Cashews are a good source of nutrients as they are rich in healthy unsaturated fats, high in dietary fiber and have an excellent profile of plant-based proteins, according to group of researchers from Pere Virgili Health Research Institute and Rovira i Virgili University in Spain.
Supported by the Global Cashew Council and the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council, the researchers studied the composition of raw cashew kernels from India, Ivory Coast, Vietnam, Brazil, Mozambique, and Kenya.
The composition analyses were conducted within three months after harvest, and included dietary fiber, sugar, protein, lipid profile, salt, energy content, sterol content and profile, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Cashews contain a wide variety of important micro- and macronutrients including vitamins and amino acids.
No significant differences were found among samples from different origins.
The results also showed that cashews are relatively high in fat, but most of that fat (80%) is unsaturated.
Saturated fat can raise blood cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
On the contrary, unsaturated fats, such as mono- and polyunsaturated fat, can decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) levels.
Modern human nutrition research has linked nut consumption with several health benefits due to their particular nutrient composition.
Including nuts in a healthy diet is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality, especially stroke, and to a decreased risk of metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.
Furthermore, epidemiological and clinical studies have shown that frequent nut intake is not generally associated with weight gain.