10 Nutrition and Health Benefits of Cashew Milk
Cashew milk is a popular nondairy beverage made from whole cashews and water.
It has a creamy, rich consistency and is loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and other beneficial plant compounds.
Available in unsweetened and sweetened varieties, cashew milk can replace cow's milk in most recipes.
It may boost immunity and improve heart, eye and skin health.
Here are 10 nutrition and health benefits of cashew milk.
Cashew milk contains healthy fats, protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Store-bought varieties may have different amounts of nutrients than homemade versions.
Here's a comparison of 1 cup (240 ml) of homemade cashew milk—made from water and 1 ounce (28 grams) of cashews—to 1 cup (240 ml) of unsweetened, commercial cashew milk (3).
*indicates a nutrient that has been added through fortification.
Commercial cashew milks are typically fortified with vitamins and minerals and have higher amounts of some nutrients, compared to homemade versions.However, they generally provide less fat and protein and don't include fiber.
In addition, store-bought varieties may contain oils, preservatives, and added sugars.
Homemade cashew milks don't need to be strained, which increases their fiber content.
They're also packed with magnesium—a vital mineral for many body processes, including nerve function, heart health, and blood pressure regulation (4).
All cashew milks are naturally lactose-free and can replace cow's milk for those who have trouble digesting dairy.
Homemade versions have less protein, calcium and potassium than cow's milk but more healthy unsaturated fats, iron and magnesium (5).
Cashew milk is loaded with nutrients, including unsaturated fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Homemade varieties are usually more nutritious, though store-bought types may be fortified with vitamin D and calcium.
2. May Boost Heart Health
Studies have linked cashew milk to a lower risk of heart disease.
Cashew milk also contains potassium and magnesium—two nutrients that may boost heart health and prevent heart disease.
In a review of 22 studies, people with the highest potassium intake had a 24% lower risk of stroke (7).
However, store-bought cashew milk tends to be lower in heart-healthy unsaturated fats, as well as potassium and magnesium, than homemade varieties.
Cashew milk contains heart-healthy unsaturated fats, potassium and magnesium—all of which may help prevent heart disease.
3. Good for Eye Health
These compounds may prevent cellular damage to your eyes caused by unstable molecules called free radicals (10).
One study found a significant association between low blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin and poor retinal health (11).
Eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an eye disease that causes vision loss.
Another study showed that people with the highest intake of lutein and zeaxanthin—and the highest predicted blood levels of these antioxidants—were 40% less likely to develop advanced AMD (12).
High blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin have also been linked to a 40% lower risk of age-related cataracts in older adults (13).
Since cashews are a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, adding cashew milk to your diet may help prevent eye issues.
Cashew milk contains antioxidants that may lower your risk of retinal damage, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts.
Not getting enough vitamin K can result in excessive bleeding.
Consuming foods rich in vitamin K, such as cashew milk, can help maintain sufficient levels of this protein.
However, an increased dietary vitamin K intake may decrease the effectiveness of blood-thinning medications (18).
If you're taking blood-thinning medications, consult your healthcare provider before making changes to your diet.
Cashew milk is rich in vitamin K, a nutrient vital to blood clotting. Thus, it may help you maintain adequate levels. If you're on blood-thinning medications, consult with your healthcare provider before increasing your intake of vitamin-K-rich foods.
Drinking cashew milk may help with blood sugar control—especially in people with diabetes.
Cashews contain compounds that may promote proper blood sugar control in your body.
One study found that a compound in cashews called anacardic acid stimulated the uptake of circulating blood sugar in rat muscle cells (19).
Research on a similar nut also containing anacardic acid found that extracts from the nut's milk significantly decreased blood sugar levels in rats with type 2 diabetes (20).
In addition, cashew milk is lactose-free and therefore has fewer carbs than dairy. Using it in place of cow's milk may help with blood sugar control in those with diabetes.
Still, more research is needed to better understand the benefits of cashew milk in managing diabetes.
Certain compounds in cashew milk may help with blood sugar control in people with diabetes, but more research is needed.
Cashews are loaded with copper (3).
