What are cashew nuts? Do cashew nuts come from a fruit?


Cashews are a type of nut with a soft consistency and sweet flavor. Many people wonder if cashew nut is a nut or do cashew nuts come from a fruit? Keep reading this post to find out the answers.

What are cashews?

                                               Cashew apples

Cashews come from cashew trees, which are native to Brazil but are cultivated in a number of countries around the world.

They aren’t nuts though and are actually seeds that grow on the underside of cashew apples, also known as cashew fruits. Cashew nuts/seeds are encased in kidney-shaped shells that are surrounded by a number of toxic layers.

The Cashew nuts are primarily shelled by hand as they are often damaged when shelled mechanically. This manual processing is one reason that cashew nuts can be expensive to buy.

Cashews are great for your overall health because they are rich in vitamin K, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and a range of other healthy minerals. They are a great source of energy and 18 cashew nuts contain around 5 grams of protein – about 10% of the average daily intake requirements.

Cashews are different from peanuts as they contain minerals like copper, manganese, and magnesium. Some consider cashews to be a healthier alternative to peanuts as they have less omega-6 and more omega-3 fatty acids. Having a bad imbalance of these fatty acids is connected to inflammation and chronic disease

Cashew nuts are really the seeds of the cashew apple, which is the fruit of the cashew tree. Cashew apples are red or yellow, very tart, and often used in making alcohol or deserts. As the fruit of the cashew apple declines, it produces a drupe or seed at its tip. 

Do cashew nuts come from a fruit?

                                  Cashew fruit on the tree

Yes, actually cashew nuts come from is a fruit. To be specific, the cashews you might get in a pack of assorted nuts are the seeds of the cashew apple. The fruits grow on trees native to Brazil, but early explorers spread them all over the world. Today, cashew trees grow in Asia, Africa, and South America.

Contrary to their name, cashew nuts are actually a kind of seed. They come from cashew apples and are known for their high nutritional value and health benefits. Most of the health benefits connected to them are down to the healthy antioxidants and fatty acids contained in them. They are rich in copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and selenium. Cashews grow on fruit-producing trees which produce a ‘false fruit’ known as the cashew apple. The fruit resembles a small bell pepper being yellow to red in color.  At the base of the fruit is a kidney-bean-shaped hardshell with a single seed inside–the cashew nut.

The cashew nut we see in the market are actually the edible seeds of the cashew fruit. It’s kind of like buying apple seeds because those are the only edible part. Attached to the end of that ‘fruit’ is the actual, true cashew fruit – what we call the cashew nut. Only it’s the seed, with its casing. The casing cannot be eaten so it’s always removed before it reaches the store.

Raw and unprocessed cashews can be poisonous, and they shouldn’t be eaten without processing and cleaning. However, they are nutritious and delicious once they have been processed, offering many potent health benefits. The consumption of cashews is linked to improving cardiovascular health, weight loss, and reducing cholesterol.

Cashew nuts nutritional value

                            Cashew nuts with many nutritional values

Cashew nuts have high nutritional value that makes them good for you. Researchers with the Cleveland Clinic say an ounce/28 grams of cashew nut contains around 18 cashew nuts. The United States Department of Agriculture reports shows that one ounce of cashews contains 157 calories and 8.5 grams of carbs, meaning that each cashew nut has around 8 calories each. Cashew nuts are also great for digestion because 18 cashews have just under a gram (4% of your RDI) of dietary fiber.

What makes cashew nuts so healthy is their monounsaturated fatty acid content. These fatty acids offer a range of health benefits, and cashews have been shown to contain linoleic acid, oleic acid, and palmitoleic acid. Scientists suggest just an ounce of cashews a day can help to prevent heart disease.

Cashews also contain high levels of amino acids and proteins, which keep muscles and bones strong. 100 grams of cashews has 18 grams of protein, which is about a third of your overall RDI. Of course, given that 100 grams of cashews also contains 553 calories, consuming that much is inadvisable.

Cashews contain most of the minerals the body needs to be fit and healthy. An ounce of cashews contains 0.6mcg of copper (31% of RDI), 0.5mcg of manganese (23% of RDI), 82mg of magnesium (20% of RDI), and 166mg of phosphorous (17% RDI). The iron in cashews keeps blood healthy and prevents iron deficiency amenia. An ounce of cashews contains 2 mg of iron, which is 10% of the RDI of iron.

How to use cashew nuts?

                                              Raw cashew nuts

The cashew seed is used in all sorts of cooking, especially in countries where it is native. Culinary uses include curries, pastes, and marzipan and you can find recipes for anything from vanilla cashew ice cream to salsa. Most allergies to eating cashews are from the proteins in the nuts, this is because the itchy outer shell is removed, but cashews are often more “safe” than other edible seeds for those with food allergies.

Here are some ways to use cashew nuts:

  • Make homemade trail mix with a mixture of cashews and other nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
  • Make your own cashew butter (like peanut butter) by blending whole, raw cashews in a food processor until smooth
  • Top main dishes such as fish or chicken with a mixture of chopped cashews and herbs before baking
  • Mix cashews into your next salad or stir fry
  • Use cashew milk as an alternative to dairy milk

If you are looking for quality cashew nuts, do not hesitate to contact us. Vihaba is committed to providing international customers the best products

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