The cashew tree is a tall tree native to Brazil and related to the pistachio; its "nuts" are botanically speaking seeds not actually nuts, and are popular around the world, both for cooking and eaten in their own right.
In Ayurvedic medicine, cashew nuts are considered to be a stimulant and an aphrodisiac, and are used as an all round tonic. Today we know that cashew nuts are rich in phytochemicals which may have a number of health benefits.
Cashew nuts are rich in vitamins E, K and B6 and in heart-protective mono unsaturated fats. Fatty acids such as oleic acid, found in cashew nuts, can help to lower cholesterol. Cashews are also an excellent source of selenium, manganese, potassium, copper and zinc, all minerals which are vital for good health and which are often deficient in the western diet.
Cashew nuts are also rich in antioxidants, which are known to help protect the body against cell damage caused by free radicals. Proanthocyanidins, found in cashews, also have antioxidant properties as well as having antimicrobial effects. Their anti-inflammatory potential is being studied as a potential treatment for numerous conditions.