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Cashew Fruit
Cashew Tree
Cashew Tree

History of Cashews

Cashews were first cultivated in Brazil, where Portuguese inhabitants discovered them and brought them back to parts of India sometime around 1560 and 1565. From India, cashews spread throughout Southeast Asia and eventually made their way to America and Africa.

The cashew tree is now widely grown in tropical regions around the world, especially in parts of India, Nigeria, Vietnam, the Ivory Coast and Indonesia. The modern-day name cashew derives from the Portuguese word for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which translates in Portuguese to “nut that produces itself.”

Cashews are considered drupes that grows at the end of the cashew apple fruit. The drupe develops first on the cashew apple tree and then expands to become the cashew apple. The apple itself has a sharp taste and delicate skin, therefore it doesn’t transport well and isn’t commonly eaten. In some parts of the world, however, like Brazil and regions in Africa, cashew apples are actually considered healing delicacies and are used for their natural medicinal qualities like fighting bacteria.

Not only are cashews one of the best-tasting and most versatile nuts there is, but they also come loaded with health benefits. Cashews nutrition benefits include the ability to improve heart health, support healthy brain functioning, and improve digestion and nutrient absorption. Plus, they might even be able to help you lose weight. (1)

Cashew consumption has increased in recent years in most Western countries, most likely because nuts in general are repeatedly ranked as some of the healthiest foods there are and an important addition to your diet in order to prevent a wide range of chronic diseases. One of the best things about cashews is that they taste great in both sweet and savory recipes, so consuming them along with other versatile nuts like almonds or walnuts is a breeze.

 

Cashew Nuts
Cashew Nuts

Cashews Nutrition Facts

Cashews, which are actually seeds as opposed to nuts, are light-colored and kidney-shaped nuts we often see in trail mixes. They’re actually the fruit of the tropical tree called Anacardium occidentale that produces the bitter-tasting cashew apple. Cashews have been used in traditional medicine systems for centuries to heal various ailments, including poor heart health and diabetes. They’re native to coastal Brazil and today are popular across the globe, especially in Asian cuisine.

Due to their high nutrient density and supply of many vital minerals, cashews and other nuts are often recommended most often to improve heart health. Cashews are rich in unsaturated fatty acids and numerous other beneficial compounds, including plant-based protein; dietary fiber; minerals like copperzinc and magnesium; plus antioxidants in the form of phytosterols and phenolic compounds. The composition of the cashew kernel is about 21 percent protein, 46 percent fat and 25 percent carbohydrates (a portion of which is indigestible fiber), making it a filling, high-protein and high-fat food choice.

One of the key factors of cashews nutrition is their healthy fat content. Cashews are primarily made up of unsaturated fats in the form of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs that contain oleic acid) plus a smaller proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAS mostly in the form of linoleic acid). Roughly 62 percent of the cashew’s fats are monounsaturated fat, 18 percent polyunsaturated fats and the rest a mix of saturated fats. (2)

Because of the positive effects of MUFAs and PUFAs on metabolism and other bioactive functions, many studies associate cashew consumption (and nut consumption in general) with a reduced risk for coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

 ¼ cup serving of cashews has roughly: (3)

  • 196 calories
  • 5 grams of protein
  • 1 gram offiber
  • 16 grams of fat
  • 750 milligrams copper (84 percent DV)
  • 89 milligrams magnesium (33 percent DV)
  • 167 milligramsphosphorus (28 percent DV)
  • 9 milligramszinc (23 percent DV)
  • 27 milligramsmanganese (15 percent DV)
  • 11 milligrams vitamin K(12 percent DV)
  • 2 milligrams iron(11 percent DV)
  • 23 milligrams folate(6 percent DV)

 

Cashew Fruit
Cashew Fruit

Cashews Nutrition Health Benefits

 

1. Fight Heart Disease

Frequent cashew consumption can help lower your risk for many of the biggest risks associated with heart disease, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity. Cashews are believed to have beneficial effects on oxidative stress levels, inflammation and vascular/arterial activity that promote a healthy heart. (4)

Cashews can help lower LDL cholesterol (considered the dangerous kind) and improve HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind). They contain special phytosterol compounds, which play an important structural role in cell membranes where they stabilize cells and interfere with cholesterol absorption. This is responsible for their cholesterol-lowering abilities and the reason cashews may be able to help prevent the formation of plaque within artery walls. Cashews are also associated with lowered triglyceride levels and reduced levels of inflammation, all of which help protect you from heart disease, heart attacks or stroke.

