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Whether you are new to raw food or have been looking at our range of products, you may have noticed that nuts are one of the main ingredients in raw food recipes, replacing other traditional ingredients. Nuts are nutrient dense, rich in protein and provide us with “healthy fat” making them the perfect ingredient to include in any recipe. They are also a proficient source of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Going further, there are many health benefits that specific nuts provide us with and this article specifically looks at the cashew nut. So what are the benefits of cashew nuts?
What are the benefits of cashew nuts?
Well, cashew nuts have a lot to talk about. A good starting point is probably to clarify that a cashew nut is only known as a nut in the culinary world. A native of Brazil, the cashew nut is actually a seed that grows on the outside of the ‘cashew apple’ and is actually known as a drupe!
Incredibly versatile for both sweet and savoury recipes, this nut packs a nutrient rich punch. Rich in protein and with a nutrient profile that includes copper, manganese, magnesium and zinc, cashew nuts have an impressive list of health benefits including heart-protecting, anti-stress and cancer preventing properties and are known to also support weight management.
How to prepare & store cashew nuts:
There are a few key things to remember when it comes to consuming nuts.
- First and foremost, try to source organic and raw varieties that have not been pasteurised.
- Nuts that have been left in their shell for you to crack out yourself will retain even more nutrients.
- Be wary when shopping in the supermarket, because the nuts on display are usually steamed open and heavily processed by large corporations in advance of reaching the shelf. This processing involves heat which usually kill the nuts causing them to lose their nutritional values.
- And finally, try to avoid flavourings; Cashews sold as ‘roasted’ have been heated twice (i.e. twice the damage) and the added salt doesn’t really help matters either.
When it comes to preparing your any nut, you need to consider that nuts contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, the purpose of which is to protect the nuts by preventing them from sprouting until the perfect conditions of soil, rain and sunlight are achieved for them to grow. Whilst phytic acid is useful in safeguarding the plant until germination, when it is consumed by humans, it binds to the minerals in our digestive tract, impairing mineral absorption and instead potentially promoting mineral deficiencies. Consequently, this makes nuts quite difficult for humans to digest.
But there is a solution!
You might have heard of ‘sprouting’ grains and this same idea can be applied to nuts. It’s a clever tip to “tricking” the enzyme inhibitors. They start thinking that it is time to wake the seeds up from hibernation and to start germinating. So you can simply soak nuts in a bowl of water and imitate nature by germinating the seeds in the way that it would happen in a natural environment.
There are different recommendations for different nuts, but with cashews start by soaking for two hours.
Chocolate & Cashews, a perfect flavour pairing
If you’re keen to get some more cashew nuts into your daily diet, let us do the hard work and introduce you to our Choco Rockets.
The back story to this produce, as Asa explains, involved playing around with cookie dough.
“I love cakes and desserts. So, I thought I ought to make a chocolate version of the cookie range (had already made lemon cookies). I almost chucked these away as I felt the outcome was too sweet. Today I’m grateful that I didn’t as they are the star of the show wherever I take them.”
The recipe combines a range of powerful and health-promoting ingredients; cashews, coconut, carob, coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, lucuma and Himalayan crystal salt. Each of these has a long list of health benefits, making this product a true superfood.