Name Cashews Nuts
Scientific name Anacardium Occidentale

Cashew, Anacardium Occidentale, is an evergreen tree in the family Anacardiaceae grown for its edible fruits (nuts). The cashew tree has a branching main trunk and characteristic domed crown. The thin foliage of the tree is limited to the ends of the branches and is made up of oval-oblong leathery, shiny dark green leaves. The leaves are smooth with pronounced veins and midrib and possess petioles which are swollen at their base. The tree produces numerous pinkish-white flowers on drooping panicles and a kidney shaped true fruit (nut) which is approximately 3 cm (1.2 in) long with a gray-brown shell and develops from a fleshy accessory fruit, sometimes referred to as the ‘cashew apple’. The cashew apple is pear shaped and red to yellow in color. Cashew trees can reach a height of 12 m (39.4 ft) and have an economic lifespan of 25 years after which time they are replaced in commercial plantations. Cashew originates from Brazil.

Nutrition Facts

Nutritional Value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 553 kcal (2,310 kJ)
Carbohydrates 30.19 g
Starch 0.74 g
Sugars 5.91 g
Lactose 0.00 g
Dietary fiber 3.3 g
Fat 43.85 g
Saturated 7.783 g
Monounsaturated 23.797 g
Polyunsaturated 7.845 g
Protein 18.22 g
Vitamin A 0 IU
Thiamine (B1) 0.423 mg (37%)
Riboflavin (B2) 0.058 mg (5%)
Niacin (B3) 1.062 mg (7%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.86 mg (17%)
Vitamin B6 0.417 mg (32%)
Folate (B9) 25 μg (6%)
Vitamin B12 0 μg (0%)
Vitamin C 0.5 mg (1%)
Vitamin D 0 μg (0%)
Vitamin E 0.90 mg (6%)
Vitamin K 34.1 μg (32%)
Calcium 37 mg (4%)
Copper 2.2 mg (110%)
Iron 6.68 mg (51%)
Magnesium 292 mg (82%)
Manganese 1.66 mg (79%)
Phosphorus 593 mg (85%)
Potassium 660 mg (14%)
Selenium 19.9 μg (28%)
Sodium 12 mg (1%)
Zinc 5.78 mg (61%)

Major production of cashews occurs in Vietnam, Nigeria, India, and Ivory Coast.

The cashew nut, often simply called a cashew, is widely consumed. It is eaten on its own, used in recipes, or processed into cashew cheese or cashew butter. The cashew apple is a light reddish to yellow fruit, whose pulp can be processed into a sweet, astringent fruit drink or distilled into liquor.

Cashew nuts are commonly used in Indian cuisine, whole for garnishing sweets or curries, or ground into a paste that forms a base of sauces for curries (e.g., korma), or some sweets (e.g., kaju barfi). It is also used in powdered form in the preparation of several Indian sweets and desserts. Cashew nuts are also used in Thai and Chinese cuisines, generally in whole form. In the Philippines, cashew is a known product of Antipolo, and is eaten with suman. In Indonesia, roasted and salted cashew nut is called kacang mete or kacang mede, while the cashew apple is called jambu monyet (translates in English to monkey rose apple).

In Brazil, the cashew fruit juice is popular. Brazilians prefer the fruit to the nut. In the 21st century, cashew cultivation increased in several African countries to meet the demands for manufacturing cashew milk, a plant milk alternative to dairy milk.

Health Benefits of Cashew

  • The health benefits of cashews include a healthy heart, strong nerve and muscle function, aid in the formation of red blood cells, and an improved bone and oral health.
  • They also provide a relief from diabetes, anemia, and gallstones.
  • By offering an antioxidant defense, they also encourage a better immune system.
  • Cashews are high in calories. 100 g of nuts provide 553 calories. They packed with soluble dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and numerous health-promoting phytochemicals that help protect from diseases and cancers.
  • They are rich in “heart-friendly” monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic, and palmitoleic acids. These essential fatty acids help lower harmful LDL-cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol in the blood.