For many people who first start out on the keto diet, one of the first things they start to eat more of when dropping the carbs is nuts and legumes. Things like cashews, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, and pecans all make for terrific low carb snacking options. But are cashews keto?
Many nuts are obviously keto-friendly choices, but legumes like peanuts and cashews aren’t necessarily so clear cut.
With that in mind, let’s take an in-depth look at cashews in order to answer that very question.
What Makes Cashews a Popular Choice for Low Carb Diets?
Cashews (and most other types of legumes and nuts) are an incredibly popular snacking choice amongst people following low carb diet plans. Here are just a handful of the reasons why:
- Cashews (and nuts in general) are a calorie dense snack food that can satisfy hunger cravings.
- Nuts like cashews are an excellent source of both protein and dietary fat.
- Cashews contain trace amounts of dietary fiber.
- Cashews contain trace amounts of other essential vitamins and minerals – in fact, they provide you with more zinc than any other type of nut or legume.
- Cashews are used in a wide variety of different low carb meals and desserts.
Are Cashews Keto?
To answer whether or not cashews are truly keto, we first have to take a second to remember that not everyone who is following the keto diet allows themselves the same amount of carbs throughout the day.
Some people are quite strict, keeping their carb count below 20 grams per day; others yet allow themselves as high as 50-60 grams of carbs.
Cashews can be a keto-friendly food, so long as you remain aware of your total carb intake throughout the day. While it’s true that cashews are rich in both heart healthy fats and protein, they can also have as high as 9 grams of carbs per serving size – that can obviously add up pretty quickly when you factor in other not so obvious carb sources you might be eating during the day.
However, as long as you’re taking steps to make sure that you aren’t consuming too many carbs, and therefore knocking yourself out of ketosis, then it’s 100% acceptable to enjoy cashews while following a keto diet.
Cashew Nutrition Facts
As with all nut products, cashews are incredibly nutrient-dense. As a matter of fact, here’s the exact nutrition breakdown for a one ounce serving size of cashews:
- 157 calories
- 12 grams fat
- 5 grams protein
- 9 grams carbs
- 0.9 grams dietary fiber
- 1.7 grams sugar
- 0 mg dietary cholesterol
- 3.4 mg sodium
- 187.1 mg potassium
(You may like: The Best Roasted Keto Nut Mix for Healthy Snacking)
Cashew Health Benefits
As with other types of nuts and legumes, cashews can provide you with quite a few great health benefits. Here are a few of the top benefits to be gained from including cashews in your keto diet.
- Excellent source of heart healthy fats. Cashews are rich in all 3 types of essential dietary fatty acids, but they’re especially rich in both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. Both of these types of dietary fats have proven benefits when it comes to helping to protect against cardiovascular disease. (1)
- Excellent source of plant antioxidant compounds. Cashews are also rich in disease-fighting antioxidants. They’re a particularly good source of both carotenoids and polyphenols, two types of antioxidants that are well known thanks to their ability to fortify your body against disease. (2)
- Helps regulate blood sugar levels. Individuals who suffer from type 2 diabetes may find cashews particular beneficial to include in their keto diet plan. The low carb total and dietary fiber found in cashews helps to regulate blood sugar levels, which helps to prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar. (3)
Keto Cashew Alternatives
The great thing about including nuts in your keto diet plan is that you can quite easily use different types as an alternative option. For instance, if you’d rather not use cashews in your recipe for whatever reason, you can just as easily use one of the following options:
If you’re more interested in cashew alternatives that aren’t also nut products, then you can try one of the following instead:
- Silken tofu
- Pumpkin (or sunflower) seeds
- Dried fruit