 

2. Help Prevent Gallstones

Some research has found that eating nuts weekly, including cashews, can help lower the risk for having gallstones. Gallstones are associated with healthy cholesterol levels; they’re caused by hardened cholesterol, a result of too much cholesterol being present within the bile that circulates through the digestive tract. (5) Normally, your liver doesn’t secrete a high enough amount of cholesterol to harden and form stones, but when liver health is poor, cholesterol can essentially act like glue, hardening and binding together with other substances like calcium inside the gallbladder.

 

  1. Can Help with Weight Loss or Maintenance

Nuts have a high total fat content, — cashews are made of approximately 46 percent fat — but they’re also very nutrient-dense and provide a lot of important minerals and fatty acids that support weight loss. Cashews can help you feel fuller after a meal, which is beneficial for curbing food cravings, overeating and unhealthy snacking. Fats in general make food more satisfying and increase nutrient absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin D.

Cashews are also a good source of plant-based protein (somewhere around 25 percent of the nut is made up of amino acids), partially in the form of beneficial amino acid L-arginine, which is a precursor of nitric oxide known to help improve vascular reactivity and circulation. Improved blood flow helps draw toxins out from the digestive system and can add to an improved metabolism, higher energy and better digestive health.

 

  1. Help Maintain Bone Health

Cashews nutrition benefits include bone health improvement due to the presence of calciummagnesium and potassium, together with a low sodium intake. These are associated with protection against bone demineralization. Cashews’ bone-building benefits also come from their supply of vitamin K.

Cashews provide over 12 percent of your daily vitamin K needs in just a ¼ cup serving — working as a great source to prevent vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K works with other essential minerals like calcium to support bone mineralization and maintain bone mineral density, which can help protect you from bone fractures and osteoporosis.

 

5. May Help Prevent Colon, Prostate and Liver Cancers

Regularly eating nuts, including cashews, is associated with a lower risk for certain common cancers, especially cancers that occur in the digestive tract, including liver and colon cancers.

Nuts are good sources of antioxidant vitamins (for example, tocopherols and certain phenolic compounds, which are mostly stored in the shells of cashews and nuts) needed to protect the body from high levels of free radical damage that causes oxidative stress, potentially contributing to DNA damage, cell mutation and cancerous tumor formation.

 

6. Support Healthy Brain Function

The brain is made up of mostly fat and relies on a steady supply of healthy fatty acids within the diet. Nuts are one of the natural plant foods richest in fat and support cognitive function, healthy aging and mood regulation.

Several dietary components of cashews can help support cognitive abilities and multiple brain processes by regulating neurotransmitter pathways, synaptic transmission and membrane fluidity, particularly the healthy fats in cashews but also trace minerals like zinciron and copper. (6) Dietary deficiency of healthy MUFA and PUFA fatty acids has even been associated with increased risk of several mental disorders such as ADHDanxiety or depression, dyslexia and dementia.

 

7. Lower the Risk for Diabetes 

Cashews are a great source of MUFA fats, which slow the rate at which blood is released into the bloodstream. The anti-diabetic properties of cashews nutrition is partially due to the active ingredients called hydroethanolic extract in the form of anacardic acid, which stimulates glucose transport and control. (7) Hydro-ethanolic extract of cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) nut and its principal compound, anacardic acid, stimulate glucose uptake. Cashews also help lower levels of inflammation, and studies show that a diet higher in nuts results in lower circulation of inflammatory biomarkers that can contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes formation. Additionally, cashew nutrition benefits include the ability to prevent or treat other complications of diabetes including arterial hypertension, obesity and cardiovascular risk.

 

8. Help Prevent Migraine Headaches

Cashews help support healthy brain function and improve blood circulation while lowering blood pressure. Nuts also provide plant-based phytosterols, which are beneficial for reducing headache duration and occurrence. Additionally, cashews fight rapid changes in blood sugar and hypoglycemia, another well-recognized trigger for migraines. (8)

 

  1. Help Maintain Healthy Skin 

Cashews nutrition supports healthy skin due to the presence of healthy essential fatty acids. Healthy sources of fat are needed to keep skin hydrated and free from irritation, flaking and premature aging.

Cashews are also a high source of copper, which helps with the production of the skin and hair pigment called melanin, as well as the formation of collagen, which supports skin’s elasticity and defenses against aging.

