Cashew nuts are the third most popular nut in the USA. They contain a multitude of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiac and circulatory disease. Although the positive effects of nuts on the heart have been proven by science, cashew nuts are often excluded from this due to their saturated fatty acid content. Around a third of the saturated fatty acids in cashew nuts is stearic acid, which has a relatively neutral effect on blood lipid levels. We could therefore say that cashew nuts have the same positive effects as other nuts. Prior to this study, there was not much scientific data available on this subject. In 2017, a team of researchers from the USA researched the effects of cashew nuts on blood lipid levels in adults. 51 men and women aged between 21 and 73 with average levels of LDL cholesterol were split into two groups. For four weeks, one group received a typical American diet that also contained cashew nuts and the other group received the same diet but with potato chips as a snack instead of the cashew nuts. Result: The subjects in the cashew nut group had lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol after the trial than they’d had before it. Researchers’ synopsis: Including cashew nuts in your diet reduces total and LDL cholesterol levels. The results of this study back up the notion that cashew nuts should be recommended and eaten daily. They should take the place of a carbohydrate-rich snack in the diet. This could be a simple strategy which would allow people to keep total and LDL cholesterol in balance.
Mah E et al.: Cashew consumption reduces total and LDL cholesterol: a randomized, crossover, controlled-feeding trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 May;105(5):1070-1078. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.116.150037