Monday, October 3, 2011

Curious About Cashews?

I had plans to write about cashews today since I am still trying to keep up with nuts.  Coincidentally, the great RDs over at HealthCastle were thinking along the same lines.  They have chosen cashews as their food of the month.  I won't change my topic, so you just get the added benefit of their information.

Cashews are kidney shaped seeds from cashew apples which are a delicacy in Brazil.  They have a lower fat content that most other nuts and 75% of their unsaturated fat comes from oleic acid which promotes cardiovascular health.  Cashews have a high concentration of copper which helps in the formation of red blood cells, is involved in enzyme systems, and acts as an antioxidant.  They are also rich in magnesium which works with calcium to keep your bones strong and healthy.  Cashews do contain oxalates, therefore they should be avoided by those with kidney or gallbladder problems.

To be consistent with the information you have received on walnuts and almonds, I want to give you nutritional information based on Canada's Food Guide servings: 1 serving (1/4 cup or 60 mL) = 182 Calories, 6 g protein, 14 g fat (of which 11 g is unsaturated), and 1 g of fibre.

Cashews are more stable due to their oleic acid content, but should still be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator (for up to 6 months), or in the freezer (for about 1 year). Cashew butter should always be refrigerated once it is opened.  

Continuing with the heart healthy theme, this recipe comes from Nadine Day, a Registered Dietitian with The Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Broccoli Cashew Stir-fry
Makes 4 servings
A great side dish, no need for takeout.
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil (or canola oil)
  • 3 green onions, sliced - separate the white parts from the green parts
  • 4 cups (1 L) broccoli, chopped
  • 2 cups (500 mL) mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup (250 mL) snowpeas
  • 2 cups (500 mL) bok choy, chopped
  • ½ cup (125 mL) cashews, chopped
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) water
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) sodium reduced soy sauce
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) honey
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  1. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large fry pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add cashews and roast for 2 to 3 minutes. Stirring frequently. Careful not to burn them. Set aside with the green parts of the green onion.
  3. In the same pan, add the sesame oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the white parts of the green onion, broccoli and mushrooms. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until broccoli is starting to become tender. Add a few tablespoons (45-60 mL) of water, if needed, to stop browning or burning.
  4. Add the snow peas and bok choy and sauté for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the sauce and sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add in the cashews and green parts of the green onion.
  6. Serve immediately with brown rice.
Nutritional information per serving (1 ½ cups / 375 mL):
199 Calories, 10 g protein, 10 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 23 g carbohydrate, 7g, 181 mg sodium

Steph Wheler, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching
World's Healthiest Foods, Cashews
Canadian Living, Everything you need to know about nuts, Danielle Ng-See-Quan