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News and Healthy Living with Cashews
Crunchy tasty roasted cashews

Cashew – Zinc, Cashews, and You

Zinc, Cashews, and You

 It has been known for years how good cashews are for you. They have manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Zinc is what’s known as an essential mineral which is found in some types of food. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Zinc is involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism. It is required for the catalytic activity of approximately 100 enzymes and it plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division. Zinc also supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence and is required for proper sense of taste and smell. A daily intake of zinc is required to maintain a steady state because the body has no specialized zinc storage system.” (“Zinc”)

This lack of storage by the body isn’t unusual. There are many vitamins and minerals a body should get daily because the body can’t store it. When it gets one of these types of vitamins or minerals in, it uses what it needs at that precise time and releases the rest, which comes out in the urine. So in order to have beneficial nutrients in your body, you should eat a healthy diet daily that contains the important vitamins, such as zinc found in cashews.

When your body has a weakened immune system, it becomes harder to fight off infection, colds, and other viruses. The National Institutes of Health says, “Severe zinc deficiency depresses immune function, and even mild to moderate degrees of zinc deficiency can impair macrophage and neutrophil functions, natural killer cell activity, and complement activity. The body requires zinc to develop and activate T-lymphocytes.  Individuals with low zinc levels have shown reduced lymphocyte proliferation response to mitogens and other adverse alterations in immunity that can be corrected by zinc supplementation. These alterations in immune function might explain why low zinc status has been associated with increased susceptibility to pneumonia and other infections in children in developing countries and the elderly.” (“Zinc”)

Zinc – Fighting the Common Cold

 No matter where you shop during cold and flu season you can find a plethora of over the counter cold medicines and lozenges with added zinc. Zinc is used to reduce not only the severity, but the symptoms that come with colds and the flu. Whether it’s cough syrup, lozenges, or or sprays, it seems as if it’s everywhere.

What’s interesting is that people who develop colds and flu symptoms often rush to the store to increase their intake of zinc. Had they been eating a diet high in zinc to begin with, such as one with cashews, they may not have gotten the cold or flu to begin with. Eating a handful of cashews can easily increase how much zinc your body has in it and the nuts are not only easy to store, but they have a long shelf life so you can easily stock up on them.

Recommendations

 The National Institutes of Health suggest including nuts, “such as cashews” be included in a healthy diet. (“Zinc”)

When you eat healthy, your body stays in good shape and is able to fight off illness and disease that can often accompany a nutrient poor diet.

Zinc and Enzymes

 An enzyme is a catalyst in the human body which helps to facilitate a biochemical reaction. Our bodies use enzymes daily for a variety of reasons. According to a recent study, zinc “is essential for function of more than 100 enzymes.” This same study continues, “Risk of deficiency is related to the level of anabolism and food choice.”(Sanstead)

Cashews – An Easy Way to Increase Your Intake of Zinc

 If you get sick, you can always head to your local drug store and get some zinc lozenges, but why not just eat cashews before getting sick, to keep your zinc levels up? As with many health issues, prevention is the key and in this case, quite possibly, the answer to the common cold. Cashews are a slightly sweet tasting nut which are packed with important vitamins and minerals your body needs. So order some today and start including them in a healthy diet to keep illness at bay.

References

 “Zinc.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 05 Jun 2013. Web. 30 Mar 2014. <http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/>.

Sandstead, H.H.. “Understanding zinc: recent observations and interpretations..” U.S. National Library of Medicine. National Institute of Health, n.d. Web. 30 Mar 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8083574?dopt=Abstract>.

Simple Steps to Healthy Eating

 

Simple Steps to Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is something that sounds easy, but can be challenging. For example, the following things might make it difficult to enjoy healthy foods:

  • Not enough time for food preparation;
  • Not enough money for the best quality foods;
  • Not enough knowledge about the healthy foods to eat, and
  • Not choosing the right foods.

Of course, this blog is not meant to discourage you from healthy eating, but is meant to explain to you just how easy it can be to begin improving your health through small and basic dietary changes.

So, let’s look at those obstacles and learn how to overcome them.

Time

We all understand that time can be a major issue. However, it is still entirely possible to enjoy healthy foods and healthy eating even when we don’t have a lot of free time. As an example, you know that you should add fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet, but you just cannot find the time to make a lot of meals or snacks from scratch.

Why not find ways to get two meals out of one? You can use those roasted vegetables for a batch of soup or you can toss them into a bowl of whole grain pasta and pack it for lunch? You can also buy a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and then wash, slice, peel, and prep them as soon as you get home from the store. This would allow you to have access to them at the moment you are ready to eat them or toss them into a dish.

