Gently sweet, crisp and delicious cashews are Packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins necessary for good health! The name cashew (cashew) came from the English language, in his homeland, in Brazil the tree was called caju (Portuguese) or acaju in the language of the Indians, which means yellow fruit.

In other countries, entrenched its own name cashew, for example in Venezuela merey, Spanish speaking countries in South America – maran.

Botanical features

Growing cashew trees belonging to the Anacardiaceae family (the same family owns mango, pistachio), Anacardium genus, scientific name Anacardium occidentale (Western Anacardium). It is an evergreen spreading tree reaching a height of 12 m, but most trees not more than 7 m.

The tree is very unpretentious, grows on any soil and even sand, can withstand prolonged drought. Natural habitat – tropical forests in the North of Brazil. Later it began to grow around the world and now the largest producers of cashew nuts are Vietnam, India and Nigeria.

The fruit of the cashew tree is unusual in that its shape looks like an elongated pear, which is called the Apple-kazhu. This is actually the fruit and the peduncle, enlarged to the size of a decent pear (5-11 cm), it has a juicy, sour taste. Botany klassificeret it as pseudofact.

The true fruit of a length of 2-3 cm drupe, curved shape resembling a bean, grows from the Apple-kazhu. The nuts are cream white color with smooth surface textures are buttery delicate texture with pleasant sweet fruity aroma.

Looks – it’s funny, hanging on the pear tree, and from it sticking the worm (cashew nut in a hard shell).

To be precise, cashew covered with not one, but two shells:

  1. Outer – dark green, rather soft and smooth;
  2. Internal – tight shell, covered with cells.

The outer shell contains a caustic substance that can cause burns (phenolic resin, cardol, urushiol is a very strong caustic toxin). From the internal serlupi extract Kazhu or “cardall” – oil extracted from the shell of these arehaving fruit, found application in industry and medicine.

After collecting the nuts in the shell, baked it in the oven, in order to destroy urushiol, then extract the edible kernel.

Useful properties of cashew nuts

The cashew belongs to high-calorie foods, it contains 553 calories. High calorie due to the high content of fat (43 grams per 100 grams of nuts). The fats of cashew nuts rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, palmitoleic acids, omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 polyunsaturated (arachidonic, oleic, etc.). These essential fatty acids help lower harmful LDL-cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol, prevent thrombosis. All this helps improve blood lipid profile and prevents diseases of blood vessels, strokes and heart attacks.

In addition, polyunsaturated fatty acids included in the composition of the cashew, a positive effect on the brain, improving the condition of the membranes of nerve cells.

Cashews are rich in many essential vitamins such as Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), Riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamin (vitamin B1). Pyridoxine reduces the risk of homocystinuria and sideroblastnoj anemia. Niacin helps prevent “pellagra”, dermatitis, used as auxiliary agent in the treatment of psoriasis. In addition, these vitamins are essential for metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates at the cellular level.

Cashews a great source of essential minerals. The nuts contain manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. A handful of cashew nuts a day in the diet would provide enough of these minerals to prevent deficiency. Selenium is an essential trace mineral that functions as a cofactor for antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body. Copper is a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome C-oxidase and superoxide dismutase ( this enzyme is also required manganese and zinc). Magnesium has a beneficial effect on the nervous system, essential for mental and physical exertion, useful for women with painful premenstrual syndrome.

Zinc is a cofactor in many enzymes that regulate growth, development, upgrade, sperm digestion and synthesis of nucleic acids. Zinc is necessary for healthy hair and skin.

In addition, nuts also contain a small amount of Zeaxanthin is an important flavonoid antioxidant, which selectively absorbed in the macula of the retina. It provides antioxidant protection to the optic nerve of filtering UV rays and helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the elderly.

The presence of anachronous acid, Cardona, cardanol in the shell of the cashew is deadly to Gram-positive bacteria that cause dental abcess, even in miniscule concentrations. At high concentrations, for 30 minutes kills even tuberculosis bacteria.

Recently, cashew was discovered proanthocyanidins, a substance that is the strongest scatterers of free radicals, overwhelming the growth of cancer cells and prevent, for example, development of colon cancer.

Every nation finds in the cashew useful property necessary for:

  • In Brazil it is considered an aphrodisiac;
  • In Haiti it is used as a remedy for tooth pain, they treat inflammation of the throat;
  • In Africa it is used for tattooing and removing warts;
  • In Mexico they discolor freckles;
  • In India, from its flowers, make moonshine, and from the seeds an antidote for snakes.

Cashew is one of the few products that uses all parts of the plant, without exception: wood used in shipbuilding because it is resistant to rot; of the fruit yield an oil used in medicine; from the trunks of old trees produce the gum.

The damage of cashew nuts

Some people, especially children, have giperchuvstvitelnost to the cashews. Their use causes them allergies, the symptoms vary from mild itching (hives) to severe form of anaphylactic manifestations, including breathing difficulty, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.

Allergic manifestations are due to chemical compound – anachronous acid, which contains the seed of a double shell. This phenolic resin is the nearest “relative” which is another well-known allergen urushiol.

Despite the fact that allergic to cashews is less than for other types of nuts and peanuts, so people with allergic reactions should exercise caution.

Cleaning of walnut is not an easy task as it might seem at first glance – cleaning cashews, you can burn your hands, so such a serious thing to trust only to professionals.

Selecting and storing

Cashew nuts available in the market all year round. In the stores, only shelled kernel, since the shell contains phenolic resin, urushiol, which is a very strong skin irritant.

There are various forms of cashew: raw, salty, sweet, glazed, etc. you need to Buy shelled walnuts light cream color, uniform in size and feel heavy in hand. They must be free of cracks, mold, spots and rancid smell.

Store shelled nuts need inside an airtight container in the fridge, so they are not rancid. Under ideal conditions, fresh nuts can be stored for 5-6 months. If the nuts are frozen and stored in a freezer, the shelf life is extended to a year.

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