I was surprised to find out that cashews are actually lower in calories than other nuts. I had always heard that cashews were the “unhealthy nut” and should be avoided. Where did that come from? Well, I think it is because cashews are slightly higher in carbs than other nuts and they got a bad rap during the low-carb mania.
Don’t let cashews bad rap fool you. Cashews are loaded with minerals including; magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and selenium. They also have 5 grams of hunger satisfying protein, 1 gram of fiber and a relatively low 160 calories per ounce. Cashews also have 13 grams of fat per ounce, but about half of the fat is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. ”Healthy fat” is still a hard concept for me to grab, given my late ‘90s dieting that drilled “no fat” into my head! But, I know that I need to get over it! Monounsaturated fat is really good for you!
So back to our original question, are cashews worth the calories?
Study after study has proved that a diet rich in monounsaturated fat, such as the fat found in cashews, lowers levels of heart disease and cancer while contributing to longer life-spans.
Also, people who eat nuts are less likely to have heart attacks or die from heart disease than those who don’t. In fact, the famous Lyon Diet Heart Study found that those with a diet high in monounsaturated fat experienced 70 percent less heart disease risk than those taking statin drugs.
That fact alone tells me a resounding “yes!”
It doesn’t hurt that cashews are delicious and make a great on-the-go snack. So, the next time you avoid cashews because of your fear for what they will do to your waistline; think about what they will do for your heart.
The key to enjoying cashews guilt-free is portion control. I use a digital food scale and weigh out foods that I deem “high risk” (aka, I can’t control myself from eating the whole darn bag). I also pre-portion my snacks in individual baggies if I buy cashews or other high calorie snacks in a bigger container. I’m a whole lot less likely to grab another “bag” of a snack than I am to dig my hand into the container again.
I love to get my cashews at The Fresh Market because their cashews are the most fresh of any I’ve ever had. I also love those “Nut-trition” packaged bags of nuts that Planters just came out with. I just throw some of those in my purse for hunger “emergencies.” Do you enjoy cashews? Did you know they were so good for you? Please share!