Money

This is a major issue for most modern people, but let’s just look at one simple fact – when you eat a diet that is full of processed foods, you are paying a lot more per serving. When you become a “perimeter” shopper who buys whole foods, your bills may feel as if they stay the same – but you will get a lot more food and nutrition with each trip to the store.

You must also consider the benefits of buying directly from the source – such as a vendor that sells top quality foods online – and buying bulk. You can divide servings into different portions and store them under optimal conditions to be used when needed.

Knowledge

Ah yes, knowledge. The modern world is an informational superhighway and yet where our diets are concerned it would seem as if we were less informed than ever before. (Anderson)

Why is that? Generally, we think of thin or muscular as “healthy” but that is just an illusion. Healthy eating is not something you can so easily “see” when you look at someone. Sure, they have clearer skin and brighter eyes, but you don’t have to be “bone thin” to be healthy.

So, what is healthy eating? It is when you eat a diversity of whole foods that are not processed and which improve rather than negatively impact your health. That would mean your diet is full of fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, whole grains, protein, fresh water, and variety.

Choosing

This last issue is the toughest. This is because we might understand what to eat to be healthy, how to budget the time and money to buy the foods, but then we get to the store and we get confused. Should we buy the whole grain, all natural, fat free, etc?

We cannot emphasize enough that healthy eating means avoiding a lot of processing. So, foods that have a lot of added ingredients, canned and some frozen foods, and anything with preservatives and ingredients that are not easily pronounced should be kept out of the diet.

However, what about simple issues? What about things like nuts and seeds? How do you know which ones to buy? Should you just pick up the packages that have no added salt? Should you buy the most expensive to get the best quality?

This is actually a great example to use, and we’ll take an in-depth look at it to help you learn more about the healthy foods to eat.

Organic Nuts as the Ideal Example

When you want to eat healthy foods it means you want nutrient density. That is why fresh foods are such an ideal choice, but there are differences. That is why so many people are advocating organic foods that are locally grown or grown by farmers who have agreed to certain conditions.

As an example, here at the Caju Company we sell all natural cashews. We source them from small local farmers in Vietnam. This allows our nuts to be of the best quality and for the farmers to avoid the use of large-scale techniques such as non-organic compounds that reduce the nutritional value of the nuts.

The nuts are not heavily processed, we hand sort them for size and quality, roast them in small batches under ideal conditions, and then packaged and sell to our customers. Though they may not be as “cheap” as the cans on store shelves, they are far healthier, full of the nutrients that make them a super food, and provide the perfect illustration of how to shop and make simple steps towards healthier living.

Works Cited

Anderson, Robert Alan. 10 Ways to Eat Healthier. HowStuffWorks. 2013.

 

The Benefit of Fiber in the Daily Diet

The Benefit of Fiber in the Daily Diet

Are you looking for an easy way to add healthy foods to your daily diet? Perhaps you are hoping to drop a few pounds in the coming weeks? Maybe you want to start eating better but you worry about things like fat and calories? That is a valid concern, but there is actually a very simple answer for all of the questions above: organic nuts.

Yes, we know that a lot of people insist that nuts are fattening and not to be enjoyed on a daily basis, but those who believe this are totally off the mark. This is because they are thinking of those oily, salt-covered snack foods that come in glass bottles and cans on grocery store shelves.

What they should realize is that nuts can be grown, packaged, and sold without all of the destructive processes that cut down on nutrients and reduce the benefits. In fact, they can be grown in ways that uphold their nutrients, fiber, and healthy fats and then processed to retain these excellent qualities.

Nuts as Super Foods and Weight Loss Tools

Does this mean that nuts don’t have to be seen as fattening or full of calories? Consider that nuts like cashews are viewed as a “low fat” option that is so high in fiber as to be seen as the ideal food to help with weight loss.

“Cashew nuts are an excellent source of fiber…fiber causes a feeling of fullness when eaten. Each ounce of cashews you eat provides a gram of fiber, so eating a few ounces of cashews each day will help you feel full.” (Davis) And, obviously, when you feel full you don’t reach for truly unhealthy, fattening, or “empty” calorie foods.

Fiber in the daily diet is something that most of us overlook, and it is one of the reasons that we are so often encouraged to consume a lot of fruits and vegetables. Few people can manage the quantities recommended by nutritional experts, but even a small handful of cashews a few times per day can provide a large portion of your needs.

