Raw Cashew Pieces
With high levels of magnesium, calcium and potassium, cashews also promote strong bones, while the Vitamin K-2 in the nuts helps the body absorb these bone-friendly minerals. Cashews are major sources of such other essential minerals as copper, iron and zinc – often found deficient in many diets. These minerals help boost immune function and combat such ailments as arthritis, anemia, hypothyroidism and osteoporosis. In addition, the nut contains significant amounts of zeaxanthin and lutein, which help protect the eyes against UV damage.
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Naturally rich and nutrient-loaded, raw cashew pieces add flavor and texture to entrees and dessert toppings alike. They’re also a healthy snack, whether eaten raw, roasted, salted or paired with other nuts and fruits. Many of the health benefits stem from monounsaturated fatty acids, common to many nuts. These fats reduce dangerous LDL cholesterol levels, while boosting protective high-density cholesterol, which can cleanse coronary arteries of harmful plaque. The magnesium in cashews further serves the heart by lowering blood pressure.
Technically, the cashew is not a nut at all, but the seed of the cashew “apple” the fruit of the cashew tree. This fruit is itself edible. However it is rarely enjoyed beyond cashew growing locales, because the fruit spoils quickly after picking. The cashew seed is encased in a hard, inedible shell, which must be picked by hand. Originating in the Brazilian rainforest, the cashew tree was introduced to the Old World by Portuguese sailors in the 16th century. Vietnam, India, Nigeria and Ivory Coast now number among the world’s top cashew producers. Cashews figure in many Asian dishes, where the mashed, soaked nuts thicken curries and soups.