Cashew-Anacardium occidentale



Cashew Quick Facts
Name: Cashew
Scientific Name: Anacardium occidentale
Origin North Eastern Brazil and is sophisticated in various tropical countries. Cashew is mostly produced in Vietnam, India, Nigeria and Ivory Coast.
Colors Orangey, yellowish or red (Fruit)
Shapes Cashew apple, shiny, pear shaped, rhomboid-ovate; Length: 10-20 cm; Broad: 4-8 cm (Fruit)
Flesh colors Light yellow, spongy
Taste Juicy, pleasantly acidic, astringent, sweet
Calories 157 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Copper (69.11%)
Total Fat (35.51%)
Phosphorus (24.00%)
Iron (23.63%)
Manganese (20.39%)
Health benefits Anti-diabetic properties, Prevent type 2 diabetes, Heart health, Nerve and muscle health, Chemotherapy
More facts about Cashew
Cashew, Anacardium occidentale, is an evergreen tree that is native to North Eastern Brazil and is sophisticated in various tropical countries. Cashew is mostly produced in Vietnam, India, Nigeria and Ivory Coast. The tree produces edible fruits with nuts which are widely consumed as a food. It belongs to Anacardiaceae family. The tree is widely cultivated for its nuts. Other names include Cashew, Cashew nut, Kidney-nut, acajoeboom, anacardier, westindische Nierenboom, Acajubaum, cajou, Nierenbaum, cajú, anacardo, cajueiro, marañón, cajuil, yao guo and merey. The white or pale green flowers are pollinated by wasps, bees, flies, ants and humming birds. Frugivorous bats help to disperse fruits. Cashew nuts have a delicious taste and are easily available in the markets. The fruit of Cashew tree is called Cashew apple. It is used to enhance flavor to the salads and also consumed as a snack. It is used as a vital ingredient in Asian cuisines such as Thai and Indian foods.


Cashew was brought to South America, East Africa, West Indies and Central America. United States is regarded as the main importer of Cashews.  Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and many Middle Eastern countries purchase Cashew in enormous amounts.

Cashew was cultivated in the restinga of North eastern Brazil. Possibly, Cashew was primitive to Savannas of Columbia, Guianas and Venezuela. The plant brought to South America, West of the Andes, West Indies, Central America by the early travelers. India, Angola, Tanzania, Mozambique and Vietnam are the main exporters of cashews. In 16th century, Portuguese popularized Cashew to East Africa and West coast of India. In India, it was cultivated to prevent erosion. The international nut trade took place in 1920s. Cashew nuts gained popularity in the beginning of 20th century.


The tree grows upto 2-10(-15) m in height. It has simple, alternate leaves that are yellowish green to dark green brownish; 4-22 cm long; 2-15 cm wide which has rounded tip with flat edge. The flowers are hermaphroditic and are white or pale green. The plant yields a fruit which is called Cashew apple that is shiny, orangey, yellowish or red; rhomboid-ovate; 10-20 cm long and 4-8 cm broad. The nuts are grown at the end of Cashew apple. The nuts are 3 cm long and 2.5 cm wide which turn to dark from green when matured. Nuts have two white cotyledons and tiny embryo. The flesh is light yellow and spongy. The fruit has tropical flavor and astringent or sweet taste. The tree bears flowers in Brazil from August to September and in Southern India from December to January.

Nutritional value

28.35 grams of Cashew provides 157 calories, 1.47 grams of moisture, 5.17 grams of protein, 12.43 grams of fat, 0.72 grams of ash, 8.56 grams of carbohydrate, 0.9 grams of total dietary fiber, 1.68 grams of total sugars, 1.65 grams of sucrose, 0.01 grams of glucose, 0.01 grams of fructose and 6.66 grams of starch. It also provides 0.622 mg of copper, 168 mg of phosphorus, 1.89 mg of iron, 0.469 mg of manganese, 83 mg of magnesium, 0.081 grams of tryptophan, 1.64 mg of zinc, 0.31 g of valine, 0.224 g of isoleucine, 0.417 grams of leucine, 0.195 grams of threonine and 0.129 grams of histidine.

Health Benefits of Cashew

The barks and leaves of Cashew tree along with Cashew apple has the ability to counteract germs, bacteria, prevent diarrhea, increase libido, lower blood sugar, fever, body temperature and blood pressure. Cashew nuts are easily available on the grocery stores all around the world. It is loaded with various nutrients. It contains iron, minerals, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, zinc and manganese. It is high in fat. As they have high amount of monosaturated fatty acids, it assist the levels of HDL cholesterol.

