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Cashew Nuts: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more


Cashew nuts or Kaju are technically not nuts but seeds. The scientific name of cashew nuts is Anacardium occidentale L., which belongs to the family Anacardiaceae. It is a popular ingredient in various Indian dishes and dairy alternatives like cream and cashew milk. They have a rich nutty flavour. Cashew nuts grow on evergreen trees, native to Brazil, which later expanded to South American countries. The Portuguese introduced cashew nuts in India and Africa in the 16th century. A single-seeded nut in a hard grey shell grows at the bottom of the cashew apple (a soft and juicy fruit). There are 33 varieties of cashew nuts identified, out of which only 26 varieties are marketed. The W-180 variety is known as the “king of cashews”. As for the nutritional composition, cashew nuts are rich in tocopherols, phytosterols, phenolic lipids and several bioactive compounds, all of which have several benefits on human health. Let us find more exciting facts about cashew nuts.1,2 

cashew benefits

Did You Know 

  • Cashew nuts are low in sugar and may help regulate blood sugar levels. source: diabetes.org
  • Cashew nuts are a good source of energy and can be a healthy snack option. source: eatright.org
  • Cashew nuts may help improve eye health due to their high content of antioxidants and vitamins. source: aao.org
  • Cashew nuts may help improve skin health due to their high content of antioxidants and minerals. source: aad.org
  • Cashew nuts may help improve heart health by reducing cholesterol levels. source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Nutritional Value of Cashew Nuts: 

Cashew nut contains various nutritional components that are given as follows. 

Nutritional components Value per 100g 
Carbohydrates 30 g 
Protein 18 g 
Fats 44 g 
Fibre 3.3 g 
Calories 553 kcal calorie 
Sugars 5.9 g 
Sodium 12 mg 
Iron 6.68 mg 
Calcium 37 mg 

Cashews include plenty of vital nutrients. Vitamins like vitamin B (thiamine and folate), E and K are all present in them. Additionally, they are abundant in minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, copper and zinc, which are crucial for several body processes.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Table 1: Nutritional value of cashew nuts3 

Properties of Cashew Nuts: 

Scientific literatures have found that cashew nuts show numerous properties as those mentioned below: 

  • They might show antioxidant properties. 
  • They may be anti-inflammatory in nature. 
  • They may be analgesic. 
  • They might also have antidiabetic activity. 
  • They may have anti-cancer activity. 
  • They may be cardio-protective. 
  • They can be anti-microbial also. 4 

Potential Uses of Cashew Nuts for Overall Health: 

Some of the potential benefits of cashew nuts are described below. 

1. Potential Uses of Cashew Nuts for the Heart 

Consumption of cashew nuts may exert a cardio-protective effect. Mahboobi et al. conducted a systematic review in 2019 to assess the effects of cashew nut consumption on blood pressure and cardiovascular risk factors. This review supported the fact that consumption of cashew nuts may improve triglyceride levels and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However, no significant effect was seen on other risk factors like HDL-C, total cholesterol, etc. Thus, consuming cashew nuts may help normalize blood pressure and triglyceride levels. However, more studies are needed to support these claims.5 

2. Potential Uses of Cashew Nuts for Cancer 

Cashew nuts are rich in proanthocyanidins, a flavonol that is associated with cancer cell replication. Additionally, the presence of copper and other minerals may help reduce the risk of colon cancer. Thus, this may indicate consumption of cashew nuts may exert an anti-cancer effect. However, we need enough studies to support these claims.6 

3. Potential Uses of Cashew Nuts for Pain and Inflammation 

Proinflammatory cytokines like TNF-alpha and IL-6 are involved in the process of pathological pain. Cashew nuts are known to exert an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect by inhibiting the formation of inflammatory cytokines and blocking proinflammatory cytokines. Additionally, cashew nuts show radical scavenging property which can help in protecting cells from damage. This indicates that the consumption of cashew nuts may help reduce inflammation and pain. However, more human studies are needed to support these claims.7 

