Cashew Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/03/22 •  9 min read
cashew benefits and side effects

Health

Cashew health benefits may include:

Cashews are…

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Teach Kids Where Our Food Comes From. Look Inside!

Environment

Water footprint: high, it takes 14,218 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of cashews / 1,704 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of cashews

Carbon footprint: moderate, 2.0 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of tree nuts, a car driving equivalent of 5 miles or 8 kilometers

Destruction: low, cashew production is moderately sustainable, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Cashews are…

Animals

Kills: none, cashew production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, cashew production does not require any animals

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from cashew production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Cashews are…

Laborers

Health and safety: dangerous conditions, anacardic acid is present in the fruit that cashew nuts grow which burns the skin, Human Rights Watch reports by suggest in Vietnam drug addicts are in forced-labor ‘rehabilitation’ camps for cashew production and processing, those who refuse to work are beaten with truncheons, given electric shocks, locked in isolation, deprived of food and water, and obliged to work even longer hours

Living conditions: laborers often face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: poverty-line wages are typical for cashew workers some reports of only a few dollars per month, India’s cashew workers (mostly women) are employed without contracts, no guarantee of steady income, no pension or holiday pay

Cashews have…

Where do most cashews come from?

The world’s top cashew producing country is Ivory Coast, followed by India and Burundi.

The world’s top cashew exporting country is Vietnam, followed by India, Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, Indonesia, USA, Mozambique, Ivory Coast and UK.

Are cashews nutritious?

Yes! Cashews are high in Vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, healthy unsaturated fats and antioxidants.

cashews are acidic.

acidic foods and alkaline diet to improve ph levels

Are cashews alkaline or acidic? Cashews are acidic.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

cashews are gluten free.

gluten free foods and what to eat on a gluten free diet

Are cashews gluten free?

Yes, cashews are gluten free. Cashews do not contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

cashews are a common food allergen: tree nuts.

the most common food allergens include milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Are cashews a common food allergen?

Yes, cashews are a common food allergen: tree nuts. Many people may experience allergic reactions to cashews.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

cashews have a high water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Do cashews have a high or low water footprint?

Cashews have a high water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of cashews?

It takes about 14,218 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of cashews / 1,704 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of cashews.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

cashews have a moderate carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Do cashews have a high or low carbon footprint?

Cashews have a moderate carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of cashews?

It takes around 2.0 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of tree nuts, a car driving equivalent of 5 miles or 8 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may be…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

cashews are moderately sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, are cashews eco friendly? Are cashews sustainable?

Cashew production is moderately sustainable. Be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

cashews are vegan.

vegan food to eat on a vegan diet

Are cashews vegan?

Yes, cashews are vegan. Cashews are a tree nut and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List

cashews have labor issues and human rights concerns.

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Are cashews a product that has laborer issues?

At this time, there are reports of worker mistreatment and exploitation regarding cashew production.

Regarding health and safety, cashew production involves dangerous conditions. Anacardic acid is present in the fruit that cashew nuts grow which burns the skin. Human Rights Watch reports suggest in Vietnam drug addicts are in forced-labor ‘rehabilitation’ camps for cashew production and processing. Those who refuse to work are beaten with truncheons, given electric shocks, locked in isolation, deprived of food and water, and obliged to work even longer hours.

Regarding payment, cashew production involves poverty-line wages. There are some reports of only a few dollars per month for India’s cashew workers (mostly women) who are employed without contracts with no guarantee of steady income, no pension or holiday pay.

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.

Sources:

Nuts, cashew nuts, raw – FoodData Central – USDA

Tree Nuts | USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

USDA Launches West Africa Cashew Project

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.