We take a look at the nutritional benefits of this trendy nut
Cashew-strawberry cheesecake, cashew milk lattes, artisan smoky cashew cheese, cashew ice cream... Consumers around the world are finding creative uses for cashews. According to the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council, global demand pushed production to an all-time high of 738,861 tonnes in 2015/16. Just a handful of countries harvest cashews, but consumers captivated by their creamy, sweet and salty flavour span coast to coast in Canada.
While some people may eat cashews as a preference, many turn to the tropical tree nut for its nutritional value and as a substitute for dairy. Soaked and blended, cashews produce milk; cashew milk combined with nutritional yeast, lemon and vinegar creates cheese.
Unsweetened cashew milk is low in sugar, fat and sodium, but still high in calcium. “A one-cup portion provides 45 per cent [of your daily recommended calcium] or 450 milligrams of calcium, compared to 30 per cent or 300 milligrams found in the same portion of cow’s milk,” Maria Ricupero, a Dietitians of Canada spokesperson, explains.
Ricupero warns, however, that if people are not lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy, cashew or any nut beverage shouldn’t be considered a direct alternative to cow or soy milk because it does not provide the same amount of protein.
In vegan diets, Ricupero adds, cashew dairy substitutes should be combined with other sources of protein to achieve a balanced diet. And don’t forget: if you’re planning to serve a cashew-substitute for guests, 2.3 per cent of Canadians suffer from a severe tree nut allergy.
SNACK ON THIS
If you prefer to snack on cashew kernels instead of milk or cheese, the recommended serving is 1/4 cup or 16 to 18 cashews per day. Health benefits include:
- Lower cholesterol and blood pressure
- Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant
- Weight management