Cashews

Cashews

CashewsCashews are often described to be delicious and crunchy nuts. Cashew nuts are a source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and provide the body with an energy boost. These nutrients are essential for a healthy body and cashews are therefore recommended to be added to your diet. Besides the fact that cashews can be eaten just like that, you can also add cashews to savory or sweet dishes, depending on your taste of preference.

Description

Cashew nuts are particularly known for their unique shape. There is no other type of nut which has the same shape as cashew nuts. Cashews are actually seeds which grow at the bottom of the cashew apple. Not many people know about the cashew apple. This is the case because the cashew apple is not sold in stored. The cashew apple can be found in the coastal areas of Brazil. Although not known by many people in the world, the cashew apple is actually considered to be a delicacy in Brazil and in the Caribbean. Cashew nuts have the shape of a kidney. They have a unique flavor and have a firm texture. Cashew nuts are sold in stored without their shells in stores or on markets. This is due to the fact that the shell cannot be eaten. The shell contains a caustic resin which needs to be removed before the cashew nuts are sold. This caustic resin is also referred to as cashew balm. This cashew balm is used in different industries to make insecticides or varnishes, for example. Cashew nuts belong the same family as pistachio nuts. This family is called anacardium occidentale. It is not only nuts which belong to this family, since the mango fruit is also considered to be part of this family.

History

The cashew tree was first spotted in the coast areas of Brazil. It is for this reason that many people have concluded that the tree is native to this country. Around the 16th century, Portuguese explorers transported cashew trees from Brazil to different regions in the world. For example, they brought them to tropical regions in Asia as well as in Africa. The introduction of cashew trees by the Portuguese in these regions has led to the fact that these trees are now cultivated in these areas. Cashew nuts, as well as the cashew tree, are an expensive resource. This is due to the high quality wood of the trees. Besides the fact that the wood is of good quality, the cashew tree has different parts which can be used. For example, cashew balm and the cashew apples can both be used. Another reason why cashew nuts are expensive is because they take a long time to grow. Cashew trees usually take three to five years before they bear nuts. After that it takes another eight to ten weeks before the fruits are fully developed. Brazil is still considered to be one of the main commercial producers of cashews in the world. Mozambique, Nigeria, India and Tanzania are also amongst the top cashew producers in the world.

Health benefits

Cashew nuts are a source of magnesium as well as many other nutrients which have positive effects on the human body. While many people know that calcium is needed in order to have strong bones, many people are not aware of the role of magnesium with regards to healthy and strong bones. Over sixty percent of the magnesium present in our bodies is found in our bones. Magnesium does not only help to give bones their physical structure, but can also be found on the surface of our bones. This is in order for our body to draw upon this magnesium whenever needed. Magnesium also balances calcium. This means that the combination of magnesium and calcium helps to regulate the muscle tone and nerves. Different researchers have found that magnesium serves as a calcium channel blocker in the bones. Magnesium prevents calcium from getting into the nerve cell and thereby prevents the activation of these nerves. By doing so, our nerves remain relaxed. If calcium does enter the nerve cells, this could cause contraction. Thus, it is important to consume enough magnesium in order to prevent calcium from getting entrance into the nerve cells and activating them. Moreover, a lack of magnesium in our bodies can cause high blood pressure and muscle spasms. People have also been diagnosed with intense migraine headaches, fatigue and muscle cramps.


Cashews and maintaining weight

Cashew nuts, together with other different kinds of nuts, are known for having a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. While people are aware of this, many avoid eating nuts because they fear they will gain weight. This assumption has been proven to be groundless. Although nuts contain a high number of calories, when eaten in regular amounts one does not have to fear weight gain. A study was conducted amongst almost 9000 men and women in Spain. This study concluded that the participants who ate nuts at least two times a week were less likely to gain weight. This was compared with people who never or almost never ate nuts. People who hardly eat any nuts are more likely to gain weight. There were a few participants who gained weight during this time. However it was still shown that people who hardly ever ate nuts gained an average of 0.5 kilograms more compared to people who ate nuts twice a week. Thus, one should not believe that nuts lead to weight gain. There are different ways to consume cashew nuts. You can spread some cashew nut butter on your sandwich in the morning. Another way is to replace peanut butter with cashew butter when making a peanut and jelly sandwich. You can also have a handful of cashew nuts as a snack any moment of the day. Many people also like to add cashews to their cereal in the morning or to a salad eaten during lunchtime.

How to select and store

Cashew nuts are not to be stored differently compared to other nuts. There are a few things you should pay attention to when buying cashews in the store. Cashews can be bought in the supermarket or at a store where they specialize in nuts. These specialized stored often offer a wide variety of nuts in different flavors. For example, they might sell sugar-coated nuts, salted nuts or roasted nuts. While many supermarkets sell different types of nuts as well, they are usually prepackaged and you will not be guaranteed that they are fresh. However, since most towns do not have a specialized nut store, most people tend to buy cashew nuts in the supermarket. When buying cashew nuts in the supermarket, pay attention to the fact that the containers in which they are sold is airtight. If the cashew nuts have been exposed to humidity or sunlight, they usually dry out rather fast and they will not be as tasty. Also, when buying cashew nuts make sure that there is no sign of insect damage to the nuts. You can recognize this by checking whether there are small holes in the nuts. If so, the nuts have probably been in contact with insects and one should therefore not consume the nuts. Furthermore, cashews have a high content of oleic acid. This high content of oleic acid causes cashews to be more stable compared to other types of nuts. However, it is still recommended to store cashews in the fridge or in the freezer. Cashew butter should always be stored in the refrigerator in order to prevent it from melting.

Culinary use of cashews

There are different ways to add cashews to your diet. Some ways have been mentioned above, but since cashews can be very versatile this section will provide a few more different ways. Cashews provide a great and healthy snack when they are mixed with dried fruits, raisins and other types of nuts. In South East Asia, cashews are often added to stir fry dishes. For example, before taking off sautéed vegetables form the heat, add a handful of cashew to the dish to provide an extra crunch to the dish. If you want to make a dish which is inspired on the Thai kitchen, add green beans, basil and shrimp together. Once everything has been sautéed, add some cashews and your dish will look as if it has been made by a Thai chef. Another way of eating cashews is to combine them with maple syrup. The combination of cashews and maple syrup can be used on top of a dessert of you can add it to your hot cereal. If you want to make a delicious sauce for your vegetables, fish or rice you can also use cashews. In a saucepan mix cayenne pepper, soy cause, ginger, garlic, water and cashew butter and put it at low-medium heat. Let it cook for a while and then add it to your preferred dish. It is also possible to roast cashews at home. Turn the oven on at 75 degrees and leave cashews in the oven for no longer than 20 minutes, in order for the nuts to preserve their healthy oils.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 961x
Added: 22-10-2016 20:18
Last modified: 09-11-2016 22:28

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