Therefore, milk derived from these nuts—especially the homemade kind—is rich in this mineral as well.
Copper plays a large role in the creation of skin proteins and is important for optimal skin health (21).
Maintaining optimal levels of collagen in your body promotes skin health, while inadequate collagen can lead to skin aging.
Consuming cashew milk and other copper-rich foods may boost your body's natural production of collagen and keep your skin looking healthy and young.
Since cashew milk is high in copper, it may improve skin health by boosting collagen production in your body.
Test-tube studies suggest that compounds in cashew milk may prevent the development of certain cancer cells.
One test-tube study found that anacardic acid stopped the spread of human breast cancer cells (26).
Another showed that anacardic acid enhanced the activity of an anticancer drug against human skin cancer cells (27).
Consuming cashew milk can provide your body with anacardic acid that may help prevent the growth of cancer cells.
However, current research is limited to test-tube studies. More studies—especially in humans—are needed to better understand the potential anticancer properties of cashews.
Anacardic acid found in cashews has been shown to stop the spread of certain cancer cells and enhance the effects of anticancer medications in test-tube studies. Still, more research in this area is needed.
Cashews and milk derived from them are loaded with antioxidants and zinc (3).
This may help boost immunity.
Studies show that nuts may decrease the inflammatory response in your body and improve immunity, likely because they're an excellent source of antioxidants and other compounds that fight inflammation and disease (28, 29, 30).
In addition, your body uses zinc to create immune cells that help fight disease and infection. This mineral may also act as an antioxidant that can stop cell damage involved in inflammation and disease (31, 32).
One study associated low blood levels of zinc with increased levels of inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) (33).
The zinc in cashew milk may help decrease inflammation in your body and improve immunity.
Cashew milk contains compounds like antioxidants and zinc that may fight inflammation and boost immunity.
9. May Improve Iron-Deficiency Anemia
When your body doesn't get enough iron, it can't produce adequate amounts of the protein hemoglobin that helps red blood cells carry oxygen. This results in anemia and leads to fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, cold hands or feet, and other symptoms (34).
Therefore, getting enough iron from your diet is important for preventing or improving symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia.
Since cashew milk is high in iron, it may help you maintain adequate levels. However, your body better absorbs this type of iron when consumed with a source of vitamin C (36).
To increase your absorption of iron from cashew milk, try blending it in a smoothie with fresh strawberries or oranges that contain vitamin C.
Cashew milk is loaded with iron and may prevent iron-deficiency anemia. To increase your absorption of iron from this nondairy milk, consume it with a source of vitamin C.
10. Easily Added to Your Diet
Cashew milk is a versatile and healthy addition to your diet.
Since it's free of lactose, it's suitable for those who avoid dairy.
It can be used in place of cow's milk in most recipes—including smoothies, baked goods and cold or hot cereals. You can also add it to sauces to make them creamier or even use it to make ice cream.
What's more, since cashew milk has a rich, creamy texture, it tastes delicious in coffee drinks, hot chocolate or tea.
Keep in mind that even though it can be substituted for cow's milk, cashew milk has a nuttier, sweeter taste.
If you're interested in adding cashew milk to your diet, you can purchase it at most stores or make your own. Look for unsweetened varieties that don't contain unnecessary ingredients.
You can add cashew milk to smoothies, coffee drinks, cereals, baked goods and many recipes. It's available at most stores or you can make it at home.
How to Make Cashew Milk
Making cashew milk is incredibly easy.
Plus, the homemade version is more concentrated and thus contains more nutrients than commercial varieties.
You can also control how much sugar and other ingredients you add.
To make cashew milk, soak 1 cup (130 grams) of cashews in very hot water for 15 minutes or in room temperature water for 1–2 hours or longer.
Drain and rinse the cashews, then add them to a blender with 3–4 cups (720–960 ml) of water. Blend on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until smooth and frothy.
You can add dates, honey or maple syrup to sweeten, if desired. Other popular additions include sea salt, cocoa powder, or vanilla extract.
Unlike most other plant-based milks, you don't have to strain cashew milk through a thin towel or cheesecloth.
You can keep your cashew milk in a glass jar or container in the fridge for up to three to four days. If it separates, simply shake before use.
