Q: “Will it help me in a predominantly vegetarian regimen without meat, milk and eggs to eat more cashew nuts for obtaining whole blood? How much and in what form to consume it? Does the raw one contain any harmful substances?”
Your diet is rather vegan and the problem is the real thread for a specific deficit of essential amino acids, iron and folic acid, which otherwise the organism gets with meat products, milk and eggs. Nuts, including cashew, are extremely useful source of proteins and valuable fats and should be included in the daily vegan’s menu. Eating them, you should keep in mind they are very caloric and you will easily gain weight. The high energy value is due to the fats they contain. It’s good that 85% of them are unsaturated. This type of fats helps lowering the so called “bad cholesterol”, a major cause of cardiovascular diseases. This is proven by many researches which show that people, who consume at least 100g nuts weekly, suffer less from cardiovascular diseases, compared with those who don’t.
Cashew is evergreen whose fruit, called also “cashew apple”, strongly resembles quince or large pear with red color. Mossy reniform appendage is found at the bottom end of the plant in which one nut cashew is hidden. It is immersed in a liquid which is toxic in order to keep away termites and other tropical vermin.
Each cashew apple gives only one nut and thus one tree can give up to 300 fruits per year respectively, which is extremely less compared with the walnut tree for example. This fact, the difficult harvest and the process of detoxification of the nuts, together with transportation define its high price in our lands.
Cashew is rich in proteins, slow carbohydrates, unsaturated fatty acids, fibers, vitamins B1, B2, B6 and mostly vitamin B9 and the minerals magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and iron. The nutritional value of 100 g nuts is: 550 kcal, 18 g proteins, 43 g fats, 30 g carbohydrates, 3.3 g fibers.
The toxin in the liquid of the cashew peel – urushiol is poisonous and must be carefully removed which is an obligatory work of the producer. Cashew contains also high concentrations of oxalates which can lead to kidney and gallbladder stone formation if accumulated and inhibit the absorption of calcium. In rare cases it can cause allergic reactions – in people prone to allergies.
An important clarification is that, when all nuts are heat treated their fats turn into destructive ones and cannot bind with water inside the organism. This makes them difficult to digest. Moreover, the high temperature leads to the loss of all vitamins and minerals. Roasted nuts and seeds harm the cardiovascular system, cause inflammatory processes, lead to acne and other dermatological diseases and speed up aging. In other words said, the difference between roasted and raw nuts is enormous – like “between life and death” as they say in some popular books and this comparison is not accidental. If we sow raw cashew, a tree will grow, but nothing will happen if we make it with a roasted nut.
Raw nuts and seeds, however, contain substances called inhibitors which are the reason they don’t start to germinate and grow while in packages in the store. Soaking them in a bowl with water is the way to eliminate these inhibitors which otherwise hinder digestion and absorption. In this way they turn into real live food, produce enzymes, increase their size, vitamin and mineral content. Nuts and seeds need different time for soaking – 4 hours for seeds and 8-12 hours for nuts. It is very important to wash them thoroughly after soaking.
In conclusion – do not hesitate to consume cashew and other nuts as well especially in your vegan regime of nutrition. One handful /40 g/ of mixed nuts soaked in advance will give your body complete nutrients without affecting negatively your healthy metabolism.