For instance, if a 100-gram serving has between 8 and 9 percent of your daily fiber, you can easily get up to 1/3 of your fiber just by adding a serving of cashews to one or two meals. Plus, you will feel fuller faster and put yourself at a decreased risk for over eating too!

Of course, eating more fiber shouldn’t only be about weight loss. Fiber is an essential part of the diet because it tends to absorb water in the colon and prevent issues such as diverticular disease and is even thought to reduce risks for colon cancer. It is great for slowing the absorption of sugar in the body – which mean that it is very helpful for those with diabetes or anyone prone to the formation of kidney stones.

Fiber is also one of the best tools for reducing the risk of heart disease – with many studies showing that people with high fiber diets have a much lower rate of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.

Organic cashews from Caju Company are a good way to add fiber to the diet, but also an ideal way to boost nutrients and enjoy the benefits of healthy, organic, and mindful eating.

Works Cited

Davis, Sarah. How to Lose Weight by Eating Cashew Nuts. Livestrong.com. 2013.

Mixed Nuts with Cashews

Turn to Organic Nuts for a Protein Boost

 

Turn to Organic Nuts for a Protein Boost

It is 3 PM and you feel that distinct dip in your energy. You have a few choices:

  • Go to the coffee pot and fill up on caffeine;
  • Go to the snack machine and buy candy for a sugar “jolt”;
  • Drink a sugary drink or an energy drink to snap awake; or
  • Snack on a handful of organic nuts.

If you chose the last option, you are a very wise person indeed. The first choice, that cup of coffee, is only going to make you cranky and tired about an hour or so later, but it may keep your hands shaking for hours afterward. The second option is going to give you a quick boost of sugar energy and then cause you to crash worse than before in a short time. Let’s not overlook that it also filled you with empty calories. The sugar drink or energy drink will also fail you in a short period.

Those organic nuts, however, will bring a nice amount of protein into your body. Though you won’t feel that instant “zing” in energy that the other choices provide, you will get a boost in only a short time and then enjoy it for hours to come. Consider too that when you use nuts for energy, you are getting the optimal benefits of truly healthy eating.

Why? Because most nuts are loaded with nutrients. There is the protein already mentioned, but you might get everything from iron and omega 3 fatty acids to vitamins and minerals essential to good health and well-being.

Is there one nut that is better than others? If you rely on the authorities you would see that all nuts are identified as healthy foods to eat. This is because they are full of so many beneficial compounds, however, when you need protein and energy boosts, there is little that compares to cashews. (MyFoodBodyMind)

Cashews as Optimal Healthy Foods

How is that possible? Cashews, like all other nuts, contain essential dietary fats. They do, however, contain them in what is viewed as an ideal ratio. This is a 1:2:1 ratio that has saturated: monounsaturated: polyunsaturated fats in such quantities as to make it a truly “low fat” nut.

That means that eating them for their protein counts means getting a low fat source of protein. The protein is what is going to help create energy, but cashews also have a leg up on their competition by being so high in copper as well. This is an essential component to energy production and a single serving gives you a whopping 244% of your daily recommended allowance.

This is why a handful of organic cashews is going to deliver such an impressive amount of energy.

Of course, that is not where it ends. The protein in cashews is also one that contains the highly desirable omega-3 acids. These are known for their abilities to decrease the “bad” or the LDL cholesterols in the body. This is why cashews are able to be enjoyed by those with heart disease or those who worry about fat in their diet contributing to it.

Finally, cashews are an optimal protein source because they have no natural cholesterol. They are literally a cholesterol free food!

The Source Matters

Unfortunately, not all cashews are alike and so anyone who wants to enjoy all of these benefits from an afternoon snack has to take the time to find a quality and reputable producer.

For example, we’ve been pointing out the many positives of cashews, but if you buy them from a firm that has roasted them with oil and salt, a lot of the so-called benefits will have been erased. You cannot add oil and other compounds to them and then expect them to still be “good for you” or among healthy foods to eat.

You also cannot ship them from all parts of the world and then dump them into a single batch while calling them “quality”. Cashews do not all grow to the same size, color, flavor, quality, etc. A good producer is going to take only small batches, grade them accordingly, and roast them in ways that maintains and enhances natural properties.

A good example of this is Caju cashews. We are a company that works exclusively with local Vietnamese farmers to ensure that the nuts are natural and of the utmost quality. We then grade the batches by hand and sort them in a way that provides our happy buyers with uniform and high quality products.

Roasted with only the addition of a small amount of natural sea salt, cashews from Caju remain among the healthiest foods to eat because they are not degraded by low quality growing standards and added additives.