Making cashew milk is incredibly easy. Blend 1 cup (130 grams) of soaked cashews, 3–4 cups (720–960 ml) of water, and a sweetener of choice until smooth.
The Bottom Line
Made from whole cashews and water, cashew milk is lactose-free and loaded with heart-healthy unsaturated fats, protein and several vitamins and minerals.
Drinking this type of milk may boost heart health, improve blood sugar control, promote eye health and more.
To add cashew milk to your diet, you can make your own or find commercially prepared products at most stores.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Independence Day weekend is a busy time for coastal communities as people flock to the beaches to soak up the sun during the summer holiday. This year is different. Some of the country's most popular beach destinations in Florida and California have decided to close their beaches to stop the surge in coronavirus cases.
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For some combat veterans, the Fourth of July is not a time to celebrate the independence of the country they love. Instead, the holiday is a terrifying ordeal. That's because the noise of fireworks – loud, sudden, and reminiscent of war – rocks their nervous system. Daily fireworks in many U.S. cities in recent weeks have no doubt been interfering with the sleep and peace of mind of thousands of veterans.
What Is PTSD?<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/veterans-refugees-and-victims-of-war-crimes-are-all-vulnerable-to-ptsd-130144" target="_blank">PTSD</a> can occur when someone is exposed to extreme exposure traumatic experience. Typically, the trauma involves a threat of death, serious injury, or sexual violence. Along with war veterans, it happens to refugees; to victims of gun violence, rape and other physical assaults; and to survivors of car accidents and natural disasters like earthquakes or tornadoes.</p><p>PTSD can also happen by witnessing trauma or its aftermath, often the case with <a href="https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd" target="_blank">first responders</a> and <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-many-faces-anxiety-and-trauma/202006/invisible-wounds-the-frontline-heroes" target="_blank">front-line workers</a>.</p><p>All this adds up to tens of millions of Americans. Up to 30% of combat veterans and first responders, and 8% of civilians, <a href="https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/essentials/epidemiology.asp" target="_blank">fulfill the diagnostic criteria for PTSD</a>. And that criteria is not easily met: symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive trauma memories, difficulty sleeping, avoidance of reminders of trauma, negative emotions, and what we call "hyperarousal symptoms."</p>
Fireworks Can Trigger Flashbacks<p>Hyperarousal, a core component of PTSD, occurs when a person is hyper-alert to any sign of threat – constantly on edge, easily startled and continuously screening the environment.</p><p>Imagine, for instance, stepping down the stairs in the dark after hearing a noise; you're worried an intruder might be downstairs. Then a totally unpredictable loud sound explodes right outside your window.</p><p>For people with PTSD, that sound – reminiscent of gunfire, a thunderstorm or a car crash – <a href="https://theconversation.com/veterans-refugees-and-victims-of-war-crimes-are-all-vulnerable-to-ptsd-130144" target="_blank">can cause</a> a panic attack or trigger flashbacks, a sensory experience that makes it seem as if the old trauma is happening here and now. Flashbacks can be so severe that combat veterans may suddenly drop to the ground, the same way they would when an explosion took place in combat. Later, the experience can trigger nightmares, insomnia or worsening of other PTSD symptoms.</p><p>Those of us who set off fireworks need to ask ourselves: Are those few minutes of fun worth the hours, days, or weeks of torment that will begin for some of our friends and neighbors – including many who put their lives on the line to protect us?</p>
Who Else Is Affected?<p>Millions of others, though not diagnosed with PTSD, may similarly be affected by fireworks. <a href="https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics" target="_blank">One in five Americans</a> have an anxiety disorder, many with symptoms of hyperarousal. Also impacted are those with autism or developmental disabilities; they find it difficult to cope with the noise, or just the drastic change from life routines. Then there are people who have to work, holiday or not: nurses, physicians and first responders, who have to be up at 4 a.m. for a 30-hour shift.</p><h3>How to Reduce the Negative Impact</h3><p>There are ways to reduce how fireworks affect others:</p><ul><li>For those with PTSD, the unexpected nature of fireworks is probably the worst part. So at least make it as predictable as possible. Do it in designated areas during designated times. Don't explode one, for instance, two hours after the designated time window. And avoid setting them off <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jul/04/fireworks-ptsd-fourth-of-july-veterans-shooting-survivors" target="_blank">on the 3rd</a>. People are less prepared then.</li><li>If you're aware that a veteran or trauma survivor lives in the neighborhood, move the noise as far as possible from their home and give them prior warning. Consider putting a sign in your front yard noting the time you'll set the fireworks.</li><li>Remember, it doesn't have to be super loud to make it fun. Consider using <a href="https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/504964-its-time-for-silent-fireworks" target="_blank">silent fireworks</a>. And you don't have to be the one who lights the fireworks. Simply enjoy watching while your city or township does it safely.</li></ul>
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By Jeff Berardelli
For the past year, some of the most up-to-date computer models from the world's top climate modeling groups have been "running hot" – projecting that global warming may be even more extreme than earlier thought. Data from some of the model runs has been confounding scientists because it challenges decades of consistent projections.
