I don't hear much about cashews on the various paleo blogs I've looked at, and I'm wondering why. They're mighty tasty, and seem to stack up well against other nuts. For instance, compare 1 oz of cashews:
Total Fat: 13.0g
Saturated Fat: 2.6g
Monounsaturated Fat: 7.6g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.2g
Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 45.1mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids: 2145mg
...to 1 oz of almonds:
Total Fat: 14.8g
Saturated Fat: 1.1g
Monounsaturated Fat: 9.4g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.5g
Total Omega-6 fatty acids: 3542mg
The cashews have more saturated fat, less mono- and poly-unsaturated fat, lower omega 6 and a non-negligible amount of omega 3.
Am I missing something? If almonds are regularly mentioned as a decent choice for a snack, why aren't cashews talked up a little more?
I think this pretty much explains it for me: http://paleodietlifestyle.com/are-nuts-and-seeds-healthy/. Cashews are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to phytic acid as compared to other nuts. [Edit: removed misleading comment about macadamias and omega-3--they are not a good source for omega-3s but they are very low in PUFA overall. Chestnuts are the lowest in total PUFA.]
Here's a fun botany factoid for you: cashews are in the same plant family as poison oak (the sumac family) -- that's why you never see them in shells, handling them would be a bad thing for anyone sensitive to sumacs. You may also have heard of "mango mouth," a rash that results from contact with mango skin -- another member of the sumac family.
I've not heard of the sumac connection causing anyone problems from consuming cashews or mangos, but I get poison oak very easily and have been the victim of mango mouth myself, so I stay away from cashews for the most part on general principals.
Did you all know that Cashew seeds can be ground into powder for use as snakebite antivenom? I bet you didnt. Check out this cashews infographic I created for the superiornutstore.com. I think you all may like it.