The daily intake of Cashew nuts on limited amounts provided enormous health benefits. Along with the sweet taste, it is packed with vitamins, antioxidants, electrolytes, proteins and minerals that is essential for the healthy development and growth of the body for the children. The health benefits provided by Cashew nuts are described below:

  1. Anti-diabetic properties

The seed extract of Cashew displayed anti-diabetic properties according to the study conducted. The investigation evaluated that the extracts of Cashew helps to promote the insulin of the body. The products of Cashew tree possess anti-inflammatory properties contrary to the high blood sugar and prevent the resistance of insulin in the diabetic patients. (1)

  1. Prevent type 2 diabetes

The daily intake of nuts helps to prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications. The daily intake of two ounces of nuts helps to replace carbohydrate which is effective to control the serum and glycemic in type 2 diabetic patients. The dried nuts help to control the blood glucose and blood lipids which help to manage diabetes. (2)

  1. Heart health

Cashew is an excellent source of dietary fats which is required for the absorption of fat soluble Vitamin D, A, K and E as well as for the production of fatty acids which are essential for the blood clotting and brain development. It includes polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. It helps to lower the level of bad cholesterol. The high intake of saturated fats could raise LDL cholesterol that results in the cardiovascular conditions such as arteries hardening and atherosclerosis. The studies show that unsaturated fats promote HDL cholesterol level, lowers blood pressure as well as triglycerides. The intake of fish, cashews, canola oil and olive oil provides the healthy unsaturated fats. (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

  1. Nerve and muscle health

Cashew is a great source of magnesium that is required for the bones, tissues, muscles and organs development. It maintains the pressure of blood, functions of nerves, immune system and bone health. It is also involved in the functions of metabolism; regulate the level of blood sugar and influence of insulin. Magnesium deficiency changes the metabolism of hormones and calcium. (8) (9)

  1. Chemotherapy

The research shows that antioxidants such as cardanols, anarcadic acis and cardols are found in Cashews helps to treat cancer and tumors. Grounded cashews are secured for the patients. (10) (11)(12) (13)

  1. Formation of red blood cells

Cashews have high amount of copper which assist in iron metabolism. It supports to form the red blood cells. It helps to keep the health of bones and immune system. It is essential for the maintenance of skeletal and nervous system. The lack of copper could lead to irregular heartbeats, osteoporosis and anemia. (14) (15)

  1. Oral and bone health

Cashews contains phosphorous that is required for the bones and teeth development. It supports protein synthesis, absorption of fats and carbohydrates along the conservation of cellular health. (16)

  1. Treats anemia

Cashews are good source of iron, dietary that is essential to carry oxygen in the body and assist in the function of immune system and enzymes. Lack of iron in the body results in anemia, fatigue and increased chances of infections. (17)

  1. Gallstones

Gallstones are the deposits of iron which composes of cholesterol that acquire in gall bladder. The daily intake of cashews helps to reduce the chances of gallstone formation. (18) (19)

  1. Immunity power

Zinc is found in Cashews that has an essential role in enhancing the immune system from protein synthesis, microbial infection and wound healing. During pregnancy, it helps in the healthy growth of body and maintains the body’s stable state.

Traditional uses

  • The leaves, roots and bark is used to treat arthritis, inflammatory conditions in Western Nigeria.
  • In African countries and South of Cameroon, it helps to treat diarrhea, diabetes mellitus and hypertension.
  • The buds are applied on the infant’s skin for pemphigus neonatorum.
  • In Peruvia, the tea of Cashew leaf acts as an aid for diarrhea.
  • The tea made from Cashew leaf is used as gargle and mouthwash to treat tonsillitis, mouth ulcers, throat ailments and wounds.
  • Cashew apple is used as an astringent, anti-scorbutic and diuretic for treating kidney problems and cholera.
  • In Java, the juice of Cashew apple is used as a gargle for catarrh and mouth wash for thrush.
  • Cashew syrup is used as an aid for colds and coughs.
  • In Brazil and Cuba, the juice of Cashew apple effectively treats syphilis and is an aid for sore throat.
  • The seeds juice is useful for mental derangement, rheumatism and heart palpitation.
  • The seeds are applied as anti-venom for the snake bites.
  • The oil of Cashew nut shell is used for kidney troubles, blood sugar problems, cholera and hookworms.
  • The oil is used in India to treat cracks on feet soles, corns, warts and sores.
  • In Peninsular Malaysia, a bark decoction is used to treat diarrhea and constipation.
  • In Brazil, the tea made from Cashew bark is helpful for vaginal discharge and used as an astringent to block the bleeding.
  • The bark of Cashew is used to treat psoriasis, eczema, scrofula, genital problems, dyspepsia and venereal diseases.
  • An infusion made from bark helps to treat weakness, diabetes, urinary disorders, muscular debility and asthma.
  • The intake of an old liquor made from Cashew in small amounts helps to cure stomach ache.
  • In Gold Coast, the leaves and bark is useful for toothache and sore gums.
  • In North America, Cashew is used to treat diabetes, bronchitis, tonsillitis and intestinal colic.