 How to Buy and Store Cashews

When it comes to which types of cashews to buy, look for raw cashews if possible, with plain “dry roasted” cashews being your second best option. Blanching cashews and other nuts, especially when their shells are removed or cracked open, can destroy most of their antioxidants more so than roasting usually does. All cashews sold to customers have their outer shells removed because they’re considered “toxic” and likely to hold bacteria.

You definitely want to avoid cashews or other nuts that are coated in vegetable oils (usually rancid and hydrogenated oils) or sugar and other artificial additives. This is usually the case when you buy premade trail mixes, so check the label carefully that no extra sugar, preservatives, hydrogenated vegetable oil, chemicals or preservatives have been added to your cashews or cashew butter.

Cashews are considered more stable than many other types of nuts because they have a high content of oleic acid, but it’s still a good idea to store them in a tightly sealed container and away from heat in order to prolong their freshness. Many people even like to refrigerate or freeze their nuts, nut butters and nut flours to retain the most nutrients possible.

Here are some other types of products made from cashews that you might also want to seek out:

  • Cashew “butter” — a great alternative to peanut butter, this is made by soaking and blending cashews. Salt should be the only other ingredient added.
  • Cashew flour — made by drying and grinding cashews, this can be used in similar ways to almond meal. Try combining it withcoconut flour or other gluten-free flours to make muffins, pancakes or other treats.
  • Cashew milk — this is a good alternative to almond milk,coconut milk or dairy milk if you avoid lactose and conventional (pasteurized) dairy. It’s a bit creamier than almond milk and is free of sugar and lactose as long as you buy an unsweetened version.

 

Cashew Allergies, Interactions and Concerns

For some people, cashews and other tree nuts can potentially cause complications or allergic reactions. Allergic reactions to nuts can sometimes even be life-threatening, although the majority of people with no known nut allergies experience no negative reactions to eating cashews. If you have a known nut allergy, carefully avoid cashews and other tree nuts until you’re tested for reactions to all types of nuts, since an allergy to one type usually means reactions can occur when eating other types, too.

Anyone who has an existing condition of kidney stones might also need to avoid cashews or carefully monitor their nut consumption in general because cashews naturally contain gastric and intestinal soluble oxalates that can make kidney problems worse.

 

Guava
Guava
Guava

15 Amazing Guava Benefits: Heart Healthy, Weight Loss Friendly and More

 

Have not all of us enjoyed a plateful of guavas sprinkled with chaat masala atop? Nothing else can match up to the luscious jams, jellies and murabbas laced with an intoxicating strong-sweet fragrance. Undeniably, it is one fruit which always got enough lauding from our grandmothers. Guava, popularly known as amrood in Hindi, comes loaded with tiny hard seeds at the center. It is believed to have its genesis in Central America where it is alternatively known as “sand plum”. It is round or oval in shape with light green or light yellow skin, and the colour of its flesh varies from white or pink to dark red and has edible seeds.

Besides its unique flavour and fragrance, guava has been hailed as one of the super fruits due to the numerous health benefits it offers. It indeed is a powerhouse of nutrients. “This humble fruit is extraordinarily rich in vitamin C, lycopene and antioxidants that are beneficial for skin

. Guavas are also rich in manganese which helps the body to absorb other key nutrients from the food that we eat. Guavas contain folate, a mineral which helps promote fertility. The potassium in guavas helps normalise blood pressure levels as well. In fact, a banana and a guava contain almost the same amount of potassium. Since it contains about 80% of water it helps keep your skin hydrated”, says Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja, Sukhda Hospital. Here are 15 mind-blowing guava benefits for health and skin you need to know.

 

Guava for Health

  1. Immunity Booster

Did you know: Guavas are one of the richest sources of vitamin C? It’s true. Guavas contain 4 times the vitamin C content present in oranges. Vitamin C helps improve immunity and protects you against common infections and pathogens.

  1. Lowers Risk of Cancer

 

Guava
Guava

“Lycopene, quercetin, vitamin C and other polyphenols act as potent antioxidants which neutralise free radicals generated in the body, preventing the growth of cancer cells Guavas have shown to be widely successful in reducing prostate cancer risk and also inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells since it is rich in lycopene”, says Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja.

  1. Diabetes-Friendly

Due to the rich fibre content and low glycaemic index guavas prevent the development of diabetes. While the low glycemic index inhibits a sudden spike in sugar levels, the fibre content ensures the sugar levels are well regulated.

  1. Heart Healthy

Guavas improve the sodium and potassium balance of the body, thereby regulating blood pressure in patients with hypertension. Guavas also help lower the levels of triglycerides and bad cholesterol (LDL), which contribute to the development of heart disease. This magical fruit improves levels of the good cholesterol (HDL).

