What are cashew nuts?
Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics

Cashews are seeds of a tree that is native to Africa and South America. Today though, most cashews come from India. The shells are kidney shaped and grow in a double shell at the top of a pear shaped fruit. Cashews are always sold without their shells because their shells contain a caustic oil that is related to poison ivy. The nuts must be carefully extracted so they do to come into contact with the oil.

Doreen Rodo
Nutrition & Dietetics
Cashews are the "fruit" of the cashew tree. They are popular in Thai and Chinese cooking, but they also make a great snack. Cashews are a good source of iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc. They contain fiber and healthy fats. The serving size is 1 oz, which is a small handful.
Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
Cashew nuts are actually seeds that grow on the bottom of cashew apples. They are a good source of monounsaturated fat, copper and magnesium. Enjoy them in moderation for their nutritional benefits without overdoing the calories/fat intake.
Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Cashew nuts are well-known kidney-shaped nuts that are light-colored, delicate in flavor, and slightly spongy in texture.

Cashew nuts belong to the same family as the mango and pistachio nut (Anacardiaceae). They are actually seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple, the fruit of the cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale). Cashew apples are regarded as delicacies in Brazil and the Caribbean.

Cashew nuts in the shell are not available in stores since the interior of their shells contains a caustic resin known as cashew balm. This resin, which is toxic, must be removed before they are fit for consumption. Cashew balm is used in varnishes and insecticides.
Picture of cashews

Continue Learning about Health Value Of Foods

Health Value Of Foods

Health Value Of Foods

A healthy diet is rich in foods with high nutritional value, providing your body with the vitamins, minerals and other food nutrients it needs to protect against disease and maintain a healthy weight. To identify healthy foods, it...

's important to read nutrition labels and know the source of your food. Products advertised as whole-grain, organic or fortified may not necessarily be healthy for you. Find out how to get the most health value from various fruits, nuts, spices, oils and vegetables -- and learn which types of red meat and processed foods to avoid -- with expert advice from Sharecare.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.