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All about “Cashew nut”

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Health profile

Cashew is always sold shelled, because of the corrosive oil contained between its two shells. It is usually roasted in oil, then added with or without salt. It is one of the shelled and oleaginous fruits (often wrongly called “nuts”) the least rich in lipids. In addition to having the most interesting content of vitamins and minerals, it contains active ingredients that give it health benefits.

Cashew nuts: understand everything in 2 min

Active ingredients and properties

For shelled (pistachio, almond, etc.) and oilseed (pecan, walnut, etc.) fruits in general

Several epidemiological and clinical studies associate regular consumption of nuts and oilseeds with various health benefits. They have a cholesterol-lowering effect 1 and they decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases 2 , type 2 diabetes 3 , gallstones 4 and gallbladder removal 5 , and colon cancer in women 6 . The amount of shelled and oilseed fruits to consume for health benefits is, in most studies, about five 30 g (1 oz) servings per week .

For the cashew

Monounsaturated fatty acids. Like most nuts and oilseeds, almost three-quarters of the total calories in cashews are lipids (fats). The majority (60%) of these lipids are in the form of monounsaturated fatty acids, a type of fat that has beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. Indeed, replacing saturated fatty acids in the diet with monounsaturated fatty acids leads to a reduction in total cholesterol and LDL (“bad” cholesterol), without reducing HDL (“good” cholesterol) 9 .

To date, only one study has evaluated the effect of cashew consumption on certain metabolic markers linked to cardiovascular disease, such as blood lipid and glucose levels and blood pressure. It was conducted in obese subjects suffering from metabolic syndrome 7 . In this randomized nutritional study, no significant effect was observed in the group consuming cashew nuts compared to the control group 7 . Cashew, however, contains a type of lipid favorable to cardiovascular health, hence the importance of carrying out more studies on the benefits related to its consumption.

Phytosterols. Phytosterols are compounds found in plants and whose structure is similar to that of cholesterol. A meta-analysis of 41 clinical trials has shown that taking 2 g of phytosterols daily reduces LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) levels by 10%. This reduction could reach 20% as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol 10 .

A study has evaluated the phytosterol content of cashew nuts at 150 mg per 100 g serving 11 . For comparison, the same quantity of almonds contains 200 mg and the champions, sesame seeds, contain 400 mg 11 . The plant phytosterol content is still relatively low, it is practically impossible to obtain an intake of 2 g per day only from food. At the moment, Health Canada does not allow the marketing of foods enriched with phytosterols.

Even if the effects of phytosterols found naturally in food have not been evaluated directly, it is possible to assume that they remain interesting for cardiovascular health.

Antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that protect the cells of the body from damage caused by free radicals . The latter are implicated in the development of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and other diseases linked to aging 12 . Some authors have evaluated that cashew has one of the lowest antioxidant contents among shelled and oil seeds, for example walnut , almond, pecan , pistachio and hazelnut 13-14 .

The antioxidant capacity of cashew has been observed in vitro 15 , but so far, its antioxidants have been poorly characterized. We know that it contains vitamin E, mainly present in the form of gamma-tocopherol 14 , 16 . In general, tocopherols are powerful antioxidants which have protective effects against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and cognitive decline 17 .

Other properties

Is cashew antioxidant? Moderately . Cashew has a TAC index of 699 _mol per 35g (60ml) serving.
Is cashew acidifying? Data not available.
Does cashew have a high glycemic load? Data not available.

Most important nutrients

See the meaning of the nutrient source classification symbols

 Magnesium . The nuts cashew and butter cashew nuts are excellent sources of magnesium for women and a good source for humans (magnesium requirements of man being higher than those of women). Magnesium participates in bone development, protein construction, enzymatic actions, muscle contraction, dental health and the functioning of the immune system. It also plays a role in energy metabolism and in the transmission of nerve impulses.

 Copper . The nuts cashew and butter cashew nuts are good sources of copper. As a constituent of several enzymes , copper is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (protein used for the structure and repair of tissues) in the body. Several copper-containing enzymes also help the body’s defense against free radicals .