How to Eat

  • Roasted cashews are consumed as a snack with or without sugar or salt.
  • Roasted nuts are crushed in pieces and used for snacks, cake, candies, chocolate, biscuits, dessert and ice-cream.
  • The nuts are used to make Cashew flour or butter.
  • Raw nuts are used in meat dishes and cooking vegetarian.
  • Cashew nut is widely used in Indian, Chinese and Thai cuisines.
  • In India, grounded nuts are used to make sauces such as shahi korma and used as garnish in desserts and Indian sweets.
  • Cashew is used as an alternative for cheese for vegans.
  • Young shoots and leaves are consumed cooked or raw.
  • Ripe Cashew apples are consumed raw when ripe or added to fruit salads, vegetables or made into beverage, juice, wine and syrups.
  • The juice of Cashew apple is blended with other fruits such as lime, orange, pineapple, papaya and mango.
  • Cashew apple is often mixed with fruit jam.
  • In Brazil, Indonesia and Mozambique, the wines made from Cashew wine is mostly consumed and distilled to make alcoholic drinks.
  • Cashew is often served as food.
  • The young leaves and shoots are also consumed fresh or cooked.
  • The kernel is eaten as raw nuts, fried nuts, roasted nuts, dry fruit and salted nuts.
  • It is added to desserts and cakes.
  • The leaves are cooked as vegetables.
  • Cashew apple are added to curries and also fermented into vinegar.
  • In India and Brazil, it is used to make preserves, jams and chutneys.
  • Cashews could be combined with other dried fruits and nuts.
  • Cashews could be added to the healthy sautéed vegetables.
  • The dry fruits, cashews and almonds are used in the savory rice dishes such as rice pulao and hyderbadi biriyani.

Other Facts

  • The largest Cashew tree covers an area about 7,500 m or 81,000 sq ft. which is situated in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil.
  • United States is regarded as the largest importer of Cashew nuts.
  • Cashew nuts are considered as the true fruits.
  • Inside the hard shell, Cashew nuts are protected.
  • Nuts are about one inch long and are bean shaped.
  • Cashew nuts are a vital part of Chinese, Indian and Thailand cuisines.
  • Nigeria is the largest producer of Cashew nuts in the world which produces above 1.9 metric tons of Cashew nuts in a year.
  • Cashew trees produce nuts for more than thirty years.
  • National Cashew Day is celebrated on November 23.
  • The name Cashew nut is derived from Portuguese name caju.
  • Cashews share the same family of poison sumac and poison ivy.
  • The oil which is extracted from Cashew nut shells is used in brake linings, insecticides and manufacture of rubber and plastic.
  • The milky sap produced from the tree is used as varnish.
  • Nigeria was considered as the top producer of cashew nuts in 2010 as it produced 650,000 tonnes or 717,000 tons.


The intake of Cashew could lead to the various side effects:

Kidney Stones: Cashews has oxalate salts which hinders in the calcium absorption. The compiled calcium can leads to the kidney stone formation. The patients of kidney stones should intake cashew nuts in moderate amounts.

Allergy: The intake of Cashew can result in allergic reactions. Some of the allergies are:

  1. Contact Dermatitis: It an itchy skin ailment which caused due to the allergen contact. Some might experience swelling and hives around the parts of mouth. Cashew nut shell has anacardic acid which could result in allergies and skin rashes.
  2. Gastrointestinal Discomfort: Nausea, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, vomiting and coughing might be experienced as alleriges.
  3. Breathing Difficulties: Coughing, runny nose and shortness of breath could be experienced.
  4. Anaphylaxis: It is an allergic reaction which is caused due to some chemical or substance that might be sensitive to the body. It is mostly caused due to food allergies. It could result in noisy breathing, pale appearance, unconsciousness, swelling of throat or tongue and voice hoarseness.

Hinder with certain medications

As Cashew nuts are rich in magnesium, it is related with high chances of interfering with drugs. It may interact with the medications of blood pressure and calcium channel blockers. It may interact with thyroid medications, diabetic medication, penicillamine and diuretics.

High Blood Pressure

The high intake of salted cashew nuts raises the level of blood pressure and hypertension due to high presence of sodium in Cashew nuts.

Headaches and Migraines

The consumption of Cashew nuts is not effective for the migraines and headache patients due to the presence amino acids such as phenylethylamine and tyramine. The amino acids might cause head pain in sensitive individuals.

How Much Cashews to Eat Per Day

It depends on the sex, age and medical conditions of the people about how much to consume. Though this dry fruit have lots of health benefits, the excessive intake could lead to serious health problems. The nutritional benefits could be obtained by taking it in limit. One should consume about 5 to 10 in numbers each day. The high consumption of cashews leads to the gain in weight.

