We’ve incorporated tasty cashew nuts into several of our delicious nutrition bars. With their rich, buttery flavor and texture, cashews are one of the most loved nuts on the planet.
Native to the tropical forests of Brazil, cashew trees were introduced to India and some African countries centuries ago. Today, cashew nuts (which are actually the seed of the fruit) are consumed all over the world. They’ve become a staple in Indian cuisine, especially, where they are used in many savory dishes and desserts.
These wholesome nuts are ground into flour and pastes, used to make nut butters and creams, and are excellent for thickening sauces. And, of course, they’re a favorite snack eaten raw or roasted, and a satisfying addition to nutrition bars and other foods.
Are cashews good for your health? Absolutely! Not only are cashews delicious, they’re also a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with phytochemicals, antioxidants, and protein, as well as minerals like iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc. Learn more about the many health benefits of cashews below.
Health Benefits of Cashews
Cashews contain heart-healthy fats and are naturally cholesterol free. Mounting evidence suggests that eating nuts, including cashews, can help reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.1 Cashews contain vitamins E and B6, folic acid, and potassium, all of which help fight heart disease.1 Cashews also contain the essential amino acid arginine, which protects the lining of the arterial walls.1
Replacing saturated fats (from meat, cheese, etc.) with monounsaturated fats (like those found in cashews) can help increase weight/fat loss, even when a person consumes the same amount of calories per day, according to a study published the British Journal of Nutrition.2 Cashews help you feel fuller longer, which can help curb food cravings, snacking, and overeating; this can contribute to weight loss over time.
Perhaps you’ve heard that lutein is good for your eyes. Good news—cashews contain a healthy dose of lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which act as antioxidants and help protect the eyes from light damage. These compounds can even help protect the eyes against macular degeneration and cataracts, two common eye conditions, especially among seniors.3
Cashews contain both iron and copper, which work synergistically to help the body form red blood cells.4 Red blood cells play the essential function of carrying oxygen around the body, keeping our tissues healthy; they also carry carbon dioxide to the lungs for exhalation.
It might seem counterintuitive that a food that’s naturally high in fat could help with diabetes management but, remember, cashews contain good (unsaturated) fats. One study found that people who consumed nuts with foods that have a high glycemic index (high-glycemic foods tend to raise blood sugar) had a reduced response to glucose. This suggests that eating nuts like cashews can be helpful in those with diabetes.5
These are just some of the many health benefits of cashews. Research suggests cashews can also help prevent gallstones, reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and protect bone health, and may even help prevent certain cancers.6
Cashew Nutrition: The Takeaway
Cashews are an excellent source of protein, good fats, vitamins, and minerals. Despite the low-fat craze of the last few decades (which largely led to the replacement of fats with sugar), today we know that the heart-healthy fats in nuts, such as cashews, and plant foods, such as avocados, are an important part of a balanced, healthy diet.
Santa Barbara Bar is pleased to incorporate delicately sweet and satisfyingly crunchy cashew nuts into a selection of our nutrition bars!