SERVING SIZE: 2 tbsp
Sweet and heavy, cashews calm the nerves and satisfy your belly. The crescent shaped cashew is dense and warm, building strength and leaving you feeling sustained, particularly in cooler months. Initially crunchy, these nuts become creamy and smooth with each bite. You can satisfy your crunchy cravings by sprinkling cashews on top of curries, adding to stir-frys, or crumbled on top of your morning oatmeal. Cashews blend to one of the smoothest consistencies of any nut, and can be turned into a creamy nut butter spread, silky homemade cashew milk, or soft cashew cheeses.
Native to Brazil, these nuts are technically the seeds of the cashew apple. Once you see how cashews are grown, you will understand why they are some of the more expensive nuts on supermarket shelves. Just a single cashew grows out of the bottom of each apple. It is encased in a shell that contains a toxic residue that must be cleaned before eating too. Cashews are a member of the poison ivy family, so some people are highly sensitive to them. They balance Vata and Pitta, but are too heavy and difficult for Kaphas to digest.
Soothe Your Nerves
The heavy and grounding qualities of cashews help stabilize a frantic nervous system. They are particularly beneficial in autumn, the season when the nerves are most easily aggravated. These nuts balance Vata dosha and help slow a racing mind. "After eating the cashews, I felt very calm," explained a client. "It was a relaxing sensation," they continued. As well as its density, the high magnesium content in cashews also helps soothe your nerves. Your nervous system carries out countless jobs every single day, and can become easily agitated. The magnesium in cashews has a mild depressant effect on the nerves that helps ward off feelings of stress and anxiety, relax the muscles, and promote sound sleep throughout the night.
This relaxing effect of cashews can be too sedating for Kapha types. These heavy nuts can burden a Kaphas already sluggish digestive system and leave them feeling weighed down, both emotionally and physically. One client described their experience of this effect, "The heaviness of the cashews left me feeling more weighed down emotionally, more prone to dozing off and wanting to nap." Another client had a similar, but stronger, reaction, "I felt like the cashews slowed down my whole system. My muscles felt heavy, my gut felt overly full, my blood slowed and I felt tired and unmotivated. It was an unpleasant slug like feeling that reminded me why I don't generally eat nuts."
Satisfying & StrengtheningCashews build tissue, strength, and stamina, due to their dense, heavy and sweet qualities. It doesn't take many of these nuts to curb your appetite. "My stomach felt full with a small amount of nuts because of the density of them. I felt sustained and energized," observed a client. Another noted, "It was very grounding and satisfying, a small amount of cashew nuts took me a long way." Provided digestion is strong, cashews can nourish the blood as they are a rich source of both copper and iron. You need iron to build strong blood, but copper is required so you can absorb the iron. These two minerals, packed neatly in this tiny nut, work together to form hemoglobin and red blood cells, known as rakta dhatu in Ayurveda. When the blood is strong, every cell, tissue, organ and system will be stronger.
Warm & ContentCashews are warming and sweet, making them a worthy addition to your pantry in autumn and winter. Their noticeable warmth radiates throughout the body on a cold November afternoon. "I felt kind of warm through my toes and fingers about ten minutes after eating them," a client explained. When the blustery winds have you feeling chilled to the bone, cashews can be a hearty addition to your diet, providing the energy your body needs to sustain warmth in winter. Cashews help satisfy your cravings for something sweet and warm you up from your tummy to your toes.
Effect on DigestionProvided digestion is strong, cashews can improve the quality of elimination, "My elimination became more regular when I ate cashews," remarked a client. We conjecture that this is due to oily quality of the cashew and fiber content.
One client shared this experience, "My stool was nicely formed, easy to pass, but I did notice some pieces of undigested cashew." The undigested pieces of nut in this clients stool points to the fact that nuts in general are difficult to digest, especially if not thoroughly chewed. The oiliness of nuts can also bog down an already sluggish digestion. One client noted, "I had mild constipation and stagnation in my gut from the cashews." Cashews, as all dried foods, can create a thick, indigestible paste in the gut. Drink warm water if you plan to eat many cashews at once. When undigested, cashews can provoke gas and bloating, leading to constipation.
Another client shared how cashews created gas and bloating in the digestive tract, but once they started soaking the nuts, "the situation was totally different," the gas and bloating reduced and "elimination was very easy."
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WHY EAT AN AYURVEDIC DIET?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. An Ayurvedic diet is tailored to your individual body type and the specific imbalances you are working with at any given time. Ayurveda shows you your specific body type’s needs and what should be favored in your Ayurvedic menu. Watch as you eat less but feel more satisfied because what you are eating truly nourishes you. Since Ayurveda believes all disease begins in the digestive tract, food is your first medicine. By eating a healthy diet that’s ideal for your body, you experience optimal health.
Are Cashews Good for My Ayurvedic Diet?
AYURVEDIC MEDICINAL QUALITIES
Experiences are PersonalExperiences vary according to the person and constitution. Individual results may vary. The list of actions below has not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
Energy Vitality Strength:
BUILDS-STAMINAPromotes strength, endurance and resistance in the body. Rebuilds weak tissues after a time of depletion.
SATISFIES-STOMACHProvides a sense of gratification and fullness in the stomach.
NUTRITIVEAn herb that is strengthening and nourishing.
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Eat Well for Life With Ayurveda: Balance Your Dosha
HOW DOES EATING AYURVEDICALLY MAKE YOU FEEL?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. Food digests with ease when right for your body type (dosha). Healthy digestion is seen as the cornerstone of well-being in Ayurveda. Healthy digestion generally prevents illness. If you do get sick, a strong digestive fire reduces the severity of illness and increases your resilience. It also improves your mood. Once you begin eating Ayurvedically, you will feel refreshed, vital and strong.
View Other Ingredients for Autumn-WinterCashews is recommended for Autumn-Winter. Check out these other Autumn-Winter foods here.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.