Cashews: Delicious Snack or Unhealthy Alternative? Nutritionists debunk common myths Health

Cashews are one of the most popular and versatile nuts, known for their creamy texture and delicious taste. They are not only a popular snack but also a key ingredient in many cuisines around the world, from stir-fries to curries to desserts. Cashews are not only tasty, they also provide various health benefits and can be an excellent substitute 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 rumors suggesting that cashews are harmful, there is no need to worry unless you are allergic to nuts. (Also read: Hormonal Imbalance: Nutritionist on How to Eat Cashews for Hormone Balance )

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

Talking to HT Lifestyle, Kajal Aggarwal, Dietitian and Clinical Nutritionist, debunks many popular myths about cashews and reveals the facts about their nutritional value and health benefits.

Myth 1: Cashews cause weight gain

The myth that cashews cause weight gain is not entirely true. Cashews are a high calorie food, 100 grams of cashews provide around 553 calories. However, including moderate amounts of nuts, including cashews, in 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 positive effects on heart health and cholesterol levels.

Although cashews are a high-calorie food, incorporating them into a balanced diet is beneficial for weight management and overall health. However, like any food, it is important to consume cashews as part of a balanced diet.

Myth 2: Cashews raise cholesterol levels

There is some truth to this myth, but it is important to understand the context. Cashews are a plant-based product and contain no 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 effect on cholesterol levels in the body.

While cashews do not contain cholesterol, their high phytosterol content can still affect 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 cashews in moderate amounts (15 grams to 25 grams) as part of a balanced diet is unlikely to raise cholesterol levels. In fact, research suggests that including nuts like cashews in your diet can help lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and increase HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels, which are believed to be beneficial for heart health.

Myth 3: Consuming cashew nuts increases blood sugar levels

There is a misconception that consumption of cashew nuts increases blood sugar levels. In fact, cashews are a good source of healthy fats, protein and fiber, which help control blood sugar levels. Cashews have a relatively low glycemic index (GI) of 25, which means they are absorbed more slowly by the body and do not cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels.

It’s 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 their healthcare provider for personalized advice on managing their blood sugar levels.

Myth 4: Eating cashews causes acne

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

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

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