Why We’re Nuts About Cashews
In this installment of the Ingredient Spotlight, we take a look at cashews. Cashews are a nutrient-packed superfood low in sugar, full of heart healthy unsaturated oils, and an excellent source of protein. They are also a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals like copper, magnesium, and zinc. Best of all, there are so many ways you can enjoy them. Let’s learn more about this versatile food
Benefits of Eating Cashews
Cashews, or sometimes referred to as cashew nuts, have a great macronutrient profile. In addition to being low in sugar and net carbohydrates, cashews are an excellent source of protein. One ounce of cashews (or approximately 18 nuts) has 5 grams of protein, which puts it on par per ounce of meat. A plant-powered powerhouse, cashews give your body what it needs.
They are also loaded with vitamins and minerals to support your body’s function and growth. They are an excellent source of vitamin K, a key contributor to bone and cognitive health. They are also chock full of minerals, including magnesium, iron, and zinc. Cashews also provide 67% of your daily intake of copper, which helps with collagen production helping improve the health of your hair, skin, and joints.
Like other nuts and seeds, cashews are a rich source of antioxidants including polyphenols and carotenoids. Antioxidants are plant compounds that work to reduce free radicals in our body that cause inflammation, helping us to stay healthy and reduce our risk of disease. They are also a great source of heart-healthy unsaturated oils which have a cholesterol lower effect on our body.
Things to Keep in Mind
While cashews are technically seeds, they are still classified as a tree nut. It’s important to stay away or consult your doctor before consuming if you have a tree nut allergy. It’s also important to enjoy cashews in moderation. While they provide a lot of great benefits, like most nuts, they are calorically dense. An ounce, or handful, is usually the right amount.
Great Ways to Enjoy Cashews
Cashews are truly a versatile food. They can be enjoyed raw as an easy, portable snack, crumbled on salads for added crunch, or enjoyed as unsweetened cashew butter or milk. A staple in plant-powered cooking, they also make a rich and creamy base for sauces or dips. At Plantable, our cashew sauce is a fan-favorite and featured in our Vietnamese Rainbow Wrap with Cashew Sauce and our Black Bean and Jackfruit Taco with Cashew Sour Cream and Tortillas.
A great way to unlock the antioxidant benefits is to roast cashews. Toss raw cashews with spices like paprika, garlic, chili, and cumin and just a touch of oil and dry roast them in a pan or in the oven. For a more seasonal flavor, try adding unsweetened coconut flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of clove.
In summary, cashews are a versatile superfood that helps support heart, bone, joint, and cognitive health. There are so many ways to enjoy cashews but remember to do so in moderation.