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Cashews: tasty snack or unhealthy choice? Nutritionist debunks common myths


Cashews are one of the most popular and versatile nuts, known for their creamy texture and delicious flavour. They are not only a popular snack but also a key ingredient in many cuisines worldwide, from stir-fries to curries to desserts. Cashews are not only tasty, but they also offer various health benefits and can be a great replacement for animal-based fats and proteins. However, like many other foods, cashews are surrounded by myths and misconceptions, which can lead to confusion about their nutritional value and potential health benefits. Despite some rumours suggesting that cashews are harmful, there is no need to be concerned unless you have an allergy to nuts. (Also read: Hormonal imbalance: Nutritionist on how to eat cashews for balancing hormones )

Myths and facts about cashew nuts:


Cashews are an excellent source of plant-based protein, making them a great addition to a vegan or vegetarian diet.(Shutterstock)


Talking with HT Lifestyle, Kajal Aggarwal, Dietician and Clinical Nutritionist, debunks some of the most common myths about cashews and reveals the facts about their nutritional value and health benefits.

Myth 1: Cashew causes weight gain

The myth that cashews cause weight gain is not entirely accurate. Cashews are a high-calorie food, with 100 grams of cashews providing around 553 calories. However, incorporating moderate amounts of nuts, including cashews, into a balanced diet can actually help with weight management. Additionally, cashews are a good source of healthy fats, including mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to have a positive impact on heart health and cholesterol levels.

While cashews are a high-calorie food, incorporating moderate amounts of them into a balanced diet can actually be beneficial for weight management and overall health. However, like any food, it’s important to consume cashews in moderation as part of a balanced diet.



Myth 2: Cashew increases cholesterol level

There is some truth to this myth, but it’s important to understand the context. As cashews are a plant-based product and do not contain cholesterol, as cholesterol is only found in animal-based products. However, while phytosterols are plant-based compounds that are structurally similar to cholesterol, they can still have an impact on cholesterol levels in the body.

So while cashews themselves do not contain cholesterol, their high phytosterol content can still have an impact on cholesterol levels in the body. However, it is important to note that cashews are also high in fat and calories, so it is recommended to consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Eating moderate amounts of cashews (15g to 25g) as part of a balanced diet is not likely to increase cholesterol levels. In fact, research suggests that including nuts like cashews in your diet may help lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and increase HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels, which is considered beneficial for heart health.



Myth 3: Cashew consumption raises blood sugar level

It is a myth that cashew consumption raises blood sugar levels. In fact, cashews are a good source of healthy fats, protein, and fibre, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. The glycemic index (GI) of cashews is relatively low at 25, which means that they are absorbed more slowly by the body and do not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.

It is important to note that while cashews are a healthy addition to a balanced diet, people with diabetes should still monitor their intake of all foods and consult with their healthcare provider for personalized advice on managing their blood sugar levels.

Myth 4: Having cashews causes acne



There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that eating cashews causes acne. In fact, cashews contain nutrients such as selenium and vitamin C, which have been shown to promote healthy skin. Additionally, the healthy fats found in cashews can help to reduce inflammation, which is often a contributing factor in the development of acne.

It’s important to note that everyone’s body is unique and may react differently to certain foods. Some individuals may find that eating certain types of nuts or other foods can trigger acne flare-ups



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