 Phosphorus . The nuts cashew and butter cashew nuts are good sources of phosphorus (see our profile Awards nutrient phosphorus ). Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. It plays an essential role in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. In addition, it participates among other things in the growth and regeneration of tissues and helps to maintain normal blood pH . Finally, phosphorus is one of the constituents of cell membranes.

Cashew apple
The cashew nut grows on a false fruit called the cashew apple, even if it is more like a pear. The cashew apple, yellow or red, is particularly consumed in Brazil, raw, cooked or in juice. It contains various antioxidant compounds, such as vitamin C, flavonoids and carotenoids 21 , 22 .

Iron . The nuts cashew and butter cashew nuts are good sources of iron for the man and sources for Women (the iron needs of women being superior to those of humans). Each body cell contains iron. This mineral is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells in the blood. It also plays a role in the production of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters. It should be noted that the iron contained in plant foods (such as cashews) is less absorbed by the body than the iron contained in animal foods. However, the absorption of iron from plants is favored by the consumption of certain nutrients, such as vitamin C.

 Zinc . The nuts cashew and butter cashew nuts are good sources of zinc. Zinc is involved in particular in immune reactions, in the production of genetic material, in the perception of taste, in the healing of wounds and in the development of the fetus. It also interacts with sex and thyroid hormones. In the pancreas, it participates in the production, storage and release of insulin.

 Manganese . The nuts cashew is a good source of manganese for women and a source to humans (human manganese requirements are higher than those of women). As for cashew butter, it is a source of manganese. Manganese acts as a cofactor for several enzymes that facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes. It also participates in the prevention of damage caused by free radicals .

 Selenium . The nuts cashew and butter cashew nuts are sources of selenium. This mineral works with one of the main antioxidant enzymes , thus preventing the formation of free radicals in the body. It also helps to convert thyroid hormones to their active form.

Vitamin B1 . The nuts cashew and butter cashew nuts are sources of vitamin B1. Also called thiamine, vitamin B1 is part of a coenzyme necessary for the production of energy mainly from the carbohydrates that we eat. It also participates in the transmission of nerve impulses and promotes normal growth.

 Vitamin B2 . The nuts Cashew is a source of vitamin B2, while the butter cashew is a source for women only (the need for vitamin B2 man being higher than those of women). Vitamin B2 is also known as riboflavin. Like vitamin B1, it plays a role in the energy metabolism of all cells. In addition, it contributes to tissue growth and repair, hormone production and the formation of red blood cells.

 Pantothenic acid . The nuts cashew and butter cashew nuts are sources of pantothenic acid. Also called vitamin B5, pantothenic acid is part of a key coenzyme that allows us to adequately use the energy present in the food we eat. It also participates in several stages of the synthesis (manufacture) of steroid hormones, neurotransmitters and hemoglobin.

 Vitamin B6 . The nuts cashew and butter cashew nuts are sources of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is part of coenzymes that participate in the metabolism of proteins and fatty acids as well as in the manufacture of neurotransmitters. It also collaborates in the production of red blood cells and allows them to transport more oxygen. Pyridoxine is also necessary for the transformation of glycogen into glucose and it helps the good functioning of the immune system. Finally, this vitamin plays a role in the formation of certain components of nerve cells.

 Folate . The nuts cashew and butter cashew nuts are sources of folate. Folate (vitamin B9) is involved in the production of all cells in the body, including red blood cells. This vitamin plays an essential role in the production of genetic material ( DNA , RNA), in the functioning of the nervous system and the immune system, as well as in the healing of wounds and wounds. As folate is necessary for the production of new cells, adequate consumption is essential during periods of growth and for the development of the fetus.

 Vitamin E . The butter cashew is a source of vitamin E. Antioxidant major, vitamin E protects the membrane that surrounds the body’s cells, especially red blood cells and white blood cells (immune system cells).

 Vitamin K . The nuts Cashew is a source of vitamin K. Vitamin K is necessary for the production of proteins involved in blood clotting (as much stimulation as inhibiting blood clotting). It also plays a role in bone formation. In addition to being found in food, vitamin K is manufactured by bacteria present in the intestine, hence the rarity of deficiencies in this vitamin.

