The foods we eat affect every single thing in our body, including our central nervous system and mind. It’s no wonder then that with the increased consumption of junk, nutritiously-devoid foods, depression rates are going up. In fact, according to a recent analysis, more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression.
Most people diagnosed with depression are prescribed Prozac, which is a drug used for treating a wide array of mental health problems, including depression, OCD, panic disorder, bipolar disorder etc. Although Prozac can help most people who take it, the drug comes with many worrying side effects, including:
- Decreased libido/impotence
- Drowsiness and dizziness
- Nervousness and shaking
- Dry mouth and sore throat
- Loss of appetite
But that’s not all – these were some of the common, less serious side effects of Prozac, but the drug also has severe side effects, including:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Loss of coordination
- Unpredictable mood changes
- Worse symptoms of anxiety
- Severe skin reactions
- Fast and uneven heartbeat.
Because of this, Prozac should be considered as a last resort only. Instead, it’s a good idea to first try natural and safe alternatives for dealing with depression: food.
Diet for Depression
Although there is no one official diet prescribed for depression, studies show that those struggling with the disorder should avoid: alcohol, caffeine, high-calorie, low-nutrient foods such as refined carbs and sugar, overly processed and junk foods.
Instead, the focus should be on whole, nutrient-rich foods, including: lean protein, healthy fats, lots of vegetables and fruits, fish and fish oil, nuts and seeds.
But one food in particular has been shown to fight depression the best: Cashews.
Cashews for Depression
Cashews are highly nutritious nuts that can not only help boost overall health but can actually fight depression. Cashews are rich in:
- Amino acids
- Omega 3-fatty acids
- Vitamin B6.
This makes cashews perfect for any diet, but especially for diet for depression.
These nuts contain high amounts of tryptophan, which is an amino acid crucial for regulating the production of serotonin in the brain. In fact, tryptophan is one among the rare natural chemicals that improve the uptake of serotonin. In other words, without this particular nutrient in our diet, we cannot produce serotonin as effectively, but even if we could, our bodies wouldn’t be able to use it properly.
As for anecdotal evidence, a lot of people swear by cashews helping them beat depression. About two handfuls of cashews, or one-half cup, provides approximately 470 mg of tryptophan. This makes cashews as effective as Prozac, only without the nasty side effects!