Cashew nuts are a popular paleo snack. The cashew nut is not really a nut; rather, it is the seed of the cashew apple, which is a popular delicacy in Brazil. The shells of the cashew contain a resin called cashew balm, which is poisonous and is frequently used as an insecticide, but the “nut” itself is a popular snack for Paleo diet followers.

The cashew nut is a great source of omega 6 fats and it is also high in monounsaturated fats, but low in polyunsaturated fats. This means that, if eaten properly, the cashew nut can be both filling and a good source of healthy fats. Cashew nuts also contain some fibre and are a good source of protein. However, the nut is rich in phytic acid, which can be problematic for people struggling with tooth decay.

Eating cashews can help to lower your blood pressure and improve your cardiovascular health. The anti-oxidants in the nut, combined with the vitamins and minerals, can boost your immune system. In addition, cashews can help to strengthen your bones and connective tissues. The nuts contain no cholesterol, but the balance of fats in them can help to boost your body’s HDL levels. Moderate consumption of cashews can help to prevent gall stones and fight obesity.

Cashews are often roasted to ensure that the toxic balm is removed from them. Roasted cashews are incredibly tasty and also calorie-dense. Don’t eat too many though as they’re the highest carb ‘nut-like-thing’ around, 8x higher than pecans. A 28g serving of cashew nuts contains 164 calories.

Cooking with Cashews

Cashews can be eaten raw, added to salads, or enjoyed in hot dishes. They are popular as fillers in curries and can be added to chicken dishes and even vegan spaghetti dishes too. Because cashews are so high in fat, they are a great way to make curries and other dishes more filling. They add texture and taste and help you to stay full for longer.

One often overlooked way of cooking with cashews is adding them to sweet dishes. If you miss sweets and cakes on the Paleo diet, why not try making Paleo bites with coconut flakes, dates, cashews, sunflower seed butter and dark chocolate chips? These bites are sweet and satisfying, but contain no flour and no cane sugar, so they are permissible on the Paleo diet.

It is important to note that cashews are best eaten in moderation. As with almonds, it is all too easy to over-eat when it comes to cashew nuts. If you allow yourself to graze on cashews, weight out a serving for the day. Do not allow yourself to eat them straight out of the jar. Cashews may be better for your body than foods laden with sugars or simple carbohydrates, but the simple rule of calories in versus calories out still applies on the Paleo diet and if you consume more calories than you burn each day then you will gain weight. If weight gain is not your express goal, then you should be wary of calorie-dense nuts and other similar foods.