Cashews are a delicious snack and a good source of protein, magnesium and monounsaturated fats, according to NaturalHub.com 2. While cashews are a healthy addition to the diet, they contain only trace amounts of heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Add cashews to your diet for flavor, healthy fats, and antioxidants, but opt for other sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
The cashew tree is native to South America, particularly Brazil and Peru. The cashew tree produces both a seed, the cashew, and a fruit, the cashew apple, according to VegParadise.com 3. Cashews may be pressed to produce cashew oil, used for cooking and other applications. Cashews have a caustic outer coating that must be heated to eliminate potential skin irritation, according to NaturalHub.com 2.
Good Nuts Vs. Bad Nuts
Cashew seeds and cashew oil contain only very small traces of Omega-3 fatty acids. According to an article in the October 2004 issue of the "Journal of the Canadian Medical Association," 100 g of cashew oil contains only 0.14 g of Omega-3 fatty acids. Other nuts, including almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts and hazelnuts contain even lower levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil, fish oil, or canola oil are better options for Omega-3 essential fatty acids.
- Cashew seeds and cashew oil contain only very small traces of Omega-3 fatty acids.
While the total level of Omega-3 fatty acids in cashews is quite low, the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids is favorable. The World Health Organization recommends an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio of less than 10. The Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio for cashews is 0.11, making cashews a good choice to reduce the overall ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, according to a 2007 article published in the "Pakistani Journal of Nutrition."
English Walnuts vs. Black Walnuts
While cashews are low in Omega-3 fatty acids, they are a good source of protein, iron, magnesium and other minerals. Cashews are lower in fat than many nuts and somewhat higher in carbohydrates, reports VegParadise.com. Cashews contain approximately 45 g of fat per 100-g serving, and about 1/4 of the total fat is monounsaturated fat, ideal for heart health, according to NaturalHub.com 2.
Cashews are high in fat and calories and should be enjoyed in moderation as a part of a healthy diet. If you are looking for a nut or nut oil with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acid, walnuts are a better option than cashews, with walnut oil containing 10.4 percent Omega-3 fatty acids, according to the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association.
Good Nuts Vs. Bad Nuts
English Walnuts vs. Black Walnuts
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With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.