  1. Treats Constipation

It is one of the richest sources of dietary fiber in comparison to other fruits and just 1 guava fulfills about 12% of your daily recommended intake of fibre, which makes it extremely beneficial for your digestive health. Guava seeds, if ingested whole or chewed, serve as excellent laxatives too, helping the formation of healthy bowel movements

.
6. Improves Eyesight
Due to the presence of Vitamin A, guava is well known as a booster for vision health. It can not only prevent degradation of eyesight, but even improve eyesight. It can help slow down the appearance of cataracts and macular degeneration. Even though guavas are not as rich in Vitamin A as carrots, they are still a very good source of the nutrient.

  1. Guava during Pregnancy

Guavas contain folic acid, or vitamin B-9, which is recommended for pregnant women since it can help in developing the baby’s nervous system and protect the newborn from neurological disorders.

8. Beats Toothache
Guava leaves have a potent anti-inflammatory action and a powerful antibacterial ability which fights infection and kills germs. Thus, consuming guava leaves works as a fantastic home remedy for toothache. The juice of guava leaves has also been known to cure toothaches, swollen gums and oral ulcers.

  1. Stress-Buster

The magnesium present in guavas helps to relax the muscles and nerves of the body. So after a hard workout or a long day at the office, a guava is certainly what you need to relax your muscles, combat stress and give your system a good energy boost.

 

  1. Good for Your Brain

“Guavas contain vitamin B3 and vitamin B6, also known as niacin and pyridoxine respectively, which help in improving blood circulation to the brain, stimulating cognitive function and relaxing the nerves”, remarks Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja.

  1. Weight Loss

Want to shed a few pounds? Guava is just the ticket. Without compromising your intake of proteins, vitamins and fiber, guava helps you lose weight by regulating your metabolism. It’s a win-win! Guava makes for a very filling snack and satisfies the appetite very easily. Guava, especially raw guava, also has far less sugar as compared to apples, oranges, grapes, and other fruits.

12. Cough and Cold
Guava has one of the highest quantities of vitamin-C and iron among fruits, and both are proven to be preventive against cold and viral infections. The juice of raw and immature guavas or a decoction of guava-leaves is very helpful in relieving cough and cold

since it helps get rid of mucus and disinfects the respiratory tract, throat and lungs.

Guava for Skin

  1. Anti-Ageing Properties

Guavas are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and antioxidants like carotene and lycopene which help protect the skin from wrinkles. A guava a day, keeps fine lines away!

  1. Improves Complexion

Guava helps regain the skin’s radiance and freshness

. Reap the benefits by preparing a DIY scrub at home: All you have to do is mash some guava flesh with an egg yolk and apply it on your face. Rinse off after 20 minutes with warm water. When used once or twice a week, this scrub will remove dead cells from your skin and lighten your complexion. Guavas are also a great source of Vitamin K, which helps get rid of skin discoloration, dark circles, redness and acne irritation.

  1. Improves Texture

Guavas rank high in astringent properties, guava leaves and unripe guavas even higher. Guava helps tone up and tighten the facial muscles, so apply a decoction of the leaves and fruit on your skin and voila!

Lemon
Lemon
Lemon

Health Benefits of Lemon

The health benefits of lemon include treatment of throat infections, indigestion, constipation, dental problems, and fever, internal bleeding, rheumatism, burns, obesity, respiratory disorders, cholera and high blood pressure, while it also benefits hair and skin care. Known for its therapeutic property since generations, lemons help to strengthen your immune system, cleanse your stomach, and it is considered a blood purifier.

Lemon juice, especially, has several health benefits associated with it. It is well known as a useful treatment for kidney stones, reducing strokes and lowering body temperature. As a refreshing drink, lemonade helps you to stay calm and cool.

The health benefits of lemons are due to its many nourishing elements like vitamin Cvitamin B6vitamin Avitamin E, folate, niacin thiamin, riboflavinpantothenic acidcopper,  calciumiron,  magnesiumpotassiumzincphosphorus and protein. Lemon is a fruit that contains flavonoids, which are composites that contain antioxidant and cancer fighting properties. It helps to prevent diabetes, constipation, high blood pressure, fever, indigestion and many other problems, as well as improving the skin, hair, and teeth. Studies conducted at the American Urological Association highlight the fact that lemonade or lemon juice can eliminate the occurrence of kidney stones by forming urinary citrate, which prevents the formation of crystals.

