We all know cashews are delicious, but their potential heart health benefits may still be unknown to most people. This article brings you the latest findings on the potential heart-positive effects of eating these nuts. But first, let’s take a look at their nutritional value.
Cashews NUTritional Value
The USDA National Nutrient Database says that one ounce of raw cashews has 157 calories, 8.56 grams of carbs, 1.68 grams of sugar, 0.9 grams of fiber, 5.17 grams of protein, and 12.43 grams of fat.
As for the mineral content, cashews contain potassium (187mg,) phosphorus (168mg,) magnesium (83mg,) calcium (10mg,) sodium (3mg,) iron (1.89mg) and zinc (1.64mg). These delicious snacks also have vitamins C and B.
Now that we’re aware of the cashews’ nutritional value, how can we tell what makes this food healthy for the heart? We can find the answer in numerous scientific studies.
What Does the Science Say?
Studies suggest that regular intake of cashews may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including strokes. Overall, researchers agree that eating more nuts could have positive effects on the heart. One Harvard Medical School study showed that consuming two ounces of nuts per day may lower LDL cholesterol (the bad one) by up to 5%.
On the other hand, other studies found a link between consuming nuts and reduced blood cholesterol levels. A 2019 study on the effects of daily cashew consumption in type 2 diabetes patients showed that those who get 10% of their daily calorie intake from cashews had lower LDL to HDL (good cholesterol) ratios than the control group who didn’t.
Another 2017 study reports that eating cashews increases HDL levels and lowers the total and LDL cholesterol levels. The researchers conclude that daily consumption of cashews as a substitute for high-carb snacks could be an effective strategy to manage total and LDL cholesterol levels.
A 2018 study also showed that cashew consumption could reduce blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes.
However, some reports suggest that the cashew lowering effects on bad cholesterol are rather inconclusive. For example, a 2019 review indicated that cashews had zero effect on total and LDL cholesterol levels. However, it found that rating cashews daily may lower blood pressure and triglycerides (fats stored in the blood).
As you can see, the scientific space is somewhat divided over the benefits of cashews on heart health. The main reason is a lack of long-term and more detailed studies.
However, it wouldn’t hurt to eat a balanced diet that includes nuts to make sure you get all the potential benefits.
Add More Nuts to Your Diet
Cashews aren’t the only nuts with potential heart health benefits. A 2018 study on the relation between nut consumption and cardiovascular disease. The researchers found that weekly consumption of peanuts and walnuts results in a 13 to 19% lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. In particular, there’s a 15 to 23% reduced risk of coronary heart disease in those who eat those nuts two or three times a week.
This just proves that all nuts can be beneficial if consumed regularly. So the next time you’re shopping for snacks, you may want to make a stop at the trail mix section.
Cashews Are Worth It
Cashews may not be the most affordable snack, but consuming a few portions of these healthy treats each week may have tremendous effects on your heart. Besides lowering bad cholesterol, these nuts may also regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing more severe cardiovascular diseases.
Although more research is needed to prove these facts, there’s no denying cashews’ high nutritional value and supreme taste!