Cashews are a kidney-shaped seed sourced from the cashew tree — a tropical tree native to Brazil but now cultivated in various warm climates across the world.
Although commonly referred to as tree nuts and nutritionally comparable, cashews are really seeds. They’re rich in nutrients and beneficial plant compounds and make for an easy addition to many dishes.
Like most nuts, cashews may also help improve your overall health. They’ve been linked to benefits like weight loss, improved blood sugar control, and a healthier heart.
Rich in nutrients
Cashews are rich in a range of nutrients. One ounce (28 grams) of unsalted cashews provides you with around
- Calories: 157
- Protein: 5 grams
- Fat: 12 grams
- Carbs: 9 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Copper: 67% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Magnesium: 20% of the DV
- Manganese: 20% of the DV
- Zinc: 15% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 13% of the DV
- Iron: 11% of the DV
- Selenium: 10% of the DV
- Thiamine: 10% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 8% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 7% of the DV
Cashews are especially rich in unsaturated fats — a category of fats linked to a lower risk of premature death and heart disease
They’re also low in sugar, a good source of fiber and contain almost the same amount of protein as an equivalent quantity of cooked meat
In addition, cashews contain a significant amount of copper, a mineral essential for energy production, healthy brain development and a strong immune system. They’re also a great source of magnesium and manganese, nutrients important for bone health.
Contains beneficial plant compounds
Cashews are a rich source of polyphenols and carotenoids — two classes of antioxidants also found in other tree nuts
May improve heart health
Diets rich in nuts, including cashews, have been consistently linked to a lower risk of disease, such as stroke and heart disease
A few studies have focused on the specific heart health benefit of cashews.
One found that people with type 2 diabetes who consumed 10% of their daily calories from cashews had lower LDL (bad) cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol ratios than those who ate no cashews at all
A low LDL to HDL ratio is typically viewed as a marker of good heart health
May be beneficial for people with Type 2 Diabetes
People with Type 2 Diabetes may benefit from adding cashews to their diet.
That’s in part because cashews are a good source of fiber, a nutrient that helps prevent blood sugar spikes and which is believed to offer protection against type 2 diabetes
Studies looking at the effects of cashews on blood sugar levels are limited, however in one study, people with type 2 diabetes who ate 10% of their daily calories from cashews had overall lower insulin levels — a marker of blood sugar control — than those who ate no cashews at all
Moreover, cashews only contain 8 grams of net carbs per portion, of which less than 2 grams come from sugars.
The bottom line
Cashews are rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. They also contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and health-protective beneficial plant compounds.
Similarly to nuts, cashews may promote weight loss, blood sugar control, and heart health. However, there’s less research on cashews than on other nuts. Therefore, more cashew-specific studies are needed to confirm these benefits.
That said, there are little downsides to adding more East Wind Nut Butters Raw & Roasted, No Salt Cashew Butters to your diet.