Going Nuts For #NationalCashewDay !
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Going Nuts For #NationalCashewDay !

As big fans of cashew nuts, we’ll be celebrating #NationalCashewDay on the 23rd November. What better way to enjoy the heart healthy benefits of cashew nuts than with a porridge recipe developed especially for the occasion!

Alongside our awesome Creamy Banana Cashew Nut Porridge recipe, we’ve delved into the origins and history of the cashew nut and discovered just how amazing they are for our bellies and for our overall health.

The Origins of the Cashew Nut

Have you ever wondered where exactly a cashew nut comes from? Rather than growing inside shells like peanuts or pistachios, the cashew nut actually grows from a fruit on the cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale), known colloquially as a ‘cashew apple’.

Cashew Nut Growing on a Tree

Despite it’s rather strange appearance, the large apple-shaped fruit is juicy and grows in abundance in tropical environments, found in countries like Vietnam and India (the top exporters of cashew nuts in the world!) The ‘cashew-apples’ are often used in refreshing tropical fruit drinks in India.

Before the cashew nuts get packed into little bags and shipped over to us here in the UK, the harvested nuts must be roasted to remove harmful toxins found naturally in the skin of the cashew nut.

This process must always be done outdoors, as the smoke given off when roasting the freshly picked cashews can be really toxic. This is removed before they even reach the shores of the UK.

Whilst you might think that the cashew is just another nut, this is not the case! The cashew has some amazing health benefits.

Cashews are packed with Vitamins and Minerals!

As well as being a delicious snack or addition to your mixed nuts or granola, cashew nuts store a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals:

Vitamin E – A fat soluble antioxidant for a healthy immune system, skin, and eyes

Vitamin K – Another fat soluble antioxidant, essential for strong bones and helping to prevent heart disease

Vitamin B6 – A water soluble nutrient which helps keep the metabolism and nervous system functioning well

Copper – An essential nutrient which helps you to produce collagen and absorb iron

Zinc – Supports the immune system – helping the body to fight and to ward off any germs

Iron – Iron is a very important nutrient, especially as it’s part of haemoglobin which helps red blood cells carry oxygen around the body

Are raw cashew nuts healthier than roasted?

The raw nut Vs roasted nut debate is discussed widely on health food forums and websites and the resounding opinion suggests that there is little nutritional difference between eating a raw nut over a roasted nut.

However, the difference in nutrition comes when salt or oil is added into the roasting process, which slightly changes the sodium levels and calorie count. For example, there are 580 calories in oil-roasted cashews compared to raw cashews which contain 553 calories per 100g.

How to dry roast your own cashew nuts!    

The benefit of toasting your own cashews is that you’ll know exactly what you’re eating, without having to look at the ingredients on the back of a packet. Luckily, it’s really easy to dry roast your own nuts on the hob. Simply pop your raw cashew nuts into a dry frying pan, and toast over a low heat, stirring frequently to bring out the toasty flavour of the cashew.

Top Tip – Try stirring in a teaspoon of mixed spice for a spicy toasted nutty snack! The natural oils released from the cashews during the dry roasting process will help the spices stick to the nuts. Put them in a ziplock bag and keep handy for when hunger strikes!

Cashews are a low GI snack

Reducing your risk of developing diabetes is another important health benefit of cashew nuts, as studies have shown that cashews are beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels.

Cashew nuts are favoured as a snack for those following a diabetic diet as they have a Glycemic Index Rank of just 25. For more low GI food swap ideas, check out this post on How to Swap High GI Foods for Low GI Foods here.

Cashew nuts may also help to prevent gallstones, too. Studies have shown that a daily snack of cashew nuts can help to reduce your chances of developing gallstones by as much as 25%!

Healthy Hair and Skin

Cashew nuts also have benefits for your hair and skin because they contain copper and collagen which are both essential ingredients for healthy skin and hair. They are also great for helping to reduce outbreaks and inflammation of acne, because they are also a good source of selenium – which is known for it’s ability to improve skin issues.

Weight loss is another of the great health benefits of cashew nuts. Although cashews do contain a relatively high amount of fat, it is the type of healthy (or monounsaturated) fats that your body needs to function well.

What is Cashew Nut Butter?

Cashew nut butter  is another great way to incorporate cashews into your diet. An alternative to peanut butter, cashew nut butter is especially high in B vitamins and protein. Why not try a spoonful stirred into your MOMA breakfast porridge in the morning? Pip and Nut even do handy single serve sachets of cashew nut butter, perfect for throwing into your bag with a sachet of MOMA Plain No Added Sugar Porridge, when you’re rushing out of the house in the morning.

Looking for more ways to add cashews into your daily diet?

Try our recipe for Creamy Banana Cashew and Cinnamon Porridge recipe, developed especially for National Cashew Day on the 23rd November:

Creamy Banana Cashew & Cinnamon Porridge

  • x1 sachet of MOMA Plain (No Added Sugar) Porridge
  • ½ a large banana (¼ mashed, ¼ chopped)
  • x1 sachet of Pip and Nut Cashew Butter
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon raw, unsalted cashews

Method

  • Pour the MOMA Plain (No Added Sugar) Porridge sachet into a mug, cover with hot water and stir
  • Wait a few minutes for the porridge oats to absorb the water
  • Take your mashed banana and stir into the hot porridge
  • Squeeze the cashew nut butter sachet into the porridge
  • Sprinkle in the cinnamon
  • Stir gently to swirl the cashew nut butter and cinnamon into the porridge
  • Top the porridge with your sliced banana and the whole cashew nuts for some serious cashew crunch

Top Tip: If your porridge is a little too thick, simply add a splash more hot water and stir until you reach your desired porridge consistency. It’s a good idea to do this before you add all of the pretty toppings and snap an instagram of your lovely oatie bowl!

Going to try the recipe? Share a snap of your awesome oatie bowl with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – follow us for more oatie inspiration!