Why eat cashews?

March 7, 2019 6:13 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Of all the nuts we sell, cashews are probably the very easiest to eat! They’re delicately sweet, wonderfully buttery and ever-so-slightly crunchy. We’ve got organic cashews in whole kernels and in pieces, and we’ve got plain, roasted, salted, salt-and-peppered and hot chilli cashews in non-organic packs.

Why eat cashews?

Cashew? Don’t mind if I do!

 

Cashews are a popular snack – our snack packs fly out the door! They’re also, though, a great raw ingredient in all manner of dishes. We know that they’re used a lot in gluten-free cooking, where they’re frequently ground up to form a flour-free base for cakes and bakes. They’re important in vegan and dairy-free cooking too. Overall, they’re a hugely versatile ingredient, equally at home in savoury and sweet options.

I love cashews in a simple, mid-week chicken curry, where they add crunch, taste and nutrition. Here’s a good recipe. To simplify things further, use a spoonful of high-quality organic curry powder, rather than mixing your own spices.

In a lovely little gluten-free restaurant in York some years ago, I enjoyed a cheesecake that used cashews as its base – rather like this recipe.  In cheesecake, of course, cashews can also work as an alternative to the cream cheese itself, as they do here.

If you’re vegan, cashews should really be a staple in your store-cupboard: they crop up in virtually every recipe that requires an alternative to cheese, cream or milk. Our vegan NGF staff members once made us all a delicious cream tea, featuring non-dairy scones with cashew cream and jam. It was pretty tasty….

You can use whole cashews to make your own non-dairy milk, or you can buy it ready-made and unsweetened from us, as supplied by Rude Health. If you haven’t got a reliable food-processor to hand to blitz your cashews, you’ll no doubt be interested in our range of cashew nut butters, where the nuts have been ground up for you. We stock cashew nut butter in crunchy and smooth varieties, with and without salt. As well as being incredibly useful for vegan baking, these make a great alternative to peanut butter on their own.

Why eat cashews?

Cashews are ideal for those who are eating gluten-free – and they’re pretty much an essential for anyone who’s vegan. But cashews are simply great for everyone! They’re an amazing source of a whole range of vitamins and minerals. Let’s take a look at just what you’ll find in cashews – and see why each bit matters.

Iron

Iron is what our body uses to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen around our body.

Magnesium

Magnesium regulates our muscle and nerve function, keeps blood sugar levels and blood pressure stable, assists in the manufacture of proteins, bones and DNA, and is particularly good for memory function.

Zinc

Zinc boosts our immune system. It also helps our bodies make protein and DNA (making it vital for reproductive health), helps wounds heal and muscles grow and repair, and gives us our proper sense of taste and smell.

Calcium

Calcium builds bones and keeps them healthy. It helps our blood clot, our muscles contract and our nerves send messages.

Copper

Copper works with iron to form red blood cells in the body (it helps us absorb iron too). It plays an important role in maintaining strong bones, blood vessels and nerves and keeps our immune systems working well.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is good for strong bones and teeth and keeps our muscles and kidneys working properly.

Potassium

Potassium works with sodium to maintain normal blood pressure and the correct balance of fluids in the body. (There are traces of sodium in cashews as well.)

Selenium

Selenium is important for reproductive health, for DNA production and for our thyroid function. It also helps protect us from infection.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of tissues. It helps the body manufacture collagen, which in its turn, makes skin, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and blood vessels. Vitamin C repairs our wounds and keeps our bones and teeth healthy.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant, protecting our cells and cell membranes against damage.

Vitamin K

This vitamin aids blood clotting and gives us strong bones. It’s also important in keeping our arteries clear and thus preventing heart disease.

The B vitamins (B1, B2, B3 and B6)

The B vitamins help us access and release the energy stored in the food we eat. They’re also needed for brain function and development, for the metabolism of glucose, for healthy nerve, muscle and heart function and for the production of hormones.

Folate

Folate is well-known as an important element in reproductive health. It’s needed to make DNA and other genetic material and enables cells to divide. It also has a role in keeping an amino acid called homocysteine in check: too much of this amino acid has been found to cause heart problems. In addition, it’s thought to help keep our brains functioning at their very best.

Unsaturated fat

Cashews have a high unsaturated fat content (around 50%). Unsaturated fat is good for heart health and for cholesterol levels. In particular, cashews have a high oleic acid content – this Omega-9 fatty acid is also found in olive oil and plays an important role in keeping our hearts healthy.

Origin and packaging

Our cashews generally come from India or Vietnam. Our own-brand nuts are packed in biodegradable cellophane bags.

Cashew? Don’t mind if I do!

Want to know more about cashews? We’ve found out some interesting facts during our research into these sweet little nuts. Did you know that….

…their shells are poisonous? (This is why we sell them shelled!)

…they grow out of the top of ‘cashew apples’ – rather than, as you might expect, being found inside the fruit.

….bats are one of the most important pollinators of cashew trees!

Naturally Good Reads v2

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This post was written by Yzanne

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