Cashew – Unverträglichkeit & Allergie


The cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) from the sumac family is a tropical crop. Its fruits, which are referred to as cashew kernels or cashew nuts , are not botanically nuts, but drupes.

This is what you should know about the cashew nut

The cashew tree was first discovered in northeastern Brazil. The Indians gave it the name Acaju (“kidney tree”) because of its kidney-shaped fruit. From this the Portuguese derived Caju or Cajueiro. The English term cashew is used worldwide today.

Cashew trees are grown in tropical and subtropical regions, mainly in Asia and Africa. Their demands on soil are low, they also thrive in mountains and on sandy soil. In addition, they are able to survive periods of drought. Their height reaches 7 to 15 meters. Because of their shrub-like form, they are also useful as protection against wind and erosion.

World production is almost three million tons. Almost half of it is produced in India and Nigeria. For many poor countries, cashew production is a significant economic factor that ensures the survival of small farmers in particular.

The cashew fruit consists of two parts, the cashew apple and the actual cashew fruit. The fruit stalk, which is up to 10 cm long and thickened like a pear, is called the cashew apple. It smells sweet , tastes intensely sour and contains a lot of vitamin C. Since its skin is sensitive and the whole fruit perishes quickly, it is not traded internationally, but processed immediately after harvesting, in Brazil mostly to cashew juice, jam, wine and vinegar , in India also to schnapps.

The cashew nut is obtained from the actual kidney-shaped cashew fruit hanging from the cashew apple. Extraction is complex: the nuts are roasted in order to be able to crack the hard shell. This is mostly done by hand and requires sufficient harvesting personnel. The seed skin is then removed by reheating.

Raw cashew nuts are inedible. Its peel contains an oil that is used externally to treat skin problems. In industry, it is processed into technical resins, heat-resistant rubber and insect repellants, for example to protect against termites. It is also being considered for biodiesel production. The shell oil is removed from the kernels by briefly flaming them. If the raw food quality of the kernels is to be preserved, they have to be separated from the shell by hand.

Cashew nuts are only sold shelled. The light brown to white kernels have a mild, sweet taste and are also valued for their soft consistency. Cashew nuts are available all year round.

importance to health

A handful of cashew nuts is a popular, nutritious snack between meals. People who eat a vegetarian or vegan diet appreciate such an energy boost, as do friends of the low-carb diet.

Cashew nuts drive away hunger in a healthy way and are considered “food for the nerves”. This is ensured by the B vitamins, which increase concentration and performance. Finally, cashew nuts are also said to prevent cancer , this effect is attributed to the phenolic acids contained in the nut.

At 42 percent, cashew nuts have a lower fat content than other nuts. They are rich in vitamins (A, B, D and E) and polyunsaturated fatty acids . They also provide a range of minerals . They contain a high proportion of magnesium , which is used to generate energy and supports the contraction of the heart and muscles . Iron is required for the formation of the red blood pigment hemoglobin . The body needs phosphorus to build bones . In addition, cashew nuts are a valuable supplier of the essential amino acid tryptophan , which the body needs to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin . Tryptophan is considered a “happy messenger” and is used together with vitamin B6 in the treatment of depression .

Research is currently being carried out into how cashew apples could be used industrially to a greater extent, since a large number of the fruits rot in the fields after the cashew nuts have been harvested. Cashew apples are rich in vitamin C and tannins and have a high antioxidant effect. The oil obtained from cashew shells is used in Africa against warts and corns .

Ingredients & nutritional values

100 grams of unroasted and unsalted cashew nuts also contain:

Intolerances & allergies

Cashew nuts are less likely to cause allergies than other types of nuts. However, when allergies occur, the reactions are often severe and can lead to anaphylactic shock. This is especially true for children. Therefore, people who suffer from a nut allergy should be particularly careful when consuming cashew nuts. Occasionally, cross-reactions have also been observed, for example with pistachios and green beans. This is because the allergens in cashew nuts are structurally similar to the proteins found in legumes.

According to the EU regulation, it must be labeled if products contain cashew nuts. However, since these are used in a wide range of products, not only in foods such as energy bars and desserts, but also in personal care products, you should always ask about the composition when in doubt.

Shopping & kitchen tips

Cashew nuts are always available in stores peeled and roasted, but also salted, seasoned with paprika and chili or caramelized.

Cashew nuts have a long shelf life as long as they are in the sealed packaging. It is best to store them in a cool and dry place. Once the packaging has been opened, you should make sure that the seal is airtight and use up the seeds soon.

Other products include the oily cashew butter found in health food stores and used to flavor vegetarian and raw foods. A popular spread is sweetened cashew cream. Cashew butter is made from roasted kernels and sunflower oil , which is also used as a spread and as a source of energy for competitive athletes. Pure cashew oil has a delicate taste reminiscent of almond oil .

Preparation tips

Cashew nuts can be combined with any type of dish: with raw vegetables and salads as well as in vegetable pans and meat dishes, in the wok or in the oven. They are processed into pesto and spreads, sauces and dips. You can also use them to make desserts and ice cream. Due to their soft consistency, they can be easily crushed.

Cashew nuts are at their most aromatic when they are lightly roasted in a pan. This is best done at moderate temperatures so they don’t burn.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.