People use lemons to make lemonade by mixing lemon juice and water. Many people also use lemon as a washing agent, because of its ability to remove stains. The scent of lemons can also repel mosquitoes, while drinking lemon juice with olive oil helps to get rid of gall stones. Lemon is well known for its medicinal power and is used in many different ways. As per the results reported in a study by the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, lemon provides protection against inflammatory polyarthritis and arthritis.

Various health benefits of lemon are explained below:

Indigestion and Constipation: Lemon juice helps to cure problems related to indigestion and constipation. Add a few drops of lemon on your dish (take care, it does not go well with milk), and it will aid in digestion. It acts as a blood purifier and a cleansing agent, so a good drink after lunch or dinner is fresh lemon soda, which is also called fresh lime soda in many places. The recipe is lemon juice, cold water, soda, salts (common salt or rock salt) and sugar/honey for sweetness. You can also add some mint leaves or crushed fennel seeds for added flavor. Drink this whenever you have

Fever: Lemon juice can treat a person who is suffering from a cold, flu or fever. It helps to break fevers by increasing perspiration.

Dental Care: It is also frequently used in dental care. If fresh lemon juice is applied on the area of a toothache, it can assist in getting rid of the pain. Massaging the juice on the gums can stop gum bleeding, while eliminating the bad odors that can come from various gum diseases and conditions.

Additionally, it can be used in the regular cleansing of your teeth. Keep your eye out for a toothpaste containing lemon as one of the ingredients, or add a drop of its juice onto your normal toothpaste. Some people also rub their teeth with the outer shell (the inner side touching your teeth) of a lemon after removing the juice. But be careful, lemons are highly acidic, so if your mouth starts burning, rinse your gums and mouth quickly with water.lemon

Hair Care: Lemon juice has proven itself in the treatment of hair care on a wide scale. The juice applied to the scalp can treat problems like dandruff, hair loss and other problems related to the hair and scalp. If you apply lemon juice directly on the hair, it can give your hair a natural shine.

Skin Care: Lemon juice, being a natural antiseptic medicine, can also cure problems related to the skin. The juice can be applied to reduce the pain of sun burn, and it helps to ease the pain from bee stings as well. It is also good for acne and eczema. It acts as an anti-aging remedy and can remove wrinkles and blackheads. Drinking lemon juice mixed with water and honey brings a healthy glow to the skin, and if you thoroughly search the cosmetic market, you will find some soaps containing lemon juice, but they aren’t too easy to find!

Burns: Use lemon juice on the site of old burns can help fade the scars, and since lemon is a cooling agent, it reduces the burning sensation on the skin when you currently have an irritating burn.

Internal Bleeding: It has antiseptic and coagulant properties, so it can stop internal bleeding. You can apply lemon juice to a small cotton ball and place it inside your nose to stop nose bleeds.

Weight Loss: If a person drinks lemon juice mixed with lukewarm water and honey, it can help reduce body weight.

Respiratory Disorders: Lemon juice assists in relieving respiratory problems and breathing problems, such as its ability to soothe a person suffering from an asthma attack. Being a rich source of vitamin C, it helps in dealing with more long-term respiratory disorders.

Cholera: Diseases like cholera and malaria can be treated with lemon juice, because it acts as a blood purifier.

Foot Relaxation: Lemon is an aromatic and antiseptic agent and is useful in foot relaxation. Add some lemon juice to warm water and dip your feet in the mixture for instant relief and muscle relaxation.

Rheumatism: It is also a diuretic and can treat rheumatism and arthritis. It helps to flush out bacteria and toxins from the body.

Corns: Lemon juice can dissolve lumps on the skin, so it can be applied at the places where the skin has hardened up, like the soles of feet and the palms of your hands. Drinking lemon juice with water can help patients reduce gall stones for the same reasons.

Throat Infections: Lemon is an excellent fruit that fights against problems related to throat infections, due to its well-known   antibacterial properties.

High Blood Pressure: Drinking lemon juice is helpful for people suffering from heart problems, because it contains potassium. It controls high blood pressure, dizziness, and nausea, because it provides a calming sensation to both the mind and body. It is commonly employed to reduce mental stress and depression.

Lemon: Lemon has proved to be nature’s boon to everyone who uses it. It provides many valuable solutions to health-related problems, because it contains its own set of antiseptic and natural medications. In case of malaria, lemon will not cure it, but aids in the treatment. A good practice is to eat anywhere from a quarter to a half of a lemon per day to get the maximum benefits from this powerful little fruit!

References: American Urological Association and Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases

 

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