Did you know that Cashew Nuts grow on the outside of the cashew apple? Cashews are crescent-shaped nuts that grow on trees and are native to Brazil. They require a hot and humid climate to thrive. Cashew trees don’t start to bear nuts for three to five years. After that they need another 8 to 10 weeks to develop them to full maturity. The nuts are hidden inside an external coating, also called cashew apples. Don’t get fooled by this name, it is not fruit, and it’s mainly used for such things as brake linings, varnish, and insecticides. It’s also important to remember that the outer layer is toxic.
Similar to all nuts, cashews are high in calories but they are rich in minerals, vitamins, healthy fats and several health-promoting phyto-chemicals that can provide protection from some diseases and cancers. There are 553 calories in 100 grams (3.5 oz) of cashews. When compared to several other nuts like walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and peanuts, cashews are actually lower in calories and fat but higher in carbohydrates. *Minerals, especially manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium are concentrated in cashews. A small handful of cashews or other nuts in your daily diet would provide enough of these minerals and may help prevent deficiency diseases. *Source: Nutrition And You
For a detailed comparison of the nutritional value of various nuts, see article Nutritional Comparison of Nuts.
Cashews are packed with “heart-friendly” monounsaturated-fatty acids like oleic, and palmitoleic acids. They help lower harmful LDL-cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol in the blood. It’s been shown in research that the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids lowers the risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Nutritional Values of Cashew Nuts (click on image to enlarge).