International Effort to Evaluate Climate Models<p>For the past 25 years the international community has been evaluating and comparing the world's most sophisticated climate models produced by various teams at universities, research centers, and government agencies. The effort is organized by the World Climate Research Programme under the United Nations World Meteorological Organization.</p><p>Climate models are complicated computer programs composed of millions of lines of code that calculate the physical properties and interactions between the main climate forces like the atmosphere, oceans, and solar input. But models also go a lot further, incorporating other systems like ice sheets, forests, and the biosphere, to name a few. The models are then used to simulate the real-world climate system and project how certain changes, like added pollution or land-use changes, will alter the climate.</p><p>Every few years there is a new comprehensive international evaluation called the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP). In the sixth such effort, known as CMIP6 and now under way, experts are reviewing about 100 models.</p><p>Information gleaned from this effort will act as a scientific foundation for the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) next major assessment report, scheduled for release in 2021. The goal of the report – the sixth in 30 years – is to inform the international community about how much the climate has changed, and, importantly, how much change can be expected in coming decades.</p>
A Conundrum Emerges<p>Over the past year, the CMIP6 collection of models being reviewed threw researchers an unexpected curveball: a significant number of the climate model runs showed substantially more global warming than previous model versions had projected. If accurate, the international climate goals would be nearly impossible to achieve, and there would be significantly more extreme impacts worldwide.</p><p>A foundational experiment in every report addresses "sensitivity": If you double levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) that were in the air before the Industrial Revolution, how much warming do the models show? This doubling is not expected for a few more decades, but it is a quick way to communicate the critical role of greenhouse gases in changing the climate.</p><p>The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 35% since the 1800s because of the burning of fossil fuels. As a result, global temperatures have already increased by more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit.</p><p>In the first IPCC assessment report, published in 1990, the answer to that question about the impact of doubling carbon dioxide gave a fairly wide range of results – between 2.7-8 degrees F of global warming. Since then, four more assessments issued six to seven years apart reached nearly the exact same conclusion on sensitivity.</p><p>But that sensitivity may, for the first time, change significantly in next year's assessment. Why? Because starting last year, numerous models in the CMIP6 collection displayed even bigger spikes in temperature upon doubling of CO2 concentrations. We're in serious trouble if the climate sensitivity falls in the mid or upper range of the previous assessments. But if the new, higher estimates are correct, the impacts on civilization would be catastrophic.</p>
In the above CarbonBrief interactive visualization, the bars offer a comparison in the range of sensitivity in the CMIP5 models (gray) and CMIP6 models (blue).