You can turn to nuts for a boost of protein and energy, just be sure you buy them from us – Caju Company – because we do not coat our cashews with sodium, chemicals, and unhealthy oils.

Works Cited

MyFoodBodyMind. Nuts to Increase Energy. MyFoodBodyMind.com. 2012.

Organic Foods are Healthy Foods

 

Organic Foods are Healthy Foods

Go to any grocery store or market and you will see the word “organic” in many places. It radiates out at you from labels on cans, from signs on shelves, and from many kinds of food packages. You also see it throughout the entire produce department because there are now so many organic fruits and vegetables that it only makes sense to sell them directly alongside their non-organic counterparts.

What’s the big deal about organic?

To answer that, let’s begin with the technical definition from the USDA: “Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.” (Organic.org)

Naturally, there is a lot more to the definition than that, and standards apply to everything from vegetable farmers to people producing organic egg and dairy products to sell. However, let’s just consider the importance of the section of the definition above.

In it, we see that it is food that does not use any sort of synthetic or chemical compound. That tells us that the plants are allowed to really do their “thing” without any artificial influences. So, a tomato may not be as flawless when it reaches a store shelf because it didn’t have a layer of harmful chemicals protecting it, but it is likely to taste better and contain a lot of its natural ingredients.

That means that, generally, organic foods have a better taste, do less harm to the environment, and probably contain more of their naturally occurring compounds and even things like nutrients and vitamins.

Now, this is a controversial topic because there are still a lot of studies to be done.  However, if chemicals can trigger plants to behave certain ways and can kill insects that might normally feed on the plants, it is logical to assume that these same chemicals may impair the plant or food from producing its natural compounds.

Choosing Organics

If you have followed any of the news stories about organic foods, you also know that there is a special list produced each year called the “dirty dozen” and it is a list of the foods that you really must dedicate your dollars to if you are trying to eat healthy foods. Because organics cost more than non-organic produce, it is frequently a case of which foods someone can afford – and so this list helps people to know just where they can reduce their risks most effectively.

Does this mean you can just use such a list and ignore the rest? No. You should try to purchase organic foods as often as possible. This is to guarantee that you get the most nutrition for every penny you spend. It is also to guarantee that you don’t offset the benefits of your organic food choices by eating things that pose a challenge to health.

Pantry Staples

As an example, you don’t want to purchase only organic produce and yet consume large amounts of grains, seeds, dairy, meats, etc. that are not organic. All of these foods also have nutrients your body requires, and you will always want to eat them. However, you also want them to be the very best possible – and organic is the way to go.

Now, a lot of people are not even aware of the fact that there are organic nuts and other foods such as grains or dairy. These appear just as often as more traditional products, and usually right alongside one another on store shelves.

Currently, though, you may find that online resources provide a wider range of choices where your pantry staples are concerned. Take organic nuts as a prime example. You want to have nuts and seeds in the daily diet because of their super food status. However, you want them to be of the highest quality possible in order to play a key role in your healthy eating choices.

You may not easily find organic nuts on store shelves, and the Internet can then become a major ally. You can visit sites like our Caju Company website that sells top quality organic cashews. These nuts are a good example of the ways that organic foods become such healthy foods.

Our company sources cashews from one country, relies entirely on small farms, hand sorts the nuts purchased, and then roasts them in small batches under ideal conditions. The nuts arrive with nutrients intact and as one of the best healthy foods to eat. The buyer can rest assured that their choice has not only nurtured the small farms, but also supplied them with a high fiber, high protein, low fat, and top quality food that is not full of harmful compounds.

As a single example, organic cashews from Caju illustrate just why it is so important to add organic foods to the diet as much as possible.

Works Cited

Organic.org. Organic FAQ. Organic.org. 2014.

Organic Cashews are a Good Source of Healthy Fat

 

Organic Cashews are a Good Source of Healthy Fat

Fat…though it has three letters, it is often ranked as one of the top “four letter words” of the dietary world. This is a bit unusual when you stop to consider that fat is a “macronutrient” or something that our body needs a large amount of in order to function properly.

You  may not realize it, but your body uses fat to form hormones, as a source of energy, as a way to store energy, for the fatty acids needed for cellular health, for brain function, and for the maintenance of skin and cells. So, you do need fat – and a lot of it. That is why it is a “macro” nutrient considered to be an essential part of healthy eating.

However, it all boils down to the kinds of fats we eat that determines whether or not fat is a good word or a bad one.

Understanding Fat

When we talk about dietary fat, we can mean saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fats (let’s not even consider trans fats as they are just to be avoided outright). These are the types that appear in our food, and while some of them are horrible, some are an essential part of healthy eating.

