts were stuffed into our mouth, with the belief that it would make us as strong as Superman. Although, all of these nuts were thrust into our hands and mouth, it was definitely not necessary that we enjoyed them all. Most of us had a special favorite and for majority of us it was none other than Cashewnuts. From its rich milky taste to its super crunchy outer texture when roasted, Cashewnuts were a different kind of haven of the childhoods. And not only then, even now do they continue to be our favorite dessert toppings and in some case, our favorite dessert itself in the forms of Kaju Katli and Kaju Barfis. Although it is an established fact, that a lot of people are huge fans of this nut, are we aware of all the nutrients that this nut fills our bodies with? Let's glance through some of the superb qualities that makes Cashewnuts the Supernut among all the nuts.

Cashewnuts belong to the Anacardiaceae family and have the scientific name Anacardium occidentale. The plant is native to Brazil from where it was then exported to the various parts of the world, which is how it travelled to the Indian subcontinent. Cashewnuts are made up of a pear shaped edible fruit at the top with the seed hanging at the bottom like a bell. The fruit belongs to the drupe family as each fruit has a single seed located at the center. Cashew shell consists of a toxin. It is phenolic resin, urushiol. Urushiol is a caustic skin irritant toxin and hence it is necessary to be eliminated. In the Cashew manufacturing plants, the whole cashew is treated under the high flame to destroy urushiol resin. Thus roasted cashew becomes safe to handle with bare hands by workers.

Cashewnuts are rich in Proanthocyanidins. These are basically a compound belonging to the class of flavanols. They help to stop the division of cells which may later give rise to any form of cancerous growth. Another advantage of eating cashew nuts, is the surety of a healthy heart. This is because they are cholesterol free and full of antioxidants. Also, they are abundant in Oleic acid, which is again a plus point for the heart. Cashew nuts also help to lower the LDL and increase the HDL levels which further strengthens the heart. Cashew nuts also reduce the risk of gallstone formation. They also help to relax the body in menopausal women. The high iron content resolves the free radicals that are produced in the body and further help in the blood purification process. A severe effect of Sun's Ultraviolet rays is muscular degeneration. Cashew nuts help to nullify the effects of the UV rays in turn providing protection from the muscle degeneration.

The amount of magnesium present in Cashew nuts has a variety of benefits. Magnesium helps produce strong bones and teeth as it helps the body to absorb calcium. Magnesium also makes the teeth and gums strong. The high magnesium content also helps to strengthen the hair and skin. Cashew nuts also help to reduce the chances of stretch marks in pregnant women. Insufficient magnesium levels can result in blocking of calcium at the nerves resulting in migraine, blood pressure and headache. Cashews contains a powerful antioxidant known as Zea-Xanthin. This is a compound which helps to protect the retina from UV rays of the sun by forming a layer. Cashew nuts oil has Selenium in abundance too which is the best component for protection from cancer of a number of types. It is responsible for providing smooth strong skin as well as protection from skin cancer.

Although a lot of people consume nuts with the intention of weight loss, it is a fact that most nuts result in weight gain. However, this isn't the case for Cashew nuts. Also, Cashew nuts are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids. This helps to boost the metabolism of the body and helps to burn fats faster. They also help you to feel sated for a longer time and thus are an ideal snack for people on diet when eaten raw without being salted or caramelized. Cashew oil also helps to strengthen the hair scalp. Cashew nuts extracts have Vitamin K which is quite rarely found in food substances. This vitamin helps to fight cirrhosis and liver cancer. It also helps to prevents osteoporosis and resolve skeletal deformity issues. Vitamin K also plays a crucial role in fighting prostate cancer in men. Cashew nuts also help to prevent infection and protect from hemorrhages. Cashew nuts also have a Vitamin B component called Niacin, which offers protection against Pellagra and Dermatitis.

The presence of monosaturated fats helps to protect against Diabetes by reducing the Triglycerides content. It is even more helpful for people suffering from Type-2 diabetes. Cashew nut oil is also used to produce antioxidants, insecticides like fungicides, medicine for anti-termite treatment of timber, etc. Selenium and copper are necessitated for many enzymes like Glutathione peroxidases, cytochrome c-oxidase, superoxide dismutase and etc.
Zinc is also important for many enzymes which handle the building and development, digestion, nucleic acid synthesis, sperm generation and etc. Gram positive bacteria which is responsible for Leprosy and Tuberculosis can also be defeated with Cashew nuts. The nuts also induce dopamine in the body which helps calm down the nerves and maintain mental stability. Tyrosinase is a compound which produces melanin that further protects the skin protection.

Cashew nut oil has further abundance of Vitamin E which reverses the ageing effect on the skin. It is one of the major oils in the aromatherapy of ayurveda and homeopathy. Thus, this simple nut has a variety of uses and is practically an all rounder in health as well as aesthetic development of one's body. Imbibing it in one's daily diet will ensure exponential improvement in the health as well as lifestyle.

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