4. Potential Uses of Cashew Nuts for Formation of Haemoglobin 

Haemoglobin is a protein which allows red blood cells to carry oxygen. Iron and copper are essential micronutrients for the formation of haemoglobin. Cashew nuts are rich in iron and copper and thus may aid the formation of haemoglobin. Additionally, consumption of cashew nuts may help in managing blood disorders. However, scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited, and we need more studies to ascertain these findings.6 

5. Potential Uses of Cashew Nuts for Improving Vision 

Cashew nuts contain zeaxanthin, an antioxidant known to protect the macula of the eyes from external damage and improve eyesight. Thus, this may indicate that the consumption of cashew nuts can help improve vision. However, scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited, and we need more studies to support these claims.6 

6. Potential Uses of Cashew Nuts for Improving Brain Function 

Cashew nuts may help in improving brain function. Chemobrain is a term for the adverse effects of chemotherapy-induced brain deterioration. There are no drugs which are available to cure the weakening of the brain caused due to chemotherapy. Studies have shown the beneficial effect of cashew nuts on neurochemicals linked to brain functions. Akomolafe et al. conducted a study in 2022 to assess the effects of cashew nuts consumption on cisplatin-induced brain harm in rats. This study showed that cashew nuts could be used as a functional food to manage cisplatin-induced neurotoxicity. This indicates that the consumption of cashew nuts may help improve brain function. However, we need more studies to ascertain these claims.8 

7. Other Potential Uses of Cashew Nuts 

  • May help manage diabetes.9 
  • May help in strengthening bones.10 
  • May help improve brain function. 
  • May help in managing weight.10 
  • May provide nourishment to hair.10 
  • May help prevent blood disorders. 

Though there are studies that show the benefits of cashew nuts in various conditions, but these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of cashew nuts on human health.  

To my knowledge, cashew nuts offer multiple health benefits as they are packed with micro and macronutrients. They can aid in boosting immunity, removes gallstones, are beneficial in anaemia and acts as an antioxidant. It can also help in improving skin health.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

How to Use Cashew Nuts? 

Cashew nuts can be used in the following ways: 

  • As a topping or a main ingredient in desserts. 
  • Honey/salt roasted for snacks. 
  • Added to salads or stir-fries. 
  • Consumed raw.11 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

Side Effects of Cashew Nuts: 

A few side effects related to the consumption of cashew nuts include: 

  • Allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Symptoms of nut allergies include urticaria (red bumps on skin, itchy skin), runny nose, swollen lips.12  
  • Overeating may result in constipation. 
  • Weight gain due to excessive consumption.3 

However, if you experience any adverse reactions to cashew nuts, immediately contact a doctor or your Ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it to you. They will be able to guide you appropriately for your symptoms. 

Precautions to Take With Cashew Nuts: 

Eating cashew nuts is okay if it is taken in moderate amounts. However, general precautions must be followed while consuming cashew nuts. 

  • Impaired digestion- it is advised to soak cashews overnight, as they contain phytates which makes it difficult to digest. After soaking them overnight, the phytate content is lowered which facilitates digestion. 
  • Salted or roasted cashews- they contain high amounts of oils which may have a negative impact on health. It is advised to eat cashews in raw form.9 

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

Cashew nuts show no significant drug interactions with medicines. However, you must always seek the advice of your Ayurvedic physician about the possible interaction of cashew nuts with other drugs, and follow the prescription thoroughly, as they will know your health condition and other medications you are taking. 

Also Read: Pili Nuts: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs): 

1) What is the scientific name of cashew nuts? 

The scientific name of cashew nuts is Anacardium occidentale L., and it belongs to the family Anacardiaceae.1 

2) Are salted cashew nuts healthy? 

Salted cashew nuts can be consumed as snacks occasionally, but they’re not nutritious. It is advised to consume cashew nuts raw, unsalted without any oils.7 

3) Can consumption of cashew nuts improve eyesight?  

Consumption of cashew nuts may help improve eyesight due to the presence of an antioxidant, zeaxanthin. However, there are no studies conducted yet to support these claims.6 

4) What are the symptoms of nut allergy? 

