Cashews can help improve blood cholesterol levels, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
For four weeks, 51 healthy people, all with elevated LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, ate a typical American diet including either cashews (1 to 2 ounces a day, supplying 11 percent of total daily calories) or a similar amount of potato chips; then they switched diets for another four weeks. The diets were designed to maintain body weight. When participants ate cashews, their total cholesterol dropped by about 4 percent and their LDL by 5 percent; there were no significant effects when they ate chips.
Like most nuts, cashews are rich in unsaturated (mostly monounsaturated) fats as well as plant sterols, both of which are known to lower blood cholesterol, and these results are consistent with those of studies using other types of nuts, the researchers noted. The study was funded by the Kraft Heinz Company, which markets nuts.