Cashews are a pretty awesome nut. For vegans, they serve as a substitute for dairy, cheese, and cream. They are also a great snack and can bring a recipe to the next level of deliciousness. Like other nuts, they are high in protein and are a good way to stave off hunger and keep us satisfied. But the power of cashews go so far beyond culinary benefits. A few studies are finding that a few handfuls of cashews are comparable to an antidepressant for mild depression.
Anxiety, stress, and depression are all too common. Today’s society puts a high value on being busy and productive. This means that working hours are long, homework is hard, and we feel compelled to fill any “free” time that we might have with something hobbies, activities, chores, and just getting stuff done. It’s no wonder anxiety and depression medications are so frequently used.
Depression and anxiety is something that I have dealt with in my own life at times in my life. High school was difficult, as it is for many people, as I navigated new love and the fast approaching reality that was adulthood. Then, around the time I was taken off of work during pregnancy, I became very lonely with my new life at home. Things can get overwhelming and lonely, and sometimes, such as after childbirth, hormones can cause moods to be unbalanced. But there’s hope. The studies being done are finding that adding cashews to your diet can help boost your mood and fight off anxiety and depression.
Cashews have several components that help fight depression and anxiety: trytophan, vitamin B6, and magnesium. These all work together to help our brains to get happy.
Our brains use serotonin to boost our mood and mellow us out. Not enough serotonin makes us feel anxious, depressed, sad, and stressed. Our brains need a bit of help in producing and using serotonin efficiently, and they use the amino acid trytophan to do so. Other foods have this protein, but cashews are one of the best sources of trytophan. So when we eat cashews and get a boost of this vital amino acid, it helps our brain to produce the hormone that chills us out and makes us feel happy.
Cashews are also one of the best sources of vitamin B6. This vitamin works with trytophan to help our brain utilize serotonin efficiently. It also helps magnesium to be used properly in cells.
Cashews are a great source of magnesium. This mineral helps to calm the nervous system and is often used to aid in falling asleep and relaxing. It is very important to the body in mood regulation and when the body is low, it can trigger mild depression.
This is more great news for eating a healthy diet and more evidence that the symbiotic relationship between health and food.
Even if you eat cashews to help with anxiety and depression, it’s always a good idea to have a chat with your doctor when things get to be too much. And it’s even more important to know that you are not alone and surrounding yourself with supportive, loving, and happy people can work wonders in helping with mood as well.