Cashew or Cashew nut (Kaju) is a popular dry fruit that is widely consumed all over the world in various ways like as a snack, as an ingredient of sweet dishes; as a topping on many vegetarian and nonvegetarian dishes.
Eating Cashew nut is very beneficial for our health because of the number of healthy nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids etc. present in them. However, just like every other thing, there are risks and side effects of eating too many cashew nuts; and in this article, we will know about these side effects and why we should eat cashew nuts in moderate quantity.
Side Effects Of Eating Too Many Cashew Nuts
(1) May Give Rise To Weight Gain
Eating cashew nuts in moderate quantity may help in weight management but this could turn negative when cashew nuts are consumed in excessive quantity. Cashews are a good source of energy because of their high calorific value; which means one can get a good amount of energy just by eating a handful of cashew nuts. They are also a good source of monounsaturated fat; which keeps our cardiovascular system healthy but even nutritious fats can be dangerous for our body when consumed in excess quantity.
Eating just one ounce of dry roasted cashews provides 163 calories and this number can rise to as high as 786 calories if you have eaten around one cup of cashew nuts; which is not at all hard task if you are snacking directly from the bag.
Eating around one cup of cashew nuts provide as much as 40 percent of our daily calories need ( on the basis of a 2000 calories diet). Eating more calories may give rise to weight gain which is not at all beneficial for our health as it may give cause obesity and give rise to other health problems like high cholesterol, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, stroke, cardiovascular problems etc.
Because of the “weight gain” risk associated with cashew nuts; it is always advisable to eat cashew nuts in a limited quantity and not as “movie time snack “ as there is the high risk of overeating which may lead to obesity and other problems.
(2) Presence Of Excess Sodium
The level of sodium in cashew nuts is not very high and in fact; there is only 12 mg of sodium in 100 grams of cashew nuts. However, being a dry fruit, there are many times when cashew nuts are served in salted form and the level of sodium in salted cashew nuts is around 181 milligrams of sodium per ounce (which roughly equates to 638 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams of cashew nuts ).
This high level of sodium which is very dangerous to our health as it may increase our blood pressure level; and may give rise to other cardiovascular problems.
As per the Centres For Disease Control and Prevention, healthy people should get no more than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day; and those who are at risk of heart disease should not get more than 1500 milligrams of sodium. Although the level of sodium in cashew nuts ( even in salted one) don’t seem quite high but; it is important to note that if one is overeating cashew nuts then this number can quickly add up.
We also get sodium from other food items we eat and as these days people eat a lot of junk food ( which are already high in sodium content); so this risk of high sodium intake increases even further.
The best way to deal with this issue is to eat cashew nuts in moderation and give more preference to eating unsalted cashew nuts. If you are more concerned about taste then it’s okay to eat salted cashew nuts once in awhile but in a limited quantity.
If you are at a risk of cardiovascular diseases or high blood pressure then it is better to consult your doctor about eating salted cashew nuts.
(3) Raw Cashew Nuts Are Dangerous
Although these days it is not so common to find raw or in-shell cashews at the store; but even if you do then it’s best to stay away from them and give preference to commercially prepared cashew nuts.
This is because raw cashews are related to poison ivy and poison sumac and oils present in the cashew shells can cause an itching and unpleasant reactions on our skin .
Commercially prepared cashew nuts are safe for eating because they are de-shelled and roasted at a high temperature; and this destroys any lingering toxic oils and make them perfectly safe for eating.
(4) May Destroys Balance Of Other Food Materials
Eating cashew nuts is good for our health because of the number of nutrients present in them; but even after the presence of a large number of nutrients in cashew nuts; they are not a complete food and our body needs other important nutrients; which we get from other food materials like fruits, vegetables, and grains etc.
Because of this reason ,it is better to eat cashew nuts in a limited quantity; and as per the recommendation of The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines, it is better to keep the high protein intakes like nuts, beans, tofu and fish to 5.5 ounces per day.
Eating cashew nuts ( and other high protein foods) in limited quantity will ensure that there is enough room for other important food material in our body. So, in short eat cashew nuts ( in moderation) for your good health; but don’t let cashew nuts or any other food item to dominate your diet.
(5) May Cause Allergies
Eating too many cashew nuts is dangerous for our health even; because of the risk of allergic reactions attached to them. As per a study published in December 2003 edition of the journal “Allergy”’; allergies associated with cashews are risking day by day; and these allergic reactions are even more serious because they affect young children; who may never have been exposed to these allergies.
As per an another article published in the journal “Archives of Diseases In Childhood”; it was found that anaphylaxis or constricting of the airways was found to be more common in people suffering from cashew allergies than in people suffering from peanut allergies.
(6) May Interfere With Certain Medications
Cashew nuts are an excellent source of magnesium ( 82.5 mg of magnesium per ounce of cashew nuts) which provides a lot of benefits like regulating body temperature, detoxification; keeping bones and teeth healthy and many more benefits. However, there is also some risk associated with magnesium; and one such risk is their ability to interfere with a number of drugs.
As per the University of Maryland Medical Center notes; it was found that a number of drugs interact with magnesium ( which is present in cashews in high level); and disturbs the effect of those drugs. Quinolone antibiotics like ciprofloxacin and magnesium bind together and may prevent adequate absorption of antibiotics.
Magnesium may even interact with blood pressure medications and calcium channel blockers; and increase the risk of side effects associated with these medications and cause nausea and water retention. It can even react with diabetics medication, thyroid medications, diuretics and penicillamine.
So, if you are on any kind of medication like diabetics medication, antibiotics medication, thyroid medications etc.; then it is better to first talk to your doctor about the same and eat cashew nuts only as per the recommendation of a doctor.
(7) May Cause High Blood Pressure
Eating too many salted cashew nuts may increase the blood pressure level of our body and give rise to hypertension; and other health problems; because of the high level of sodium (around 181 milligrams of sodium per ounce of cashew nut) present in salted cashew nuts. It is important to note that level of sodium in unsalted cashew nuts is very low (around 12 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams of cashew nut); which means it is better to eat unsalted cashew nuts and say no to salted cashew nuts.
If you still want to eat salted cashew nuts; then eat them only once in awhile and that too in moderation. Although the level of sodium in unsalted cashew nuts is not so high (in comparison to salted cashew nut); but still it is better to eat even the unsalted cashew nut in limited quantity (to avoid other side effects of cashew nut overeating ).
(8) Not Suitable For People Suffering From Headaches And Migraines
Eating cashew nuts is not suitable for people suffering from headaches and migraines; because of the amino acids like tyramine and phenylethylamine present in them. Although these amino acids are good for our health and help in maintaining the normal blood pressure levels and provide a sense of well-being; but these amino acids may cause head pain in individuals who are sensitive to these amino acids.
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