You probably already know this by now but nuts in general are tremendously healthy for us. Some like walnuts and brazil nuts offer more specific benefits.
All nuts and seeds contain beneficial fats, B vitamins and magnesium for a healthy mood, but cashews are one of the few actually linked to reducing not just anxiety, but also warding off general stress and even mild depression. via OneGreenPlanet
That being said, did you know? 6.7% of Americans over the age of 18 will be affected by a major depressive disorder this year. This is equivalent to 14.8 million people and majority of them will resort to prescription medication like Prozac (1).
According to RXList, minor side effects to Prozac include:
- cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat;
- drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous;
- mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation;
- increased appetite, weight changes;
- sleep problems (insomnia);
- decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; or
- dry mouth.
More serious side effects include:
- very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, overactive reflexes;
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, feeling unsteady, loss of coordination;
- headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, confusion, hallucinations, fainting, seizure, shallow breathing or breathing that stops; or
- severe skin reaction — fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
All The Right Nutrients
Fortunately, nature has you covered.
Cashews contains iron, magnesium, Vitamin B6, protein and even omega-3 fats, which are all nutrients that help fight off depression and anxiety naturally.
Dr. Andrew Saul, featured in the popular film Food Matters, even says that cashews are such a win for depression and stress that they provide the same mood-boosting effects equivalent to Prozac! Though we can’t make any promises, consuming 1/4 cup per day is a great way to try it out for yourself due to the nutrition powers this humble nut holds.
Why Cashews Work
Trytophan (amino acid): Cashews rank among the best plant-based sources of this amino acid (trytophan). This amino acid plays an important part in the absorption and production of serotonin. A depletion of serotonin can make us feel anxious, stressed, and just downright sad. Trytophan is found in many plant-based foods, but is incredibly dense in cashews with 1000-2000 milligrams per 1/4 cup serving. via MensJournal
Magnesium (mineral): Magnesium is critical to a healthy mood and nervous system, helping treat anxiety and depression as a result. Cashews contain roughly 83 miligrams per serving.
Niacin: One of niacin’s unique properties is its ability to help you naturally relax and get to sleep more rapidly at night. Listen to this story about a woman who was dosed with niacin to fight her depression. Niacin is found in cashews.
Vitamin B6: This vitamin helps reduce depression and improve overall brain health by helping magnesium reach cells more effectively.
This is wonderful news for those of us who wish for a more natural way to treat their depression or for those who react terribly to Prozac. Also, cashews are delicious and can be used to make recipes like this one.
Other health benefits of cashews include improved heart, bone, and oral health, improved nerve and muscle function.