Would it be right to consume cashews in raw form? Obviously not! The following NutriNeat article discusses the ill-effects of eating raw cashew nuts.
Talk about food items that cannot be eaten without being cooked and one simply cannot forget to mention cashew nuts. Eating unprocessed or raw cashews should be avoided as they can be detrimental to health. It is discussed below:
Are Raw Cashews Poisonous?
Indigenous to the northeastern part of Brazil, the cashew tree is well-known for its sweet fruits, commonly known as cashew apples. A kidney-shaped shell containing the cashew nut is attached at the bottom of this fruit. When the fruit ripens, the shell is broken to remove the nut.
As aforementioned, this kidney-shaped shell acts as a protective covering for the nut. However, the shell also contains a toxic liquid and if ingested can be harmful to health. Although this toxic chemical is not in contact with the cashew nut but when the shell is broken to remove the nut, there is a high probability that the nut may get exposed to this toxic liquid, thereby making it inedible.
Eating Raw Cashew Nuts – Side Effects
The toxic liquid that covers the inner layer of the shell is poisonous. Cashew nuts (a.k.a cashews) getting exposed to this toxic matter, is a cause for concern. So, if one is going to consume these nuts in raw form, the person may suffer from an allergic reaction, which may lead to formation of rash. A fatal reaction also cannot be ruled out. The rash may appear anywhere on the body and the blisters formed make the skin extremely itchy. Why does this happen? It is observed that an important constituent of the shell liquid is anacardic acid, which acts like a skin irritant. No wonder, persistent itchy skin is a common complaint after eating cashews in raw form.
Commercially Sold Cashew Nuts
Going to a grocery store, one may find packets of cashew nuts labeled as ‘raw’. Here raw means ‘unroasted’ and does not indicate that the nuts are removed from the shells and then directly sold at the market place. In fact no company is allowed to sell cashews in this way. The nuts available in the market are thoroughly processed. The manufacturing process involves heating the nut shell at a very high temperature. The heat produced expels the toxic matter out of the shell, leaving only the nut. After removing the cashews from the shell, to be on the safer side, they may again be heated for one or 2 minutes and are then sold in packets.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a nutrition expert.