Take organic nuts such as cashews as a prime example. As soon as you tell people you want to grab a handful of them as a snack, most will try to warn you off and suggest other, more “healthy foods”. They might do this because they believe cashews to have a lot of fat. However, your decision was the right one. This is because the fat in cashews is considered to be one of the healthiest.

In fact, dietary experts often call cashews the low fat nut because they have one of the overall lowest fat counts of many common snacking nuts – such as almonds and walnuts.

Here’s what we mean: Cashews “have a relatively high fat content…but it is considered ‘good fat’. This is due to the agreeable fat ratio in the nut…which scientists say is the ideal ratio for optimal health.” (Meyers)

We cannot overlook the fact that they are packed with the best fatty acids, meaning that they provide the body with the materials needed to cut the risks of heart disease. They also have zero cholesterol, further enhancing their disease fighting benefits.

So, in terms of healthy eating  and dietary fat – cashews are an all-around super food. Of course, you have to give a lot of attention to your source for cashews if you want them to remain on the list of optimally healthy foods.

The Source Matters

When you pick up that can of cashews on the grocery shelf, you should know a few major points about them:

  • It is unlikely that they came from one country and more likely to have come from three or four factory farms on different continents;
  • They probably have been coated in additional oil before roasting and then doused in salt to “enhance” flavor;
  • Roasting was probably done at a high heat that burned fossil fuels and which reduced the taste and nutrient qualities of the nuts; and
  • They were probably not “sized” and are sold instead by weight rather than quality.

What these points reveal is the simple fact that you may be reducing the overall nutritional value of your diet by opting to eat lower quality cashews. If you want them to be among the healthy foods to eat, you have to consider the source and how the nuts have been grown and handled by the distributor.

Why it Matters

We just learned that purchasing cashews from grocery store shelves may mean getting some of the lowest quality nuts available. They might be high in fat because of the way they were roasted, and their nutrient values may be decreased by the many things done since the nuts were harvested.

Additionally, when cashews are factory grown, they can be exposed to everything from pesticides to the introduction of GMO materials. This too can negatively impact their nutritional value and health benefits.

The answer to all of this is simple – find a source of organic cashews that purchases directly from non-factory farms. Find a source that does not alter the nuts by adding ingredients. A good choice is our Caju cashews. At our company we work directly with Vietnamese farmers who tend small farms and who maintain their crops to the utmost quality.

We then sort and roast the nuts in small batches. Relying on wood fired ovens, we use only a small amount of natural sea salt to enhance the sweet and delicious flavors of every batch.

When you are in need of a healthy source of dietary fats, turn to organic nuts. Look for companies offering products such as the cashews we provide here at Caju. We strive to preserve the flavor and the nutrients of the nuts and allow you to enjoy access to health foods to eat every day.

Works Cited

Meyers, Ruth. What are the health benefits of Cashews? Organic Cashew Nuts. 2013.

Healthy Foods for Total Fitness

Healthy Foods for Total Fitness

What is total fitness? It is not having those six-pack abs. It is not maintaining a specific percentage of body fat. No, total fitness is fitness that is from the “inside out”. It begins when you practice healthy eating throughout every day.

How Fitness is Created

Let’s just use a simple example: The famous model Claudia Schiffer admitted that for many years (at the height of her fame) she was a confirmed “junk food” eater. She smoked and rarely exercised, and yet if you saw a photograph of her during that time you would have difficulty finding any “flaws” in her appearance. Thus, it is not possible to say that total fitness is based on appearance alone.

Instead, it is having a body that is strong and energized, and this has to include healthy foods and smart daily choices. That means that for anyone to be as healthy and fit as possible, they have to learn the foundation of a healthy diet. This is one that provides enough energy throughout the day and yet does not encourage weight gain because of too many unused calories.

Energy and Food

If this is already confusing to you, just consider the word “energy”. You might hear the word “calories” all of the time, but you may not realize that calories are just a more complex way of talking about energy. You eat a certain number of calories every day and these are meant to supply you with the amount of energy your body needs to maintain its current weight, power you through your day, and yet not end up as stored energy (which we also call fat and muscle).

Some fitness experts speak of this as your BMR or basal metabolic rate. This is a number that indicates just how many calories you require every day to keep functioning, but without also doing any sort of exercise. This base measure of calories is what you should strive to eat every day. If you want to lose weight, you should eat this number of calories and try to do enough exercise to create a small deficit. Do this every day and your body starts to burn up fat for fuel and you have weight loss!

