According to a recent analysis, nearly 15 million Americans over the age of 18 have been affected by severe cases of depression, this year alone. The number is certainly large, and worrying, and it makes everyone of us wonder what can we do to avoid falling into this condition.
Most of those diagnosed with depression are prescribed Prozac, an oral drug used to manage depression, OCD, panic disorder, bulimia, and premenstrual disorder. The effects of this med are not always positive, as it has been known to cause some minor and major issues. The minor side-effects include:
Decreased sex drive and/or impotence
Dizziness and drowsiness
Sore throat, sneezing, stuffy nose
The more severe side-effects include:
Loss of appetite, vomiting
Loss of coordination
Fast or uneven heartbeat
High fever, sweating
Severe skin reactions, swelling
Due to all of the reasons listed above, Prozac use should be considered only as a last resort, as there are better, natural, ways of dealing with depression. One of those natural remedies for depression are cashews.
The cashew tree is a tropical evergreen tree that produces the cashew seed and the cashew apple. The tree can grow up to 14 meters, but the dwarf cashew, growing up to 6 meters, has proved more profitable, due to the earlier maturity and higher yields. Most of the nuts we get come from Vietnam, Nigeria, India, and Ivory Coast, as these are the major growing centers.
Cashew nut, often simply called a cashew, is widely consumed, either in recipes or processed into cashew chees or cashew butter. The shell of the cashew seeds yield derivatives that can be used in lubricants, waterproofing, paints, and even in weapon production.
As you can see cashews are extremely useful to us humans, but today we are interested in what cashews have to offer regarding our mental health.
Cashews are rich in niacin and tryptophan, both of them are responsible for increasing the mood and energy with daily consumption. Tryptophan is an amino acid that enhances your mood by increasing the production of serotonin, the hormone of happiness. Niacin has some unique abilities, such as helping you fall asleep more easily at night.
A recent study on the use of cashews in treating depression states:
Cashews contain niacin and tryptophan, and, according to some, two handfuls of cashews contain a “therapeutic amount” of tryptophan, enough to alter and elevate your mood. The real measurement, apparently, is three and a half ounces of cashews, about one-half cup, which provides approximately 470 mg of tryptophan.
Cashews also offer a plethora of other health benefits, including the improved heart, bone, and oral health, diabetes related issues relief, as well as a significant improvement of nerve and muscle function. Cashews are also rich in antioxidants, making them a great immune system booster. The antioxidant content also helps with the production of red blood cells.
Packed with Vitamins K, E, and B6, and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, iron, selenium, and phosphorus, cashews are a great provider of the nutrients essential for the optimal function of our organism.