Cashews come from trees related to mangoes, pistachios, sumac and poison ivy. Like other tree nuts, cashews are packed with a wide variety of essential nutrients. Because they're relatively high in calories, however, an ounce of nuts -- or about 1/4 cup -- is considered a single serving.
A 1-ounce serving of raw cashews provides just over 150 calories and about 12 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein and 9 grams of carbohydrates, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cashews also offer 1 gram of fiber per serving, or 4 percent of the recommended daily value.
Vitamins and Minerals
You'll get about 12 percent of the daily value for vitamin K -- a nutrient your body needs for blood clotting -- from a 1-ounce serving of cashews. It also supplies 10 percent of the recommended daily value for iron, as well as 8 percent and 6 percent of the daily values for thiamin and vitamin B-6, respectively. Cashews contain trace amounts of many nutrients, including calcium.
With just 3 milligrams of sodium per 1-ounce serving, raw cashews are virtually sodium-free. Dry-roasted versions with added salt contain upwards of 180 milligrams of sodium per serving, while oil-roasted cashews with added salt contain closer to 90 milligrams per serving. The Institute of Medicine recommends that most people keep their sodium intake under 1,500 milligrams per day.
Saturated fat accounts for less than 20 percent of the 12 grams of fat in a serving of cashews. The rest comes from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. Getting 25 to 35 percent of your daily calories from these types of fats is generally considered healthy, according to the American Heart Association. In addition, consuming unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat may help lower blood cholesterol.
Eating nuts, including cashews, can improve your overall nutritional profile. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who consume nuts as a regular part of their diet have higher intakes of the nutrients folate, beta-carotene, vitamin K, phosphorus, copper, selenium, potassium and zinc.
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