What is a “portion” of cashews worth?
Weight / volume Cashew nuts, dry roasted, 35 g / 60 ml Cashew butter, 32 g / 30 ml
Calories 199 190
Protein 5.3 g 5.7 g
Carbohydrates 11.4g 8.9 g
Fat 16.1g 16.0 g
-saturated 3.2g 3.2g
– monounsaturated 9.5 g 9.4 g
-polyunsaturated 2.7g 2.7g
-Omega 3* 0.06 g 0.06 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg 0.0 mg
Dietary fiber 1.0 g 0.6g

Source  : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2007.
* EPA, DHA and Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA)

Precautions

Beware sodium!
Cashews are offered salted or unsalted. Salted dry roasted cashews contain almost 40 times more sodium than those without added salt 23 . It is always more beneficial for health to consume the nuts and oil seeds in their natural form, especially for people suffering from hypertension or heart or renal failure.

Allergy to “nuts” (nuts and oilseeds)
In the list of the main allergens of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) 18 , we find “nuts”, which designate a set of nuts and oilseeds . A study has shown that cashews, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds and pistachios are a group whose allergies are strongly associated 19 . A person allergic to one of these foods is thus likely to be allergic to the other four.

In addition, people who are allergic to peanuts are usually recommended to refrain from consuming shelled and oil-bearing fruits, including cashews. They also have a high allergenic potential and are often handled and distributed by companies specializing in peanuts. Symptoms of shell allergy and oilseed allergy can be severe and can even lead to anaphylactic shock .

Urinary
stones Some people may be advised to adopt a restricted diet of oxalates in order to prevent recurrences of kidney or urinary stones (also called urinary stones). Oxalates are compounds found naturally in many foods, including cashews. It is therefore preferable that these people avoid consuming it, as well as the other types of shelled and oil seeds.

Cashew over time

“Cajou” (1765) comes from “mahogany” (formerly “acajoutier” and “acajoucantin”), which appeared in the language in 1557. “Mahogany” is itself derived from acaiou , word tupi (an indigenous language d ‘South America) designating the tree that produces the cashew nuts. However, in French, this word has also come to designate the American mahogany ( Swietania mahagony ), a tree exploited for its precious wood, by derivation of the name tupi acaïacatinga . To avoid confusion, scientists therefore preferred to call the cashew tree ”  cashew  “. Locally, it is also called “apple mahogany” or “apple-mahogany”.

 Cashew” appeared in the language in 1792. It comes from “cashew”, which is derived from the Greek ana- and kardia , literally meaning “heart upside down”. Indeed, the nut which is the real fruit, is located under a false fruit in the shape of a pear which can resemble a heart upside down.

The powerful cashew balm
The shell of the cashew nut is made up of two shells between which is housed a very caustic resin, the cashew balm. So we usually roast the nuts to remove the resin before opening it. Cashew balm is used in the manufacture of indelible inks, waterproofing products, paints, adhesives, friction elements (brakes, clutches), etc.

There are eight species of Anacardium , all native to tropical America. The western Anacardium is by far the most economically important. She is from northeast Brazil. This region is located between the humid forests of the Atlantic and the Amazon. Cashews were domesticated there long before Europeans arrived. The Portuguese discovered the cashew tree (the tree that produces nuts) in 1538. They introduced it to their colonies in India and Africa shortly after. In India it was first planted to control erosion; its cultivation for the production of nuts and false fruit was much later.

International trade in this nut hardly dates back to before 1920, when the Indians found an effective technique for removing caustic oil from the shell. Cashew nuts became an essential food in Indian cuisine.

Cashew is produced in 32 countries around the world, the top ten being, in order of importance, Vietnam, India, Nigeria, Brazil, Tanzania, Indonesia, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique and Benin. It now ranks first in the production of oleaginous fruits, having exceeded the almond in 2003.

Culinary uses

To access other recipes, you can go to the CuisineAZ.com cooking recipe site, which offers, among other things, the following recipes: veal tajine with cashew nuts , chicken tajine almonds cashew nuts , minced chicken nuts cashew

Choose well

We find on the market “raw” cashews, whole, in halves, in pieces, as well as cashews roasted dry or in oil, salted or not, coated with chocolate, yogurt, spices , etc. Walnuts are classified according to their size, color and water content.

