Cashews are a deliciously creamy and sweet nut that are native to South America, particularly Brazil and were introduced by colonists to Africa and India.
Cashews are found at the bottom of the cashew tree, and grow inside the Kaju apple, which is an apple shaped fruit, light reddish to yellow in colour. The Kuji fruit is often processed into a fruit drink and a liquor.
Apart from being delicious, cashews contain a large array of mineral and vitamins, that are crucial for maintaining health. A few abundant nutrients include, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorous and potassium.
Although cashews contain a large array of nutrients that have been proven to assist with bone health, heart health and energy levels, the biggest compound it contains is Phosphatidylserine. Phosphatidylserine has been proven in studies to assist with improving memory recall and retention. How this compound actually works to improve memory is still not entirely known.
Nuts often receive a bad rap, especially due to their fat content however, fats aren’t created equally. Cashews contain an adequate ratio between monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These two fats are crucial for maintaining brain health, assisting in memory and aiding in reducing inflammation. They’re what we call unsaturated fatty acids and as such, aren’t implicated in the development of high cholesterol or cardiovascular diseases.
Raw nuts are always ideal to consume however, cashews are an exception. Although they may be advertised as raw, they’re not. Truly raw cashews obtained directly from the Kaju apple contain a substance called urushiol, a highly toxic compound that is also found in poison ivy. The advertised ‘raw’ cashews are steamed prior to being sold, to ensure the toxins are removed.
Cashews are a great snack and with their added benefit of assisting with memory, they’re a great addition to the diet.