New and Encouraging Evidence Is Emerging<p>At first, scientists were uncertain whether the new model runs were on to something, so the international modeling community dug in to produce multiple studies. The results are not yet conclusive, but a gradual collective sigh of relief seems to be materializing.</p><p>"Evidence is emerging from multiple directions that the models which show the greatest warming in the CMIP6 ensemble are likely too warm," explains Dr. Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.</p><p>For example, <a href="https://www.earth-syst-dynam-discuss.net/esd-2020-23/" target="_blank">a study</a> released April 28 evaluated the past performance of the models making up the CMIP6 ensemble. The team assigned weights to each model based upon historical performance of their warming projections, weighing the poorer performing models less. By doing so, both the mean warming and the range of warming scenarios in the CMIP6 ensemble decreased, meaning the warmest models were the ones with weaker historical performance. This result supports a finding that a subset of the models are too warm.</p><p>That conclusion is supported by another new study evaluating one particular model – the Community Earth System Model (CESM2) – that showed greater warming. Using that model, the researchers simulated the climate in the early Eocene era, about 50 million years ago, when rainforests thrived in the Arctic and Antarctic. The CESM2 simulated a historical climate that seems way too warm compared with what is known about that era from geological data, indicating that the model is likely also too warm in its future projections.</p><p>Two other recent studies of the CMIP6 models being evaluated use clever analysis methods to <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.earth-syst-dynam-discuss.net/esd-2019-86/&sa=D&ust=1589209938203000&usg=AFQjCNHYwFB-1KqndGfJ4sXdrrm9DpbLaQ" target="_blank">narrow the range</a> of future warming projections and also <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/12/eaaz9549&sa=D&ust=1589209938203000&usg=AFQjCNEhKY1YZ19qgjSZ_hJM14JmzqXOXw" target="_blank">reduce the projected warming</a> of the CMIP6 models by 10 to 15%.</p><p>Through the intensive research spurred by the CMIP6 climate-sensitivity curveball, scientists have been able to turn a confounding challenge into a confidence builder, providing even greater certainty than they had before in both the abilities of the climate science community and in the computer models used. Moreover, the experience has helped unearth uncertainties remaining in the modeling process.</p><p>Experts conclude much of this uncertainty probably lies in the complexity of clouds. "We have been looking as a community at why the models with greater warming are doing what they are doing – and it's tied to cloud feedbacks in the southern mid-latitudes mostly," explains Schmidt.</p><p>In fact, <a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/26/eaba1981" target="_blank">a new study</a> addressing the increased sensitivity was published in Science Advances stating, "Cloud feedbacks and cloud-aerosol interactions are the most likely contributors to the high values and increased range of ECS [sensitivity] in CMIP6."</p>
Understanding the Complexity of Clouds<p>It's long been known in climate modeling circles that cloud processes and interactions are a potential weak link for climate modeling. That reality has been brought front and center by the urgent challenges posed during this CMIP6 evaluation period, but the current evaluation of models also provides an opportunity for discovery and improvement.</p><p>Cloud complexity comes from the reality that clouds have a multitude of sizes, altitudes, and textures. Some clouds cool Earth by providing shade, reflecting sunlight back into space. Others act like a blanket, trapping heat and warming the world.</p><p>Given that about <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/icesat_light.html" target="_blank">70% of the globe</a> is covered by clouds at any given time, it's no surprise that they play an integral role in regulating the climate. The challenge is to figure out which types of clouds will increase, which will decrease, and what the net effect will be on cooling or warming as the climate changes.</p><p><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0310-1" target="_blank">One study</a> last year reached an alarming conclusion: Left unchecked, the release of CO2 into the atmosphere may lead to a tipping point where shallow low clouds disappear – leading to runaway, catastrophic warming of nearly 15 degrees F. While scientists see that outcome as only a remote possibility, it drives home the urgent need to better understand clouds.</p><p>"We have a saying at NOAA: It isn't rocket science – it's much, much harder than that," quips Dr. Chris Fairall, ATOMIC's lead investigator. "One of the major problems for modeling is there is not clean separation of scales." The photo below is one that Fairall took from the NOAA P-3 aircraft.</p>
Investigating the Secrets of Clouds<p>To address the urgent question about the dynamics and role of clouds in a warming world, NOAA and European partners launched their ongoing research effort unprecedented in scale. The U.S. contribution, ATOMIC – short for Atlantic Tradewind Ocean-Atmosphere Mesoscale Interaction Campaign – is an international science mission that was featured recently on "<a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/video/study-aims-to-examine-links-between-climate-change-and-clouds/" target="_blank">CBS This Morning: Saturday</a>."</p>
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