Cashew nut, commonly called as ‘Caju’ in India is one of the most cultivated nuts worldwide and it possess the first rank. Botanically, cashew nut is called Anacardium occidentale. It is a rich and sweet product of cashew tree and has numerous health benefits. They are usually served as snack or even used in sweet and savory dishes. Since they contain a good amount of starch, they are used to thicken water based recipes like soups, korma, meat stew, and other Indian milk-based desserts.
How it is grown
Cashew tree is an evergreen tropical tree producing cashew nut and cashew apple. Cashew tree gives numerous, edible false fruits called cashew apples. Cashew nut, the actual fruit is attached to the bottom end of the apple that appears like a clapper in the bell. This true fruit is actually a drupe contains a single edible kernel called cashew nut. The nut measures 1 inch length and 0.5 inch diameter. It is a kidney or bean shaped nut with a curvy smooth pointed tip. The nut splits into two equal halves. Cashew nut is cream white in color with the delicate texture and smooth surface.
Where it is grown
Basically, cashew tree is native to Brazil, South America, Amazon forests. It is mainly cultivated in India, Vietnam, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Nigeria. The best soil type for cashews is deep and well-drained sandy soil. It requires well defined dry season for at least 4 months to yield best fruits.
Cashew nuts have ideal ratio of fat for optimal health. It contains mono unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and palmitoleic acid. They contain dietary fibers and numerous phyto-chemicals. They are high in calories i.e. we get 553 calories in every 100g of cashew nuts. They are also rich in vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, etc. and minerals like magnesium, copper, calcium.etc.
Anacardium occidentale, the cashew nuts does have much of health benefits that are listed below.
- A class of flavonols called, proanthocyanidins and high copper content in cashew nuts help to fight against cancerous cells and also to get black healthy hair.
- The mono unsaturated fatty acids and low level of cholesterol present in cashew nuts decreases the risk of artery disorders.
- Minerals such as magnesium and calcium in cashew nut enable the development of healthy bones, gums, teeth and nerves.
- Cashew nuts contains good cholesterol and hence are used for weight reductions
- Cashews are capable of filtering Sun UV rays and protect against macular degeneration.
- Regular intake of cashews will reduce the risk of developing gall stones.
- Since they contain dietary fiber, it helps for digestion.
Facts and other uses
Cashew nut allergy is a common condition in many individuals, especially in children and the symptoms may vary between individuals. It includes simple itching, breathing difficulty, abdomen pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Overconsumption of cashew nuts may result in unwanted weight gain because of high fat content. Oxalates in cashews may also enhance the already existing kidney and gall bladder problems.