An apple that is not a
cashew The cashew nut grows at the base of a fake edible fruit called “cashew fruit” or cashew apple. It is rich in tannins, which gives it a marked bitter flavor and astringency. It is generally cooked, dried or candied. We also make, with its juice, a wine that has the reputation of being the best of wines made with a tropical fruit.

Note. In the trade, most of the cashews called “raw” are not actually roasted. But they are still cooked, since they are generally steamed in order to soften the shell to extract the fruit. There are a few rare companies that offer real raw cashews. They are peeled using a special technique so that cashew balm does not contaminate them (see raw cashew on the Internet or Cashew nuts , raw , wild , vegan and Raw Organic Cashewsin the Bibliography). To check if the ones you bought are really raw, just put them to germinate, as you do with alfalfa seed or wheat grain. Raw nuts will germinate while steamed nuts will rot without germinating.

Culinary dishes

  • As they are, roasted or not , they make an excellent snack.
  • In mixtures of the granola or muësli type with other oilseeds and dried fruits.
  • In the pilaf rice  : roast the nuts in oil and add them to the cooked rice.
  • In the Indian biryani  : this complex pilaf, which is baked in the oven, alternates layers of basmati rice, meat (usually lamb), cashews, almonds, pistachios, raisins, and fried onions. It is moistened with yogurt and crème fraîche and seasoned with many spices (cinnamon, cumin, fresh ginger, garlic, mace, nutmeg, cardamom, hot pepper, saffron and peppercorns).
  • In stir-fry dishes , with vegetables, ginger and garlic. In Thailand, cashews are used in the preparation of a stir-fried chicken dish including, in addition to poultry, shiitake mushrooms, Chinese cabbage, onions, green onions and chilli. The dish is seasoned with soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, lemongrass, honey or sugar and chicken or vegetable broth.
  • In chutneys and curries .
  • Preparation for dip . Pass the nuts in a blender with yogurt, a few drops of vegetable oil, lemon juice and soy sauce, garlic and the spices of your choice.
  • Sandwich preparation . Finely chop the cashews and mix them with diced cooked chicken, mayonnaise, chopped green onions, tarragon and parsley. Add to the sandwich: lettuce, arugula, lamb’s lettuce or other fresh greenery.
  • Cashew milk . Put ½ cup cashews and two cups of water in the blender and turn the unit on high speed. If desired, sweeten with a little honey or maple syrup.
  • Cashew butter . As the cashew nut is relatively dry, it is better to grind it and mix it with oil (safflower or sunflower) to obtain a butter that spreads well. Serve it on bread or crackers, in sauce over grilled meat or baked potatoes, etc. It can replace tahini in hummus or in salad dressings.
  • Ground cashews . Add them to ice cream or yogurt, incorporate them into bread or pastry preparations, sprinkle on salads, etc.
  • Chicken or cashew crusted fish . Coarsely chop the nuts and roll the meat or fish in them before putting them in the oven.

Note. We can also draw inspiration from the culinary preparations offered in the fact sheets on almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and pistachios.

Conservation

It is generally recommended to keep cashews in the refrigerator in an airtight container, as they go rancid fairly quickly. The ideal is to get vacuum packed nuts, if found, which will keep much longer. They can also be stored for several months in the freezer.

Ecology and environment

The cashew tree to the rescue
In Côte d’Ivoire, the planting of thousands of cashew trees has made it possible to replenish the forest cover. The incomes of farmers, who mainly grow cotton, have also increased substantially. In addition, trees provide them with inexpensive fuel.

The cashew tree is one of those deep-rooted trees that thrive where few other plants can survive. On semi-arid lands, it helps curb erosion. It is first of all for this reason that it was initially planted on the coasts of Africa and India. Its wood is useful for making canoes and its bark and leaves are said to have many medicinal properties. It also provides very valuable products, both food and industrial. Finally, and it is not trivial, it plays a very important social role: it gives a lot of shade, which is very useful for rest and palaver 

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