In this brief article we will answer the question,”Are cashews a nut?” We will explain why cashews are technically not nuts. We will also look at the nutritional profile of cashews. We will finally briefly discuss some health benefits of consuming nuts.
Are cashews a nut?
No, cashews are technically not nuts although they tend to be classified so. Cashews are classified as drupes which is a family of fruits that tends to be fleshy on the outside and have a shell which covers the side on the inside.
Why are cashews not nuts?
Ever heard of the phrase “a hard nut to crack” , well this query is not one of them. To better answer this question it is essential to know what a nut is. A nut is botanically defined as a fruit which has a hard and tough shell that protects an edible kernel, some good examples are hazelnuts, chestnuts and acorns.
Cashews do not check that box because they are fleshy on the outside and have a shell that covers the seed on the inside. They are in the same group as cashew, almond, and pistachio which are all drupes.
What is the nutritional content of cashews?
Cashews come loaded with a wide range of essential nutrients. An ounce which is equivalent to 28 grams of cashews which are not roasted and salted can typically provide the below nutrients.
- Calories: 157
- Protein: 5 grams
- Fat: 12 grams
- Carbohydrates: 9 grams
- Dietary Fiber: 1 gram
- Copper: 67% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI)
- Magnesium: 20% of the RDI
- Manganese: 20% of the RDI
- Zinc: 15% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 13% of the RDI
- Iron: 11% of the RDI
- Selenium: 10% of the RDI
- Thiamine: 10% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 8% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 7% of the RDI
What are the health benefits of consuming cashews?
They can prevent blood disease
Regular consumption of cashews can assist in lowering the risk of developing blood diseases. This is because they are packed with the mineral copper which is instrumental in fighting off free radicals from the cells and body.
A deficiency in copper can lead to a further deficiency in iron and conditions such as anemia. It is therefore important to consume a diet that has copper and cashews are a great addition.
They can help protect the eyes
Eyes can be affected by various infections more so in the modern environment that has high levels of pollution. Good thing is cashews have a potent antioxidant pigment which is known as Zea Xanthin.
Zeaxanthin is usually absorbed by the retina where it forms a protective layer over it that helps prevent any harmful Ultraviolet rays. It additionally assists in prevention of macular degeneration which occurs as you age mostly in the elderly and maintains good eye health.
They can help with weight loss
People that consume nuts moderately and on a regular basis can lose weight much faster. Studies have shown that consumption of nuts does not result in a high body weight and actually consistent consumption can lower the Body mass index (BMI) ( a measure of body fat based on height and weight in adult men and women)
Additionally, cashews and nuts contain high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids that promote the metabolic rates thus burning any excess fats. These make them a great addition to the diet for people that are looking to lose weight as they also promote satiety.
They are an excellent source of dietary fiber
Cashews come packed with dietary fiber. The body requires 2 essential dietary fibers which are oleic and palmitic acid which are both not made by the body and thus have to be obtained from the diet.
Cashews are a good provider of the two fibers. Dietary fibers are important for a healthy gut and as well have other benefits such as;
- Lowering the levels of cholesterol
- Control of blood sugar levels
- Assist in maintain a normal weight
- Normalizing bowel movement and maintaining healthy bowel
However care should be taken not to consume too much cashews as excessive fiber can lead to bloating and too much intestinal gas production.
Other FAQs about Cashews that you may be interested in.
In this brief article we have answered the question,”Are cashews a nut?” We have explained why cashews are technically not nuts. We have also looked at the nutritional profile of cashews. We have finally briefly discussed some health benefits of consuming nuts.