Of course, the energy you consume is important. Just as a car can use the least expensive fuel or it can burn the much higher quality fuel, so too does the body have a range of options. It is up to you to give the body the premium forms of energy needed in order to create complete fitness.

The Premium Fuel

So, what healthy foods are going to deliver the premium energy? We all know that a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and protein is going to be the best choice. However, not many of us understand how to get the very most out of the healthy foods we eat.

Let’s consider this for a bit in order to uncover the truly healthy foods for fitness. To begin, we understand that eating three large meals each day is no longer the smartest model. Instead, we need to eat five smaller meals or three small meals and two to three small snacks.

The healthy foods we eat should be chosen to give us what we need for our lifestyle. If you are someone who is very active, you need to be sure your body has enough energy from good sources of protein and carbohydrate. If you are a sedentary person, you still need that protein, but you need to ensure it is lean and full of nutrients.

This is not as easy as it sounds. All of the animal sources have a lot of fat, even when we pick things like lean meats. To dodge the problems we might turn to things like eggs or cheese, but here too we have to worry about cholesterol. How do we get high quality protein that gives us energy and packs nutrients? We turn to nuts and seeds.

The Benefits of Organic Nuts in a Fitness Plan

When you look at the nutritional data on things like nuts, you might be astonished. (Flynn) These are super foods that have long been blamed for being unhealthy choices. This is due entirely to the ways that nuts are processed and packaged.

Just compare the cashews from us here at the Caju Company as opposed to the many grocery store brands. Our Caju cashews are not doused in oil and salt, roasted in a coal oven where their enzymes are destroyed, and then packaged as a healthy snack. No, they are produced in small batches, sourced from organic farms in Vietnam, and then hand graded to guarantee that they are an ideal source of nutrition, protein, and energy.

There is a good way to begin healthy eating, and one of the first steps is to understand which foods to use and which sources to choose.

Works Cited

Flynn, Sarah Wassner. Nuts: The perfect health and fitness food. SheKnows.com. 2008.

Healthy Eating Includes Organic Nuts and Seeds

 

Healthy Eating Includes Organic Nuts and Seeds

The Internet makes floods of information about any possible topic available, and it can be remarkably challenging to get a straight answer about almost anything. Perhaps nothing is made more complex by all of the websites, articles, and blogs on the web, than the subject of healthy eating.

After all, there are websites about diets and exercise programs of all kinds. Some tell you to go “paleo” and eat only foods that hunters and gatherers would have eaten, some tell you to count calories and burn off certain amounts through exercise, and the list goes on and on.

There are also many sites and books dedicated to diets that eliminate all sources of carbohydrates or to radically cut down on the amount of protein you consume. Those promoting such diets tend to write well (or hire great writers) and make solid points backed up by science. They might explain how one clinical study proved that a certain diet was able to help people drop weight very fast or to build muscle quickly, etc.

The relevant issue with any and all of these websites, books, and dietary recommendations, is the that they proclaim to be healthy while often discouraging truly simple and healthy habits and patterns.

For example, extremes in your daily diet can hardly be seen as sustainable over the long term, or as a form of healthy eating. When entire food groups are eliminated, it means you are removing macronutrients, vitamins, or minerals from your diet – and that is a recipe for disaster.

Macro and Micro – Why They Matter

The human body is a wonderful system that requires very specific materials if it is to function properly.

You have to drink water; eat a blend of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and protein; keep an eye on your fiber intake, and so much more. However, the key to it all is to be sure that you eat a healthy diet.

This is one that contains certain nutrients in enormous quantities (in “macro” quantities). These macronutrients are fat, protein, and carbohydrate, and the body cannot produce them on its own, and must get them from dietary sources. The body must also get a lot of other nutrients, but needs them only in small quantities (“micro” quantities). These are the many vitamins and minerals we gain through truly healthy eating. Our bodies can produce some of these, but not often enough to keep the required levels.

So, when we talk about truly healthy eating, it has to be something that includes the widest range of options and the healthiest sources for them. It is only by eating a diversity of foods, and paying proper attention to their nutritional properties that we’ll be as healthy as humanly possible.

Luckily, there are some reliable and easy ways to get macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals – plus other beneficial materials – and all from in a single group of foods.

The Benefits of Organic Nuts and Seeds

What is that group of foods? It is nuts and seeds. They are tiny little powerhouses packed with some of the best nutrients possible. Though a lot of people wrinkle their noses over nuts or seeds because they think of them as snack foods, “bird food”,  extras to be added to another dish, or even as  “fattening” foods,  they would all be making a mistake in judgment.

