You’re sitting down on the couch watching your favorite show and open up a bag of cashew nuts. Then you think to yourself, oh wait, are cashews Paleo?
Nuts are one of the well known, quintessential foods to be eaten while on the Paleo diet, along with meat and vegetables. So as you reach for your favorite crescent shaped snack, you may not even stop to consider if they are truly Paleo.
Although cashews are often categorized as nuts, the truth is, they are not technically a nut! So to answer the question, ‘are cashews Paleo’, let’s first find out what exactly a cashew is.
A Closer Look at the Cashew
Cashews are harvested from the cashew apple which is actually a fruit. Therefore, cashews are considered a seed. The good news is, whether seed, or nut, cashews are commonly considered safe to eat on the Paleo diet!
Nut or seed, cashews are often categorized as a nut in most food journals. They are bunched together with other nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans and pistachios, all of which fall under inside the approved Paleo food list.
So this is good news if you love eating this crunchy and delicious snack item, since you can continue to enjoy it even on the Paleo diet.
Health Benefits of Cashews
While they’re considered often as snacks, cashews are in fact, very nutritional. They are loaded with magnesium and zinc. They’re also low glycemic and contain monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is a healthy fat that can be very beneficial to your heart. This is why nuts are often recommended as snacks because they contain a good amount of good fats.
Caution with Nuts
With all the good that cashews can provide, there are some cautions you should take when eating them. Cashews are very decadent, like macadamia nuts, so they’re easy to overeat. Although they have less fat then other nuts, if you’re trying to lose weight, you should still consider limiting your consumption.
One of the things about nuts is that they’re very addictive. Once you eat one or two kernels of cashew nuts, you more than likely to keep eating more until you’ve finished the whole pack. So it’s important to be aware of how much you’ve eaten and to stop yourself.
Eat in Moderation
Cashews are also high in phytic acid which is commonly known to be present in grains and legumes. Avoiding phytic acid is one of the principles of the Paleo diet because phytic acid is known to decrease mineral absorption. So you want to take caution when eating cashews that you do so in moderation.
The FDA acknowledges that nuts are an important part of a healthy diet. They recommend a daily intake of around 1.5 ounces of nuts daily or on many days of the week for heart health. One and a half ounces comes to about 24 to 27 cashews.
If you’re watching your weight or looking to shed some pounds, try limiting the amount of nuts to 1 oz. since for the amount you eat they are high on calories.
Enjoying and Choosing Cashews
With an eye on moderation, cashews can be enjoyed in many ways. They are excellent as a mid-morning or afternoon snack. You can even search for whole meal recipes that include cashews like cashew chicken. If you want a real treat, make your own cashew butter.
When purchasing your cashews be sure to go with organic and raw. Avoid cashews with salt or other seasonings to keep as closely to the Paleo diet as possible. As a note, cashews cannot be bought in the shell like walnuts or other nuts from the grocery store. Their shells are lined with a resign that is dangerous to consume and must be removed before put on the shelf to sell.
In conclusion, cashews definitely get a thumbs up when you’re eating Paleo. So the next time you go visit the grocery store, aim to buy good, quality, organic cashews and eat with moderation.