bag of raw cashews

Cashews – The Potassium Link

Cashews – The Potassium Link

 In order for the body to function properly, it needs the mineral potassium. Potassium helps the nerves and muscles of the body communicate. It can also help with preventing negative effects on a body which has high levels of sodium, effecting blood pressure. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Potassium is a mineral that, among other things, helps your muscles contract, helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of body cells and helps maintain normal blood pressure by blunting the effect of sodium. Potassium may also reduce your risk of recurrent kidney stones and possibly bone loss as we get older.” (It’s About Eating Right”)

When the body gets enough of the potassium it needs, it is able to perform necessary functions and it also reduces the risk of issues to the body later in life. So it’s pretty important to have a diet with plenty of potassium in it. The good news is, potassium is found in cashews, which are one of the best tasting nuts you can buy.

The Sodium and Potassium Link

 According to the Department of Health & Human Services, “Nearly all Americans eat too much salt (sodium). Most of the salt comes from eating processed foods (75%), or adding salt to food while cooking and using the salt shaker at meals (5% to 10%). On average, the more salt a person eats, the higher his or her blood pressure. Eating less salt is an important way to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, which may in turn reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney damage. To reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, eat less processed food and use less salt while cooking and at the table.” (“Sodium and Potassium”)

For people who eat too much sodium, high blood pressure is a problem. High blood pressure is known in the medical world as ‘hypertension’. But what can high blood pressure do to a body? According to The Mayo Clinic, high blood pressure can do damage to your arteries, heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes. It can also cause sexual dysfunction, bone loss, and cause trouble sleeping. (“High blood pressure dangers: Hypertensions effect’s on your body”)

Let’s take a look at just one of these organs – the brain. Hypertension causes problems which can be hard to counteract once they are in place. The brain needs a vast supply of blood for it to work properly. When hypertension is in place, it can cause a transient ischemic attack, also known as a TIA, which is like a mini stroke and often a clue that a true stroke is on the way. According to the Mayo Clinic, “A stroke occurs when part of your brain is deprived of oxygen and nutrients, causing brain cells to die. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke by damaging and weakening your brain’s blood vessels, causing them to narrow, rupture or leak. High blood pressure can also cause blood clots to form in the arteries leading to your brain, blocking blood flow and potentially causing a stroke.” (“High blood pressure dangers: Hypertensions effect’s on your body”)

Hypertension can also cause dementia which can cause problems with the thought process, reasoning, memory, and vision. It also leads to mild cognitive impairment. So when you look at just one of these issues, it’s important to understand the benefits of eating a healthy diet, with foods that have potassium in them, such as cashews.

Diet Changes – Easier than You Think

 Many people eat fast food as a convenience. Whether you’re working late at the office and need a quick bite to eat or are a mom on the go, taking kids to and from school and practice, many people stop for fast food. There are fast food restaurants on every corner, beaconing with their neon lights and dollar menus. But changing your diet and getting away from fast food doesn’t need to be hard.

One way to accomplish this would be to keep healthy snacks around for when those cravings hit, snacks such as nutrient rich cashews. In addition to potassium, they have copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, and manganese. Your body needs all of these and it’s easy to carry cashews around. They are portable and can be kept easily in your car for those moments when you’re tempted to eat what you know you shouldn’t. Giving your body healthy cashews is easy, and can help to keep it in top working condition for years to come.

References

 “It’s About Eating Right.” Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, n.d. Web. 31 Mar 2014. <http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6801>.

 “Sodium and Potassium.” Health Facts. Department of Health & Human Services. Web. 31 Mar 2014. <http://www.csrees.usda.gov/nea/food/pdfs/hhs_facts_sodium.pdf>.

“High blood pressure dangers: Hypertension’s effects on your body.” Diseases and Conditions. The Mayo Clinic, 12 Feb 2014. Web. 31 Mar 2014. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045868>.

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 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.