Is Eating Cashews Good Or Bad For Cholesterol?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and it is primarily caused by high levels of certain fats in the blood. Therefore, it is wise to limit your intake of foods that raise bad cholesterol levels in the blood. You may have heard that saturated fats raise bad cholesterol, but since cashews contain saturated fats, you may be wondering what effect they have on your cholesterol levels. Cashew butter is another way to add cashew nuts to your diet. Spread on toast or mix with yogurt or oatmeal. You can also make your own no-bake energy balls by processing cashew butter, oatmeal, and your favorite nuts. The good news? There’s less reason to worry than you might think.
How high cholesterol can damage your health
Cholesterol is a waxy substance, and the body needs small amounts of it to function properly. This problem occurs when the level of bad cholesterol in the blood rises and remains high for a long time. This waxy substance can clog and harden arteries, leading to heart attacks and strokes. That is why it is recommended that you keep your total cholesterol below 200 milligrams per deciliter.
Know the good and bad cholesterol
Because oil and water don’t mix, cholesterol is encased in a carrier called lipoprotein. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are considered an unhealthy form of cholesterol because they move around in organs and tissues depositing cholesterol. Therefore, it is recommended that LDL be kept below 100 milligrams per deciliter.
HDL, on the other hand, removes cholesterol and takes it to the liver for excretion. It is recommended that you aim to keep this good cholesterol level above 60 milligrams per deciliter.
Cashews lower bad cholesterol
Cashews do contain saturated fat. However, most of the fat in cashews is unsaturated fat, which is good for heart health: a 2-ounce serving of cashews contains 2 grams of saturated fat and 16 grams of unsaturated fat. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about eating cashews to increase the bad fats in your body. In fact, eating cashews regularly can lower LDL and total cholesterol levels, making them part of a heart-healthy diet.
Cashews can increase good cholesterol
The heart health benefits of cashews go beyond lowering LDL and total cholesterol. A team of researchers investigated the effects of cashew consumption on healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and published their findings in the January 2018 issue of the Journal of Nutrition. In the 12-week study, cashew nut consumption increased HDL (good cholesterol) levels and lowered blood pressure. There is no better reason to include cashews and other nuts in your diet.
They can improve your heart health
Diets rich in nuts (including cashews) have traditionally been associated with a reduced risk of diseases such as stroke and heart disease.
Several studies have looked at the specific effects of cashews on heart health.
Patients with type 2 diabetes who consumed 10% of their daily calories from cashews were found to have a lower ratio of LDL (bad) cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol than those who did not eat cashews.
A low LDL/HDL ratio is generally considered to be an indicator of heart health.
In two other studies, cashew nut consumption was associated with higher HDL cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure, as well as lower total and LDL cholesterol levels.
However, a recent review showed mixed results. One of the included studies showed that regular consumption of cashew nuts lowered blood pressure and triglyceride levels. However, no effect on total cholesterol, LDL or HDL cholesterol levels was observed.
Similarly, another study found no significant changes in cholesterol or triglyceride levels after consuming 28 to 108 grams of cashew nuts daily for 4 to 12 weeks.
The researchers believe that these inconsistent results may be due to the limited number of studies and the small size of the participants. The researchers conclude that cashews are likely to be as beneficial to heart health as other nuts, but more research is needed to confirm this.
It may also make a difference whether participants in these studies replaced unhealthy snacks with cashews or simply added cashews to their current diet.
This may be helpful for people with type 2 diabetes
People with type 2 diabetes may benefit from adding cashews to their diet.
This is partly because cashews are a good source of fiber, a nutrient that helps prevent blood sugar spikes and is thought to provide protection against type 2 diabetes.
Research on the effects of cashews on blood sugar levels is limited.
However, one study found that people with type 2 diabetes who consumed 10 percent of their daily calories from cashews had lower overall insulin levels (a measure of blood sugar control) than those who did not eat cashews.
In addition, cashews contain only 8 grams of net carbohydrates per serving, less than 2 grams of which are sugars.
Net carbohydrates are the total amount of carbohydrates in a food minus the amount of fiber and represent the net amount of carbohydrates that the body can actually absorb.
Eating cashews instead of carbohydrates and sugary foods can help lower blood sugar levels.
Nevertheless, more research is needed to determine the effects of a high cashew nut diet on people with type 2 diabetes.
Easy to add to your diet
Cashews are easy to add to your diet.
They can be eaten raw or roasted, making them a great take-home snack.
Whole or ground cashews can also be added to a variety of dishes, from stir-fries or scrambled tofu to soups, salads and stews.
Cashew butter is another way to add cashews to your diet. Spread it on toast or mix it with yogurt or oatmeal. You can also make your own no-bake energy balls by processing cashew butter with oats and your favorite nuts.
You can also soak cashews and mix them with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to make a dairy-free sour cream or cream cheese. Add flavor to your meals or make a dairy-free version of your favorite dessert.
Keep in mind, however, that roasted and salted cashews can contain a lot of oil and salt. If you want to limit the extra salt and fat, consider choosing dry-roasted or raw unsalted cashews.