Adding nuts in your diet is a great way to boost your intake of healthy fats, plant-based protein, and fiber (4). Additionally, a higher intake of nuts is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and deaths associated with cancer, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses (5Trusted Source). Nuts differ in their nutrient composition, so eating a variety of your favorites will help you get the most benefits, as previously noted. Here Lauren Panoff, RD, HealthLine.com, reflects on enjoying cashews without the risk of toxicity, medically reviewed by Miho Hatanaka, LD, RDN:
“Cashews are a popular tree nut consumed around the world.
They’re considered to be nutritious and may offer numerous health benefits, such as improving blood sugar control among people with type 2 diabetes and reducing total and LDL (bad) cholesterol (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
Some people enjoy eating cashews on their own, blended into cashew nut butter, or puréed into a dairy-free cream for soups, sauces, and ice cream.
However, many people are unaware that eating cashews in certain forms can be harmful, as they contain a dangerous toxin called urushiol.
This article examines what makes certain cashews poisonous and how to enjoy these tree nuts without risk of toxicity.
Cashew harvesting and processing
Cashews grow on cashew trees (Anacardium occidentale). As such, they’re classified as a type of tree nut.
Mature cashew trees grow red or yellow pear-shaped drupes called cashew apples. The cashews themselves grow inside of gray shells on the ends of those fruits.
The cashews are ready for harvesting when the cashew apples begin to fall from the tree. The cashew apples, which are edible but highly perishable, are collected.
The cashew nuts, still in their shell, are removed from the ends of the fruits and may be dried in the sun, depending on the manufacturer’s process. These cashews are raw and not sold due to a risk of urushiol exposure.
The raw cashews are then roasted at high heat, either by steaming them in a large rotating drum or vat of boiling oil to remove urushiol remnants before they can be shelled, thoroughly dried, and peeled.
At this point, these cashews are still often labeled as raw, since they’re free of added flavorings.
Cashews may be roasted a second time for flavoring purposes if they’re being sold as roasted cashews. Another round of roasting may also help ensure any remaining urushiol residue is removed before sale.
Commercial cashews are then ready for quality checks, packaging, and sale.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/are-cashews-poisonous
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