Yes, it is not healthy eating to fill your diet with snack foods, and certainly there are the “bad” fats to be worried about. However, none of these worries apply to organic nuts or seeds. They are not huge sources of saturated fats that are full of hazardous compounds such as cholesterol. Nor are they “empty” calories that cause you to gain weight without also gaining nutrients.

Instead, nuts and seeds are sources of dietary fats that qualify as healthy foods to eat. They are high in fiber and protein, full of vitamins and minerals, and considered some of the world’s “super foods”.

Cashews as an Example

Let’s use cashews as a fine example of everything we just pointed out above. A lot of people buy them purely to eat as a snack food, and this is why they may have a less than stellar reputation.

However, it is when people opt for oily and salted varieties that they get into trouble. When you read the food labels on these salty and fatty snacks, you see that they are not an ideal food source. However, when you find a good source for nuts, cashews will instantly begin to be a source of healthy eating. The key is to find them as close to their natural state as possible.

Family owned companies like ours, Caju Company, source our nuts from local Vietnamese farmers, providing buyers with a truly optimal taste. We then sort them by size and gently roast them with a small amount of natural sea salt. No oil, no high heat to destroy enzymes, and no harmful ingredients. Now, that’s healthy eating.

With 82% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids (WHFoods), Cashews are heart healthy. They reduce triglycerides that can lead to heart disease, and they have zero cholesterol. They are full of enzymes, antioxidants, and protein – meaning they help fight a long list of common diseases and ailments. When you want a super food, cashews are a wise choice to add to the daily diet.

Works Cited

WHFoods. Cashews. WHFoods.com. 2014.

You Can Eat Nuts and Lose Weight

 

You Can Eat Nuts and Lose Weight

“Nuts are fatty and you shouldn’t eat them if you want to drop some weight.”

“Limit the amount of nuts in the daily diet because they are a source of fat.”

“Based on the information, nuts are not a good option for people hoping to lose weight.”

Do you believe any of that information above? Hopefully, you are sitting there shaking your head “no”. If you do believe these things, you are in for a surprise. Why? Not only are nuts good for you in general, they are a wonderful tool for weight lost. (Enos)

However, as in all things, you must understand how to use them as a tool if you want to enjoy success.

Nuts and Nutrients

Let’s begin by looking at the ways that organic nuts are just plain good for us. All nuts are loaded with what should be known as “healthy fat”. They all contain the three major types of fat – saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. They should not have any “trans fats” because these are artificial fats that do not occur in any whole food source.

The body needs fat – end of story. We hear too often that we should avoid fat, but it is one of the three “macronutrients” that keep our bodies functioning. Fat is responsible for connective tissue, brain function, hormone production, muscle and cell building, nutrient distribution, energy storage, and so much more.

The diets that force you to cut back on fat are really impairing your bodily functions – including healthy weight loss. So, if you are thinking of going “fat free”…just don’t do it. Instead, turn to foods that provide you with the ideal ratios of fat.

What does that mean? Take cashews as an example. They are called a “low fat” source of protein because they contain an ideal blend of the three fats. Of course, they are not good for weight loss just because of their healthy fat. They are also a dependable source of protein, they are packed to the rafters with vitamins and minerals, and they deliver an impressive amount of fiber.

Cashews as Optimal Healthy Eating

When you want to lose weight, fiber becomes a good friend. This is because fiber will help you to feel full faster and longer. The small handful of cashews that you eat as a midmorning snack will make you feel satiated for a long time afterward. It will help you to eat smaller portions at lunch, and yet you won’t end up fatigued around 3 PM either.

This is because cashews are full of copper. In fact, they have the highest amount of copper compared to other popular nuts. This is going to help with energy production and allow you to feel full and energized throughout most of the day.

Now, what about calories? Nuts are famous for being high calorie foods. Again, this doesn’t mean that they are empty calories. We just reviewed that nuts can deliver tremendous amounts of nutrients and energy in small servings. That means that the calories that you consume from this healthy eating habit are not going to contribute to weight gain because you are going to use up those calories easily.

Clarification

Here is how it would work: You eat a realistic breakfast and do some morning exercise. You head to the office and around 10AM, you feel a bit hungry. You have a handful of organic cashews and feel that hunger start to subside right away. About an hour later, you start to feel a lot of energy, and around 12:30PM (when you break for lunch), you don’t feel all that hungry because the protein from the cashews is keeping you powered up.

Still, you eat a lunch of healthy foods that give another round of energy. This ensures that when you have burned through the nuts you are going to get another round of energy from the foods you ate midday.

