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Cashews are delicately flavored nuts that are available all year round. These nuts grow on the cashew tree, which is widely distributed in tropical climates. Cashews are used as a popular snack, lightly salted or sugared, or covered in chocolate. They are often used in preparation of various dishes in Thai, Chinese and Indian cuisine, as a garnish and ingredient. Seeds are sometimes used to make antidote for snake bites and oil is used topically as an antifungal remedy.

Nutritional profile

One serving of cashews, weighing about 100 grams, contains 553 calories. This food is low in cholesterol and sodium, but it makes a good source of some of the most important minerals. Only 100 grams of cashews provide 37% or recommended daily value for iron. It also satisfies 43% of recommended daily value (RDA) for Vitamin K, 28% of RDA for Thiamin, 21% of RDA for Vitamin B6, 110% RDA of Copper, 73% of RDA for Magnesium, and 59% of RDA for Phosphorus.

Health benefits

Cashews are loaded with heart-friendly monounsaturated fats. They have the lowest fat content of most other nuts, but contain 75% of unsaturated fatty acids and beneficial oleic acid. This same compound is found in olive oil, and known to promote cardio-vascular health, reduce high triglyceride levels, and lower overall risk of heart disease. People who eat nuts, including cashews, at least four times a week have reduced risk of coronary heart disease for about 37%. A handful of cashews or a tablespoon of nut butter is enough to enjoy great health benefits. This nut is rich in calories and people willing to lose weight should eat small amounts (a handful) at least four times a week.

Regular use of cashews can also lower the risk of developing gallstones and may help to avoid unwanted weight gain. People who eat cashews on the regular basis are 30% less likely to gain weight than people who never eat nuts.

Other health benefits

This nut is loaded with copper, which aids some of the most important processes in the body. Copper aids iron utilization, helps to eliminate free radicals, and plays an important role in development of bone and connective tissue. Ensuring sufficient amounts of copper also reduces the risk from iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis, joint problems, brain problems, irregular heartbeat and abnormal levels of cholesterol.

Cashews are also rich in magnesium that helps to regulate nerves and muscles. It prevents problems with high blood pressure, muscle spasms and anxiety. Magnesium promotes normal sleep patterns and lowers the severity of asthma attacks.

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