CASHEW – IT’S ACTUALLY A SEED
The cashew is a tree in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The plant is native to northeastern Brazil. Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which in turn derives from the indigenous Tupi name, acajú. It is now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew “nuts” and cashew apples.
The true fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney or boxing-glove shaped drupe that grows at the end of the pseudofruit. The drupe develops first on the tree, and then the peduncle expands into the pseudofruit. Within the true fruit is a single seed, the cashew nut. Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense the fruit of the cashew is a seed.
Cashews have less fat than almonds, walnuts, peanuts & pecans. They are power food which has protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, selenium, iron & zinc. When eaten in moderation, cashews are useful addition to a healthy diet.
Cashews are native to equatorial South America. From there it migrated through the East Indies to India by the Portuguese in the late 16th century. From there cashews were introduced to Asia and Africa and later to Australia.
Cashew, a native of Eastern Brazil was introduced to India just as other commercial crops like rubber, coffee, tea etc. by the Portuguese nearly five centuries back. The first introduction of cashew in India was made in Goa from where it spread to other parts of the country. The commercial exploitation began from the early 60’s, marginal lands and denuded forests were the areas set apart for the plantation development. Due to the absence of high yielding varieties and multiplication techniques, indiscript seeds and seedlings were used for planting purposes. Because of its adaptive ability in wide range of agro climatic conditions cashew has become a crop of high economy and attained the status of an export oriented commodity bringing considerable foreign exchange to the country.
Eaten in moderation, cashews are a useful addition to healthy diet.
Cashew helps maintain healthy gums and teeth.
Cashew is an energizing food.
Cashew contains healthy monounsaturated fat that promotes good cardiovascular health, because monounsaturated fats reduce high triglyceride levels which are associated with increased risk for heart disease.
Cashew is rich in antioxidants that help in the elimination of free radicals that may cause some cancer.
Cashew nuts have a high energy density and high amount of dietary fiber, both have been attributed to a beneficial effect on weight management, but only when eaten in moderation
Cashew’s high copper content is vital in energy production, greater flexibility in blood vessels, bones and joints.
Cashew nut consumption helps the body utilize iron, eliminate free radicals, develop bone and connective tissue, and produce the skin and hair pigment melanin.