Heart-Health: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, and 82% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids. 66% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, similar to those found in olive oil. Monounsaturated fat, when added to a low-fat diet, can help to reduce high triglyceride levels, especially for persons with diabetes. They also contain arginine, which protects the inner lining of artery walls.
Anti-Depressant: A growing body of research has found that in lieu of taking a prescription drug, some people can turn to foods that are high in tryptophans, like cashews. “Several handfuls of cashews provide 1,000-2,000 milligrams of tryptophan, which will work as well as prescription antidepressants,” says Dr. Andrew Saul, a therapeutic nutritionist and editor-in-chief of Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. The body turns tryptophan into serotonin, a major contributor to feelings of sexual desire, good mood, and healthy sleep.
Eye Health: Cashews contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, which act as antioxidants when consumed regularly. These compounds protect the eyes from light damage (which can turn into blindness in the elderly), and can even help decrease the instance of cataracts.
Blood Health: The copper and iron in cashews work together to help the body form and utilize red blood cells. This, in turn, keeps blood vessels, nerves, the immune system, and bones healthy and functioning properly.
Weight Loss: People who eat nuts at least twice a week are much less likely to gain weight than those who almost never eat nuts. Replacing animal fats and proteins with the mono-and polyunsaturated fats found in cashews is an excellent way to manage your weight and reduce the build-up of fat and cholesterol in the heart.
Mineral Source: Cashews are an excellent phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. Magnesium helps diminish the frequency of migraines, improve cognitive ability, and lowers blood pressure, which can prevent heart attacks. Copper contains antioxidants that render free radicals harmless. This protects against heart disease and cancer. Magnesium works with copper to provide bone strength, and with melanin and elastin to provide joint flexibility, giving the nerves just the right tension.
Bone Health: Magnesium is vital for healthy bones. Insufficient magnesium can contribute to high blood pressure, muscle spasms (including spasms of the heart muscle or the spasms of the airways symptomatic of asthma), and migraine headaches, as well as muscle cramps, tension, soreness, and fatigue.
Zero Cholesterol: Surprisingly, cashews contain zero cholesterol. All but a small amount of the fat in cashews is the good kind – oleic acid – found also in olive oil.