24 Foods You Didn’t Know Could Be Harmful

By Beck Robertson / Nutrition / March 3rd, 2019

14. Raw Cashews

raw cashews

Cashews are known to be an excellent complement to a healthy diet, as they contain plenty of protein, fibre and iron. One randomised controlled study published by the AmericanSociety for Nutrition found that cashews could also potentially play a beneficial role in lowering LDL cholesterol, as they are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Cashews are not always problem free though, as they are high in calories, so it’s important not to consume too many, and stick to small quantities at a time. There’s an even more serious drawback to cashew nut consumption – as research has found they can cause allergies, which can result in severe reactions, such as anaphylaxis.

One type of cashew that you should never consume is raw cashew nuts, as multiple studies, including one from the Indian Journal of Critical Care, have found that they are highly poisonous. This is because the raw cashew shell contains the toxin urushiol, which is present in poison ivy and oak. Urushiol poisoning from cashews has been documented to cause a range of nasty symptoms from dermatitis and rashes to more severe allergic reactions. The good news is, raw cashews are rarely found on supermarket shelves, as most cashews are sold in roasted form, which destroys the urushiol toxin. If you do happen to stumble across them, it’s best to give them a hard pass, as you don’t know how you’ll react and it’s not worth taking the chance.


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