Cashew Nuts Healthy Recipes

1. Asian Chicken with Cashews

Health benefits of Cashew Nuts






  • ¼ cup naturally fermented soy sauce
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. hot pepper sauce
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. minced ginger root
  • 4 skinless and boneless  breast halves of chicken (cut in thin strips)
  • 1 cup dry jasmine or basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 sliced onion
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 cup of chopped cashews


  1. Mix fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic, hot pepper sauce and ginger in a big bowl. Add chicken and marinate it in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
  2. Boil 1¾ water by adding rice, ½ tsp. of salt and tbsp. of oil. Reduce heat and cover. Let it simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Heat the sesame oil in the large skillet over medium heat. Stir within the brown sugar till dissolved, then the onion, cooking about 5 minutes.
  4. Place the chicken in a skillet for about ten minutes.
  5. Stir a marinade and ¾ cup water in a skillet along chicken. Let it stir for next 10 minutes.
  6. Blend it with  peanut butter. Then place the rice on the platter, pour the marinade over it. Sprinkle Cashews on the top.

2. Cashew Chicken with Apricot Sauce 

Cashew Chicken with Apricot Sauce






  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 6 medjool dates
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cashews
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon curry
  • 4 boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place the coconut oil. In medium bowl, soak apricots as well as dates in a medium bowl and hot water for about one hour.
  3. Mix dates, soaked apricots and honey. Then add curry powder and mustard as well as pulse till it is blended.
  4. The sauce should be poured in a bowl.
  5. The chicken breast should be dipped in an aprocot mixture. Then in chopped nuts the coated breasts of chicken should be rolled. Bake it for about 25 to 30 minutes in an oven.

3. Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps 

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps






  • 2 tbsp. of coconut aminos or tamari
  • 2 tbsp. of honey
  • 2 tbsp. of coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken breasts
  • Black Pepper and Sea Salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger root
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 8-oz. can sliced water chesnuts, drained
  • 1/4 c. roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 1 small head Boston or Bibb lettuce, leaves separated


  1. Honey and tamari should be combined in a small bowl.
  2. In a big skillet the oil should be heated in a medium to high heat. The chicken should be seasoned with pepper and sea salt. Then cook the chicken til it becomes brown for about 3 minutes.
  3. Heat should be kept to the medium and gineger as well as garlic should be stired. Cook by adding scallions for about 1 minutes. The mixture of soy sauce and water chestnuts should be stired. Then coolking whould be continued for about 47 minutes. Then sprinkle cashews as a toppings.
  4. The leaves of lettuce should be divided to for individual plates and spoon the chicken over  top.

4. Cashew-Snow Pea Stir-Fry

Cashew-Snow Pea Stir-Fry






  • 1 tbsp. of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. of garlic sauce (see Note)
  • 2 tsp. of sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cups snow peas (about 9 ounces), trimmed
  • 3/4 cup trimmed and quartered radishes (about 1 bunch)
  • 4 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted cashews, toasted


  1. Vinegar, chile garlic sauce and soy sauce should be mixed in a small bowl.
  2. The oilo should be heated in a wok in medium to high heat. Ginger should be added and cook it is fragrant for about 30 seconds. then radishes, snow peas and scallions should be added. Cook it for about 2-4 minutes. Sauce should be added and mixed for coating. Then remove it from heat and stir the cashews.

5. Curried Cashew Burgers

Curried Cashew Burgers






  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
  • 1 cup diced peeled carrots, (2-4 medium)
  • 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed (see Ingredient note)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion, (1 medium)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 cup Cucumber-Mint Raita, optional (recipe follows)
  • 3/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 6-inch whole-wheat pita breads
  • Lettuce & sliced cucumber, for garnish


  1. In a pan, carrots, 2 cups water, lentils with 1/4 teaspoon of salt should be placed. Boil it. Make heat to low. Cover partially and let it simmer for about 12-14 minutes. Let it drain in a colander. Then put it to a plate and cool down to room temperature for about 20 minutes.
  2. Cashews should be toasted in medium to low heat. Let it stir until it is fragrant and golden for about 2-4 minutes. Then let it cool down.
  3. In an skillet, two teaspoons of oil should be heated over medium heat. Cook till it gets softened for about 5-8 minutes. Then add curry powder, garlic and water (2 tablespoons). Cook it for about one minute. Remove from heat and let it cool down.
  4. Pulse The cashews should be pulsed in a food processor. Then add lentils and mixture of onion. Pulse until the mixture becomes cohesive. Then transfer it to a bowl and stir breadcrumbs. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper.
  5. Use two teaspoons of oil per batch and cook 2-4 patties in a time over a nonstick skillet till it is browned and heat for about 4 minutes, Then small ends of pitas should be cut and pockets should be opened. The burgers should be served with lettuce in pitas.