Like all tree nuts, cashews are packed with nutrients. They are a source of plant protein, monounsaturated fats, copper, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, thiamin and niacin. Cashews are naturally low in sugar and sodium, and have a low glycaemic index.

A healthy handful (or a 30g serve) is equal to around 15 cashews.

Nuts for Life - Cashew nuts

Cashew nutrients

Nutrient Per 100g Per 30g
Energy (kJ) 2541 762
Protein (g) 17 5.1
Total fat (g) 49 14.7
Saturated fat (g) 8.4 2.5
Monounsaturated fat (g) 31.1 9.3
Polyunsaturated fat (g) 7.6 2.3
Omega 3 ALA 70 21
Carbohydrate (g) 22.9 6.9
Sugars (g) 5.5 1.7
Dietary fibre (g) 5.9 1.8
Calcium (mg) 34 10.2
Copper (mg) 1.9 0.6
Iron (mg) 5.0 1.5
Magnesium (mg) 250 75
Manganese (mg) 1.4 0.42
Potassium (mg) 550 165
Selenium (ug) 33 9.9
Sodium (mg) 11 3.3
Zinc (mg) 5.5 1.7
Thiamin (mg) 0.6 0.2
Riboflavin (mg) 0.2 0.1
Niacin (mg eq) 7.3 2.2
Folate DFE (ug) 25 7.5
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.4 0.12
Vitamin E (mg) 0.7 0.21
Arginine (g) 2 0.6
Sterols (mg) 151 45.3
Polyphenols (mg) 269 81

Health effects

Regular nut consumption offers major health benefits, being linked with reduced overall mortality, a lower risk of dying from heart disease and cancer, and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And decades of research shows eating nuts is not linked with weight gain.

In addition to the health benefits that all tree nuts provide, cashew consumption has been linked with: 

  • Reductions in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol [1]; and in insulin and LDL: HDL cholesterol ratio [2].
  • Decreases in systolic blood pressure and increases in HDL (good) cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes [3].

Note: Compared to other tree nuts, research on cashews is limited. This means the specific health benefits of cashews are not yet well understood.

What makes cashews unique?

  • Cashews contain the most iron and zinc of all tree nuts. A 30g serve has 1.5mg iron (around 19% of the RDI for women aged 51 years and older and men of all ages, and around 8% of the RDI for younger women) and 1.7mg zinc (around 12% of the RDI for men, and 21% for women). Iron is needed to transport oxygen throughout the body, and zinc plays an important role in wound healing and immunity. 
  • Cashews provide 17g plant protein per 100g – or 5.1g in a 30g handful. This places them in the top three tree nuts for their protein content (behind almonds and pistachios).
  • Around 62% of the fat in cashew nuts is monounsaturated fat, important for heart health.
  • Among tree nuts, cashews are a top source of niacin, second only to almonds. Niacin (also known as vitamin B3) is needed to release energy from food. It also helps maintain skin health and supports the nervous and digestive systems.
  • Cashews also contain copper and magnesium, which have many roles in the body – including for nerve function, bone growth and glucose metabolism. Magnesium also supports immune function.
  • Cashews have a low glycaemic index (GI) of 25. A low GI dietary pattern can help to manage blood glucose and insulin levels, and may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease [4].
  • Cashews are naturally low in sugar and sodium.

Where they are grown?

Cashews are native to Brazil. Today, they are primarily produced in India, Brazil, Vietnam and Africa. Some small cashew orchards can also be found in northern Queensland.  

Forms and best eaten with…

  • Cashews are usually available salted and unsalted, raw and roasted, and as whole nuts or in pieces. 
  • Cashews make delicious nut butters, which can be used in place of coconut milk for a creamy curry.
  • They make great snacks, and complement stir-fries and curries particularly well. 


Remove nuts from plastic bags and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Nuts can be refrigerated for up to four months and frozen for up to four months. Remember to bring nuts back to room temperature before eating them, to maximise their delicious nutty taste!

Cashew infographic

Nuts for Life - Cashew infographic


  1. Mah, E., et al., Cashew consumption reduces total and LDL cholesterol: a randomized, crossover, controlled-feeding trial. Am J Clin Nutr, 2017. 105(5): p. 1070-1078.
  2. Darvish Damavandi, R., et al., Effects of Daily Consumption of Cashews on Oxidative Stress and Atherogenic Indices in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Controlled-Feeding Trial. Int J Endocrinol Metab, 2019. 17(1): p. e70744.
  3. Mohan, V., et al., Cashew Nut Consumption Increases HDL Cholesterol and Reduces Systolic Blood Pressure in Asian Indians with Type 2 Diabetes: A 12-Week Randomized Controlled Trial. J Nutr, 2018. 148(1): p. 63-69.
  4. Livesey, G., et al., Glycemic response and health--a systematic review and meta-analysis: relations between dietary glycemic properties and health outcomes. Am J Clin Nutr, 2008. 87(1): p. 258s-268s.

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