Sep 11, 2013

Cashews… the ultimate vegan choice.

Someone recently asked me why I use cashews so often in my recipes. Unfortunately, that person is allergic to them. The answer to her question is easy. Cashews, besides being very beneficial to one’s health, are the ultimate substitution for milk and cream in recipes that would ordinarily call for dairy products.

Yes, cashews—as is the case with most nuts—are high in fat. This is why many people shy away from them. However, the type of fats in nuts and seeds is extremely beneficial in many ways. Still, it’s best to limit your nut and seed intake to no more than 2 oz. per day, unless of course you are super active and burn many calories.

Following are some of the extraordinary health benefits of cashews, as well as links to some of my most popular recipes that use these versatile gems…

Cancer Prevention:
Cashews are loaded with proanthocyanidins, a class of flavanols that actually starve tumors and stop cancer cells from dividing. Studies have also shown that cashews can reduce the risk of colon cancer. They are also good sources of phytochemicals and antioxidants that protect us from heart disease and cancer.

Vegan, Soy-free Mac & Cheeze

Hair and Skin Health:
Cashews are rich in copper, which is an essential component of many enzymes. Copper plays its part in a broad array of processes. One copper-containing enzyme, tyrosinase, converts tyrosine to melanin, which is the pigment that gives hair and skin its color. Without the copper cashews are so abundant in, these enzymes would not be able to do their jobs.

Fettucini Mushroom Alfredo

Heart Health:
Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts and most of it is in the form of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. Studies show that oleic acid promotes good cardiovascular health by helping to reduce triglyceride levels. Cashews are cholesterol free and their high antioxidant content helps lower risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases. The magnesium in cashews helps lower blood pressure and helps prevent heart attacks.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Bone Health:
Cashews are very rich in magnesium. It’s a well-known fact that calcium is necessary for strong bones, but magnesium is as well. Most of the magnesium in the human body is in our bones. Some of it helps lend bones their physical structure, and the remainder is located on the surface of the bone where it is stored for the body to use as it needs. And the copper found in cashews is vital for the function of enzymes involved in combining collagen and elastin, which provides substance and flexibility in bones and joints.

Vegan Cream Cheese

Nervous System Support:
Another benefit from the rich source of magnesium in cashews is that it prevents calcium from rushing into nerve cells and activating them. Magnesium keeps our nerves relaxed and thereby our blood vessels and muscles too. Too little magnesium means too much calcium can gain entrance to the nerve cell, causing it to send too many messages, and leading to too much contraction.

Insufficient magnesium leads to higher blood pressure, muscle tension, migraine headaches, soreness and fatigue. Not surprisingly, studies have demonstrated that magnesium helps diminish the frequency of migraine attacks, lowers blood pressure and helps prevent heart attacks.

Russian Salad Dressing

Gallstone Prevention:
Data collected on 80,718 women from the Nurses’ Health Study demonstrates that women who eat at least an ounce of nuts each week, such as cashews, have a 25% lower risk of developing gallstones.

Vegan Fudgesicles

Weight Loss:
People who eat nuts twice a week are much less likely to gain weight than those who rarely eat nuts. This is attributable to the ideal fat ratio in the nut, 1:2:1 for saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated, respectively, which is recommended for good health. As mentioned above, cashews contain less fat than most other popular nuts, including peanuts, pecans, almonds and walnuts. They are dense in energy and high in dietary fiber, making them a very valuable snack for managing weight.

Blueberry Bliss Smoothie

I have many recipes on this blog that do not use cashews, too! But for a dairy substitute, they really can’t be beat. The best source that I have found for raw cashews, at a great price, can be found on my Amazon store here: RAW CASHEWS

If you are allergic to nuts, then try incorporating healthy, raw seeds into your diet instead. Of course, always check with your physician before making any dietary changes. Also, if you can’t eat cashews, but can have other nuts, macadamia nuts can easily be substituted in all of my recipes that call for cashews. Just be sure to soak the macadamias for a few hours prior to using.

9.11.01 ~ Never forget,

4 responses to “Cashews… the ultimate vegan choice.”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Helyn,

    I too am allergic to cashews they make my mouth itch. I am experimenting with other types of nuts. I have not tried macadamias will try them this week. Imagine someone 48 years old and never had nuts. You have inspired me.

    Thanks again, Pamela

  2. Helyn says:

    You're welcome, Pamela! Let me know how the macadamias work for you!!

  3. I should show this to my husband who is already a huge cashew fan, he will turn my house into a cashew house 🙂
    He will drool on all the cashew recipe pictures too and make me try them all 😉

  4. Helyn says:

    Haha! You made me laugh Mini. Let me know how it goes! :))

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