Cashews belong to the tree nut family, and individuals with tree nut allergies may experience allergic reactions to cashews. Symptoms can range from mild itching and swelling to severe anaphylaxis.
People with pollen allergies, particularly birch pollen, may experience cross-reactivity with certain proteins found in cashews. This can lead to an allergic reaction, known as oral allergy syndrome, where the immune system reacts to proteins that are similar to those in pollen.
Cashews are often sold without their shells because the shells contain a toxic resin known as urushiol, which is also found in poison ivy. Roasting or processing cashews properly can eliminate the toxin, but mishandling raw cashews or consuming them inappropriately processed forms could lead to reactions.
Cashews contain oxalates, which are compounds that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones in susceptible individuals. People with a history of kidney stones may need to moderate their intake of foods high in oxalates.
Like many nuts and seeds, cashews contain phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that can bind to minerals and reduce their absorption. This could be a concern for individuals who rely heavily on cashews as a primary source of nutrients.
While cashews are nutrient-dense, they are also calorie-dense. Overconsumption can contribute to weight gain, especially if not accounted for in a balanced diet.
Some commercially available cashews may be processed with additives like salt, oils, or preservatives. People sensitive to these additives should check labels carefully.
Cashews, like many nuts, can be susceptible to aflatoxin contamination, which is a toxin produced by certain molds. Quality control measures during processing are crucial to minimize the risk.