Cashews are a type of nut with a soft consistency and sweet flavor.
They are native to South America, specifically Brazil, and were introduced by colonists to Africa and India. These regions are the largest producers of cashews today. Cashews are sold both raw or roasted, and salted or unsalted.
Cashews have recently been used to make dairy alternatives, such as cashew milk, cashew-based cheese and cashew-based cream sauces and sour cream.
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that the risk of coronary heart disease may be 37 percent lower in people who consume nuts more than four times per week compared with people who never or seldom consume nuts.
Cashew milk offers many of the benefits of fresh milk for those who prefer not to use dairy.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved a health claim for food labels that “eating 1.5 oz per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
Cashews are a good source of magnesium, which plays an important role in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body.
These include the metabolism of food and synthesis of fatty acids and proteins.
Magnesium is also involved in muscle relaxation and neuromuscular transmission and activity.
Magnesium deficiency, prevalent in older populations, is linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease and osteoporosis.
Several studies have found that a high intake of calcium without sufficient magnesium could increase the risk of arterial calcification and cardiovascular disease, as well as kidney stones.
People with the highest intake of magnesium were found in the Framingham Heart Study to have a 58-percent lower chance of having coronary artery calcification and a 34-percent lower chance of abdominal artery calcification.