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Cashew nuts are eaten by many people around the world as a snack but not many people know much about the plant and its benefits. Cashew is native to northeastern Brazil, in the area between the Atlantic rain forest and the Amazon rainforest. Cashew nuts are actually seeds that are found growing on the end of the cashew apple. The botanical name of the tree is Anacardium occidentale and is a close relative of mangos, pistachios, poison ivy and poison oak. It was first introduced on a worldwide scale by Portuguese explorers in South America in the 16th century, but international trade didn't take off until the 1920s.

Submitted: May 30, 2011

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Submitted: May 30, 2011



Anacardium occidentale (cashew)


The medical benefits Cashew nuts have a fatty acid profile that helps contribute to good health through phytosterols, tocopherols, and sqaulene. These compounds combined with the nut's zero percent cholesterol content will help to lower the risk of heart diseases. Moreover, with the seed having no cholesterol it is a healthy fat food for heart patients. Cashew nuts also contain high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids which help support healthy levels of low good (HDL) cholesterol.

Besides that, it also has a high content of copper. Consuming cashew nut helps the body utilize iron, eliminate free radicals, develop bone and connective tissue, and produce the skin and hair pigment melanin. Copper is an essential component of the enzyme superoxide dismutase , which is vital in energy production and antioxidant defense, producing greater flexibility in blood vessels, bones and joints.

Recent clinical trials have shows that cashews and other nuts work with a person's lipid profile to have a beneficial effect on those with diabetes or at risk for diabetes. And with 37.7 percent of the daily recommended value of monounsaturated fats, cashews can reduce triglyceride levels in diabetics, protecting them from further complications. Integrating frequent nut consumption into your diet, especially raw cashews, may lower the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Furthermore, Research has also shown that chemicals in cashew nuts kill gram positive bacteria, a pervasive mouth affliction that causes tooth decay, acne, tuberculosis and leprosy.

The leaves of the cashew tree are used for people with skin problem and inflammations like burns. The concoctions of the leaf are gargled to cure sore throats. Other than the leaf, the bark of the tree is used to treat diarrhea and thrush. The cashew apple is usually made into juice as it contains vitamin c. The juice is an effective anti-scurvy agent and it also can be used to treat tonsillitis, dysentery and influenza

by Pricha Chaiphakdi

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