Cashews – Bad for You
Posted by cavewomanrunner on November 17, 2008
So I have heard from some Paleo folks that cashews are bad for you. Cashews are not nuts, they are not legumes (beans and peanuts), they are in a category all of their own. So what category is that? Here it is in a nutshell (well, more like a toxic seed).
The cashew tree is a fast-growing evergreen that produces a fruit and a nut. The fruit, or cashew apple, is usually discarded since it ferments rapidly. The nut, which is actually a seed, is surrounded by an outer shell that contains urushiol, a skin irritant toxin also found in poison ivy. There is also a toxic resin in the shell layer that can get on the cashew nut itself, making it inedible. To make the cashew seeds edible, most manufacturers use heat, steaming the shell at high temperatures. Some companies have developed a special tool that they claim opens the shell without ever letting the toxin get on the cashew.
I doubt that our cavemen ancestors had the expertise to open these shells without getting toxins on the seeds. And since cashews cannot be eaten in their raw form, that makes them non-Paleo.
I have put cashews on my “foods to avoid” list anyway, and I haven’t really missed them. I much prefer the taste of almonds and pistachios. I’m going to leave cashews in the category to avoid – just like poison ivy!
If you want even more details on the cashew processing, check out this interesting article.