If you work some exercise into this schedule, you burn up more calories and yet you won’t have really consumed all that many because you got filled up and energized by the nuts you enjoyed in the morning.

Of course, a major point is the quality of the nuts. They cannot be saturated with added oils and salt. This would eliminate all of the benefits by making them a high fat and high sodium snack.  You don’t want this.

Instead, you would want to turn to a high quality provider of nuts, such as the Caju Company. We provide clients with flawlessly roasted organic cashews that will deliver the kind of energy, nutrients, and weight loss that so many want, and without any concerns for empty calories, food additives, and other unwanted “junk”.

Works Cited
Enos, Deborah. Go Nuts and Still Lose Weight. LiveScience.com. 2013.

How Cashews Compare to Other Nuts

How Cashews Compare to Other Nuts

It is funny, but when you ask people for a quick list of the healthy foods to eat they don’t often list nuts and seeds among their top choices. This is very interesting because on an ounce-by-ounce basis, nuts and seeds really rank as some of the world’s best super foods.

Take cashews as a prime example. They “rank #1 among nut crops in the world with 4.1 billion pounds produced” each year. (Meyers) This is because they are a popular snack food, but they are also seen as a “natural vitamin pill” too. They have a high fat content, but the ratio of saturated to monounsaturated to polyunsaturated is viewed as an “ideal” for optimal health.

Though, not all nuts are as ideal as cashews, it is clear evidence that organic nuts should be seen as some of the healthiest foods we can eat.

What is Healthy Food?

Of course, with so much information about food and health in the world today, it can be unclear as to what qualifies as healthy foods. After all, if you are someone who only looks at food tables to see how many grams of fat something contains, you would avoid some of the world’s best foods – such as avocados, nuts, and salmon.

That means that we have to take a few steps back and look at the “big picture” if we are to see how nuts must be included in any plan for healthy eating. Again, we’ll use cashews as a good illustration of nuts as healthy foods. They deliver around 28% of your daily energy needs (calories) in a single serving, but before you worry that this is too many calories just consider that 23% of that serving is carbohydrates (with 9% of that being in the form of dietary fiber).

You also get loads of minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids that help to decrease bad cholesterol. Oh, and if you are concerned, cashews have no cholesterol at all per serving. That means they have optimal fat ratios, combat heart disease, and do not add any cholesterol to the body.

This is a totally different image than many have had in the past. And that means we want to also take a look at the other popular nuts so often recommended for those interested in healthy eating.

Walnuts, Almonds, and More…

If you take the word of Harvard University, all nuts are “good” for you, but if you are looking for specific nutrient counts you have to research a bit. Here is what we mean: They released a 2004 article citing cashews for their tremendous magnesium counts, but pointing to walnuts as a better source for alpha-linolenic acid. They then indicated that peanuts are loaded with folate while almonds are great for vitamin E.

In other words, all nuts are going to be really good for you, but if you have specific needs in your diet, it is best to eat a mixture of nuts on a regular basis and to always go for organics and minimally processed.

Why? It is only these nuts that have been grown and handled under optimal conditions in order to retain their nutrient counts, fatty acids, and other benefits.

cashew-almond-walnut

Understanding the Differences

How can there be such differences between say, a can of organic nuts and a can of those right from a grocery store shelf?

The differences are actually profound. Take a package of cashews purchased from us here at Caju versus a can of cashews from a store shelf. Caju does not purchase nuts cheaply from growers all over the world and then blend them together to sell at premium prices. This sort of thing is what the large scale producers do, and it is why they have to roast and salt the nuts so heavily.

For instance, when you snack on a package of our high quality Caju cashews you notice that they are of uniform size, color, and quality. Each nut is packed with the unique and sweet flavor that cashews from Vietnam are known for producing.

If you take a handful of cashews from the grocery store brand you notice they are covered in an oily slick and that you distinguish the saltiness more than any flavor from the nut. This has to happen because they buy from producers all over the world. The nuts are not sorted by color and quality – they are blended together for weight and bulk.

The imbalance in taste and color are hidden when roasted in gas or coal ovens after being oiled and salted. This masks any “off” flavors but also increases calories and ruins that ideal fatty balance in the organic nuts.

The experts argue that “side by side” all nuts have benefits, but cashews are one of the few viewed as nature’s vitamin pill. The key is to buy nuts from quality producers like Caju because we handle them in ways that preserve their nutrients and their flavors.

Reference

Meyers, Ruth. What are the health benefits of Cashews? Organic Cashew Nuts. 2013.