Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: Cashews
A new month is here, so it’s time to shine the spotlight on another healthy ingredient in 22 Days Nutrition bars! If you’re a nut lover then you’ll love this month’s ingredient: cashews. Light in flavor but heavy in nutritional value, the cashew is a nut that can be added to just about anything. Cashew nuts are really seeds found at the bottom of the cashew tree, which originally grew in the warm, tropical climate of Brazil, and are considered a delicacy there as well as in the Caribbean. Luckily for us, they have found their way into homes and grocery markets around the world.
Vitamins and Minerals
The cashew is a terrific source of trace minerals including copper, manganese, tryptophan, magnesium, and phosphorus. Just ¼ cup of cashews makes for a great snack and contains 20-37% of these minerals for a mere 189 calories.
Boosts Heart Health
The high concentration of antioxidants in cashews makes them perfect for improving or maintaining the health of your heart, particularly in women. A study based in the UK recently combined the results of four large studies and found that by eating nuts four times or more per week, it could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 37%. That’s huge!
The copper content in cashews is a major player in helping to maintain healthy bones and tissues, as well as producing melanin for the skin and hair. By increasing the copper in your diet, you can reduce colon cancer risk and ensure good flexibility in your bones and joints.
Magnesium is a huge factor in the development of healthy bones by providing the bones with structural support as well as helping the body regulate muscle tone. It also acts as a nerve blocker to prevent excess calcium from activating cells, which in turn keeps nerves, blood vessels and muscles relaxed. By maintaining healthy magnesium levels along with a good source of calcium, you can ensure healthy blood pressure, reduce muscle spasms and cut the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.
Although the high fat content in nuts tends to turn conscientious eaters away, studies have indicated that people who regularly consume nuts are actually less likely to gain weight than those who rarely eat nuts. So don’t be afraid to have a handful of cashews for a snack, buy (or make) cashew butter, or add to cereals and salads.