Cashews, sometimes known as cashew nuts, are popular dry fruits eaten around the world. It can be found as part of a sweet dish, as part of a snack, or as a topping on a vegetarian or meat-filled dish. Consuming cashews is very good for your health because they contain vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Just like anything else, however, the key is moderation as there are disadvantages of eating cashew nuts, especially if you eat too many at a time.
High Sodium Content
Eating too many of this food can cause side effects, such as consuming too much sodium. An adult just needs 1,500 milligrams of sodium every day with an upper limit of 2,300 milligrams. An ounce of unsalted cashews has 5 milligrams, but salted cashews may have an extra 87 grams per ounce. If you eat several ounces, this quickly adds up, particularly combined with other sodium-rich foods. Consuming too much sodium can lead to stroke, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or heart disease.
The number of people with allergies to cashews is increasing. The concerning part about the study from “Allergy,” a medical journal is that many young kids without any exposure to cashews may be affected. The other big issue is that anaphylaxis, the concerning constriction of the airways, happens more frequently with cashew allergies than it does with peanut allergies.
Potential Drug Interactions
Because of their high magnesium content, about 82.5 milligrams per ounce, there are many potential drug interactions that account for one of the disadvantages of cashew nuts. Quinolone antibiotics like ciprofloxacin, for example, bind with magnesium stopping the antibiotic from being fully absorbed. Magnesium can also interact with medications for blood pressure or calcium channel blockers, which increases the risk of side effects such as water retention and nausea. The magnesium in cashews can also cause interactions with penicllamine, diuretics, thyroid mediations, and diabetic medicines.
Risk of Weight Gain
While cashews are healthy, large portion sizes can easily lead to weight gain. A one-ounce portion has 163 calories and plenty of health unsaturated fats. If you consume these healthy fats in quantities greater than moderation, you may gain weight. Weight gain in turn increases the risk of diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, stroke, and other conditions.
Dangers of Raw Cashews
You probably won’t find cashews raw or sold in their shell, and for good reason. Never eat raw cashews as they are related to poison sumac and poison ivy. The oils found on the shells can lead to an itchy and unpleasant reaction. Luckily, deshelling and then roasting cashews at a high temperature destroys lingering toxic oils, making them safe to eat. This is another one of disadvantages of cashew nuts.
Lack of a Balanced Diet
In order to thrive, you need to consume a range of nutrients. If you eat too many cashews, you won’t be able to get other crucial foods. The USDA suggest consuming only 5.5 ounces of foods high in protein, like fish, nuts, tofu, and beans. They also say that the healthiest choice is a variety of those items. Additionally, you need to get enough vegetables, fruits, and grains, so don’t let cashews dominate what you eat.
Risk of High Blood Pressure
Going back to the sodium in cashews, a single serving of these salted nuts may have 181 milligrams of sodium. Eating them in moderation is fine, but have too many quickly brings you past your recommended salt intake, putting you at risk of blood pressure spikes.
Those who already suffer from migraines and headaches will find disadvantages of cashew nuts to include worsening the issue. The nuts have amino acids phenyethyamine and tyramine. They usually help maintain your blood pressure levels and make you feel good, but those with a sensitivity to them can experience head pain due to the amino acids.
Potential Kidney Stones
Cashews also have plenty of oxalate salts, something which negatively impact how the body absorbs calcium. Calcium your body doesn’t absorb can cause kidney stones to form.
Nutrition Facts of Cashews
To get an idea for the nutritional content of cashews, consider the following quantities of various nutrients found in 100 grams of these nuts:
Health Benefits of Cashews
Keeping the above nutritional information in mind, cashews can be a healthy part of your diet. They are a good source of proteins and monounsaturated fats. They are also loaded with minerals and vitamins. The combined result is that eating cashews can have numerous health benefits.
About 75 percent of the fat found in cashews is in the form of unsaturated fatty acids, with 75 percent of that being oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. Oleic acid promotes your heart health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Multiple studies have shown that monounsaturated fats in a low-fat diet reduce high levels of triglycerides. Triglyceride is the type of fat that carries fat in the blood, meaning that high levels increase a person’s risk of heart disease. Consuming these monounsaturated fats is also healthy for those with diabetes.
A study from the Nurses’ Health Study followed 80,000 women and discovered that those who consumed around one ounce of nuts daily had a 25-percent lower risk of gallstones.
Eating cashews destroys bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease. They can therefore help with healthy teeth and overall dental care.
Antioxidants work to get rid of free radicals which destroy cell membranes and are free radical scavengers. Since free radicals destroy your cell membranes, they are harmful, and can be connected to certain cancers.
The adequate quantities of magnesium in cashews help prevent migraines, headaches, high blood pressure, muscle spasms, and fatigue. Magnesium is also responsible for controlling the quantity of calcium that are infused within the nerves, ensuring their smooth functioning.
Copper assist with melanin production and energy. It is also a pigment that gives color to the hair and skin, and is crucial for developing connective tissue and bone. It even helps with some of the body’s other physiological processes.
There are both advantages and disadvantages of cashew nuts. You don’t have to completely avoid this food, but should consume them in moderation. Your doctor can help you determine how many cashews you should eat.