Cashew nuts are rich in many nutrients that provide various health benefits. They grow in humid climate and the largest producers of cashew nuts are Brazil, Tanzania, Mozambique and Nigeria. Even though they are very healthy, not many people are informed of the benefits of eating cashew nuts. Here are some of those benefits:
- They have the ability to prevent many diseases even cancer because they are rich in minerals, vitamins, soluble dietary fiber and phytochemicals. They are a high-calorie food and 50 grams of these nuts contains 275 calories.
- They are also rich in vitamins B5, B6 and B11 which are essential for the fat, protein and carb metabolism. Cashews also contain niacin which protects from dermatitis. Vitamin B6 is excellent for reducing the risk of homocystinuria and sideroblastic anemia. Just 100 grams of these nuts provides the recommended daily intake of B6 vitamin.
- Cashews are also rich in minerals such as zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium, manganese, copper and potassium which protect the body from diseases caused by deficiencies. Copper is a mineral that is needed for the proper superoxide dismutase and cytochrome c-oxidase. Zinc also interacts with enzymes, particularly those that regulate the DNA synthesis, gonadal function and digestion. Selenium interacts with antioxidant enzymes such as Glutathione peroxide.
- Cashews are also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids such as palmitoleic and oleic acids which protect the heart. These fatty acids reduce the bad cholesterol while increasing the good cholesterol levels. Fatty acids have been scientifically proven to protect from coronary artery disease and strokes.
- These nuts also contain zeaxanthin, a pigment that protects the eyes from the UV rays as well as from macular degeneration particularly in the elderly.
Cashew nut allergy
Even though they are very healthy, cashew nuts can be deadly for those who are allergic to them. They can cause severe allergic reactions which is why they should be avoided by those who are allergic to them.
Symptoms of cashew nuts allergy
Cashew nuts are a common ingredient in many foods such as Asian meals, cakes and ice cream. You may not even be aware that they are included in the food you are about to consume, so if you experience some of these symptoms you should immediately seek professional help.
After only a few minutes of eating or touching foods that contain cashew nuts, you may experience tingling or itching around your mouth, as well as raised, itchy and red welts which may appear anywhere on your body.
Cashew nut allergy can also cause symptoms such as vomiting, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing and in severe cases it can cause swelling of the throat or tongue thus block the airways.
In case of inhalation of airborne cashew nut allergens, you may experience asthma or hay fever.
Symptoms of this allergy that affect the nose and nasal passages include coughing, itchy nose and eyes, itching on the top of the mouth and stuffy or runny nose. Wheezing and whistling sounds while exhaling is also possible. In some cases, it is possible to experience chest tightening and pain as well as shortness of breath.
The most severe allergic reaction that can occur due to consumption of cashews is anaphylaxis. It can be caused even by small quantities of cashews and it can be deadly if not treated immediately. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include: fainting, breathing problems caused by swelling of the tongue, light-headedness, dizziness, fast pulse etc.
Treat depression naturally with cashew nuts
One of the most prominent health benefit of cashews is their ability to treat depression.
In 1993, David Adams who is an FDA Deputy Commissioner for Policy made a very interesting statement. Namely, he said that existing drugs consider natural remedies as a competition which caused a debate about the law regulations regarding natural supplements.
Later that year, the FDA Dietary Task Force made a statement that the efforts for creating new drugs will not be affected by the existence and selling of dietary supplements.
The pharmaceutical companies will experience a major financial loss if people became more aware of the natural remedies for depression such as cashew nuts.
Cashew nuts are rich in tryptophan, a vital amino acid which we can only consume through food. This amino acid can improve the sleep, it regulates the mood, it can balance our behavior and it can reduce stress, anxiety and depression levels.
Many studies have confirmed that this amino acid is just as successful in treatment of depression as common antidepressants without causing any side effects.