What Is the Connection between Cashew Nuts and Cholesterol?

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  • Written By: Helena Reimer
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 18 August 2017
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One of the connections between cashew nuts and cholesterol is that cashew nuts have the ability to lower cholesterol levels. Although they are high in fat, cashews are regarded as low-fat nuts because their fat content is lower than many other nuts. The main type of fat that is contained in the nuts is unsaturated fat, which is able to maintain healthy cholesterol levels when combined with a healthy diet. Another link between cashews and cholesterol is due to the fact that they are able to lower high triglycerides and reduce the absorption of cholesterol.

Unsaturated fats, namely oleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, are primary factors that connect cashew nuts and cholesterol. This is because both fatty acids are able to increase the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, also known as the good cholesterol. The HDL naturally helps to lower the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol, by gathering it up and transporting it back to the liver to be eliminated from the blood. Another benefit of oleic acid is that it is able to lower triglyceride levels, which then lowers the LDL and total cholesterol levels. The total cholesterol is the sum of all the cholesterol that is present in the body.

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Although they are high in fat, cashew nuts do not contain any cholesterol. They do, however, contain plant sterols, which are substances very similar to the cholesterol that the human body produces. Their role is to block the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine. As a result, the excess amounts of cholesterol are excreted from the body, an action that benefits the whole body, particularly the heart.

Another important substance that directly links cashew nuts and cholesterol is fiber. It is not absorbed by the body, but rather, it acts as a broom that sweeps the digestive tract of harmful substances. When present, it binds with the cholesterol and eliminates it from the body before it has a chance to be absorbed. Fiber is found in abundance in cashew nuts as well as in many other plant-based foods.

Cashew nuts and cholesterol are also linked by copper, a mineral found in the nuts. According to researchers, copper is able to increase the HDL while lowering the LDL. It is also beneficial for maintaining a steady heartbeat and for improving the flexibility of the blood vessels. Another two heart-healthy nutrients contained in cashews are folate and magnesium.

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Discuss this Article

fify
Post 3

I was diagnosed with high cholesterol last week and I'm so confused about what I should be eating.

Aren't cashew nuts high in calories? Shouldn't that be important in addition to the type of fat it has?

serenesurface
Post 2

I asked my doctor about cashews and he said that cashews are suitable in a cholesterol diet, but only when it's replacing a food with high saturated fat.

Apparently, unless most of the saturated fat is not removed from the diet (mainly milk products and meat) then, foods rich in unsaturated fat will do little. So I can eat cashews but I should eat in in place of yogurt for example.

fBoyle
Post 1

Most nuts increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. I think that walnuts are the best in this sense because they are rich in omega 3. But walnuts are expensive and when I can't get walnuts, I go for cashew nuts. Cashews nuts are great as a snack because they keep me full and I don't have to worry about it raising my cholesterol.

My daughter hates all nuts and I keep telling her about cashew's health benefits hoping that she'll change her mind. Nuts are good for the brain, so kids should be eating plenty of them.

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