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Cashews make a healthful addition to your diet, and consuming just 2 ounces of nuts each week benefits your cardiovascular health, explains Harvard Medical School. Nuts improve blood vessel function and lower your cholesterol, ultimately helping to protect against cardiovascular disease. Raw and dry-roasted cashews offer similar nutritional benefits, and either option benefits your health. However, raw cashews offer a modest nutritional advantage over their dry-roasted counterparts, because they contain slightly greater amounts of some essential minerals.
Raw and dry-roasted cashews both contain approximately 160 calories per ounce, with most of these calories coming from healthy unsaturated fat. They contain copper, a mineral that aids in nerve function, and both raw and dry-roasted cashews provide approximately 70 percent of your daily recommended copper intake per 1-ounce serving. They also each contain one-quarter of the daily magnesium requirements for women or one-fifth for men, according to the Institute of Medicine. Magnesium helps your muscles function and aids in energy production.
Raw cashews offer a slight nutritional advantage when it comes to iron content. Iron plays a role in healthy circulation, and most of your body's iron is located in your blood, where it helps distribute oxygen to your tissues. You need iron to help produce energy and prevent the fatigue and weakness caused by iron deficiency anemia. An ounce of raw cashews contains 1.9 milligrams of iron -- 11 percent of the recommended daily intake for women or 24 percent for men, according to the Institute of Medicine -- compared to 1.7 milligrams in an equivalent serving of dry-roasted cashews.
Raw cashews also contain slightly more selenium than their dry-roasted counterparts. Consuming an ounce of raw cashews boosts your selenium intake by 5.6 micrograms -- 10 percent of your recommended daily intake, set by the Institute of Medicine -- compared to just 3.3 micrograms for dry-roasted almonds. Selenium keeps your DNA and cell membranes healthy by protecting them from damage caused by free radicals. It might also play a role in fighting cancer, because people suffering from low selenium levels face an increased cancer risk.
Consuming More Cashews
Cashews make for a filling and decadent snack when consumed on their own, and also complement a range of other dishes. Use cashews to make your own homemade energy balls -- simply combine them with pitted dates, dried cranberries and pistachios in a food processor, then shape the resulting mixture into 1-inch balls. Add a handful of cashews to your favorite salad, puree cashews into all-natural cashew butter, or soak cashews in water overnight and then puree them to add creamy texture to your favorite blended soups.