The symptoms of nut allergy include urticaria (red bumps on skin, runny nose, swollen lips and itchy skin.12 

5) What are the side effects of cashew nuts? 

Consuming cashew nuts in excess can result in constipation or weight gain. It may also trigger an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals.3 


  1. Rico, Ricard & Bulló, Mónica & Salas-Salvadó, Jordi. (2015). Nutritional composition of raw fresh cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) kernels from different origin. Food Science & Nutrition. 4. 10.1002/fsn3.294. available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282907291_Nutritional_composition_of_raw_fresh_cashew_Anacardium_occidentale_L_kernels_from_different_origin 
  1. The Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (no date) Cashew kernels, cashew india. Available at: http://cashewindia.org/cashew-kernels (Accessed: November 24, 2022).  
  1. Shubhangi (2022) 9 cashew (Kaju) benefits, Nutrition Facts & Side effects, Wellcurve Blog. Available at: https://www.wellcurve.in/blog/cashew-kaju-benefits-nutrition-side-effects/ (Accessed: November 20, 2022).  
  1. Siracusa R, Fusco R, Peritore AF, Cordaro M, D’Amico R, Genovese T, Gugliandolo E, Crupi R, Smeriglio A, Mandalari G, Cuzzocrea S, Di Paola R, Impellizzeri D. The Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Anacardium occidentale L. Cashew Nuts in a Mouse Model of Colitis. Nutrients. 2020 Mar 20;12(3):834. doi: 10.3390/nu12030834. PMID: 32245085; PMCID: PMC7146548. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7146548/ 
  1. Mahboobi S. The Effect of Cashew Nut on Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (P06-117-19). Curr Dev Nutr. 2019 Jun 13;3(Suppl 1): nzz031.P06-117-19. doi: 10.1093/cdn/nzz031.P06-117-19. PMCID: PMC6573847. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6573847/
  1. Srivastava K. 14 cashews (Kaju) benefits for skin, hair and health [Internet]. Be Beautiful India. Be Beautiful https://static-bebeautiful-in.unileverservices.com/bb-logo.jpg; 2021 [cited 2022Nov21]. Available from: https://www.bebeautiful.in/all-things-lifestyle/health-and-wellness/cashews-benefits-for-skin-hair-and-health 
  1. Cordaro M, Siracusa R, Fusco R, D’Amico R, Peritore AF, Gugliandolo E, Genovese T, Scuto M, Crupi R, Mandalari G, Cuzzocrea S, Di Paola R, Impellizzeri D. Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) Nuts Counteract Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in an Acute Experimental Model of Carrageenan-Induced Paw Edema. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 Jul 24;9(8):660. doi: 10.3390/antiox9080660. PMID: 32722199; PMCID: PMC7465066. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7465066/#:~:text=Our%20results%20demonstrate%20that%20cashew,6%2C%20and%20TNF%2D%CE%B1. 
  1. Akomolafe SF, Asowata-Ayodele AM. Roasted cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) nut-enhanced diet forestalls cisplatin-initiated brain harm in rats. Heliyon. 2022 Oct 12;8(10):e11066. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e11066. PMID: 36276737; PMCID: PMC9578995. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9578995/ 
  1. Kim Y, Keogh JB, Clifton PM. Benefits of Nut Consumption on Insulin Resistance and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Multiple Potential Mechanisms of Actions. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 22;9(11):1271. doi: 10.3390/nu9111271. PMID: 29165404; PMCID: PMC5707743. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707743/ 
  1. Parmar R. 13 best health benefits of cashew nuts [Internet]. PharmEasy Blog. 2022 [cited 2022Nov21]. Available from: https://pharmeasy.in/blog/13-best-health-benefits-of-cashew-nuts/ 
  1. Nuts Pick (no date) The best ways to enjoy cashews nuts, Nuts Pick. Available at: https://nutspick.co.uk/blogs/blog/the-best-ways-to-enjoy-cashews-nuts (Accessed: November 21, 2022).  
  1. Department of Health & Human Services (2015) Nut allergies, Better Health Channel. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/nut-allergies#symptoms-of-nut-allergies (Accessed: November 24, 2022).  


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