Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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The Case for Cashews

Two handfuls of cashews each day may keep depression at bay. A growing body of research has found that in lieu of taking a prescription drug, some people can turn to foods that are high in tryptophans, like cashews. Depressive episodes are often triggered when the body drops in serotonin and tryptophans can boost it again, but people tend to turn to nutrition as a last resort. One more natural source of tryptophan is cashews. “Several handfuls of cashews provide 1,000-2,000 milligrams of tryptophan, which will work as well as prescription antidepressants,” says Dr. Andrew Saul, a therapeutic nutritionist and editor-in-chief of Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. The body turns tryptophan into serotonin, a major contributor to feelings of sexual desire, good mood, and healthy sleep.

The high levels of magnesium and vitamin B6 found in cashews may also help to stabilize mood. Approximately five ounces of cashews a day will provide a middle-aged man with his daily-required magnesium intake, a nutrient that, when low, can trigger mild depression. Vitamin B6 lends a hand to converting tryptophan into serotonin and helps magnesium enter into the body’s cells. It’s likely a trio of nutrients that help with depression. “You don’t want to think that one individual nutrient is the magic bullet,” says Saul.

By  Marykate Marley
 
cashews

Nutrition

         Cashews, raw

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 553 k cal (2,310 kJ)
Carbohydrates 30.19 g
Starch 0.74 g
Sugars 5.91 g
lactose  0.00 g
Dietary fiber 3.3 g
Fat 43.85 g
Saturated 7.783 g
Monounsaturated 23.797 g
Polyunsaturated 7.845 g
Protein 18.22 g

Vitamins

Vitamin A 0 IU
Thiamine (B1) (37%) 0.423 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (5%) 0.058 mg
Niacin (B3) (7%) 1.062 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) (17%) 0.86 mg
Vitamin B6 (32%) 0.417 mg
Folate (B9) (6%) 25 μg
Vitamin B12 (0%) 0 μg
Vitamin C (1%) 0.5 mg
Vitamin D (0%) 0 μg
Vitamin E (6%) 0.90 mg
Vitamin K (32%) 34.1 μg

Minerals

Calcium (4%) 37 mg
Iron (51%) 6.68 mg
Magnesium (82%) 292 mg
Manganese (79%) 1.66 mg
Phosphorus (85%) 593 mg
Potassium (14%) 660 mg
Sodium (1%) 12 mg
Zinc (61%) 5.78 mg

Other constituents

Water 5.20 g

Units    μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams   IU = International units       
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.                 
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

In a 100-gram serving, raw cashews provide 553 Calories, 67% of the Daily Value (DV) in total fats, 36% DV of protein, 13% DV of dietary fiber and 11% DV of carbohydrates (table).[15] Cashews are rich sources (> 19% DV) of dietary minerals, including particularly copper, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium (79-110% DV), and of thiamin, vitamin B6 and vitamin K (32-37% DV) (table).[15] Iron, potassium, zinc, and selenium are present in significant content (14-61% DV) (table).[15] Cashews (100 grams, raw) contain 113 mg of beta-sitosterol.[15]
source: wikipedia.org
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Nutritional Strategies to Ease Anxiety

According the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. That’s 40 million adults—18% of the population—who struggle with anxiety. Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand, with about half of those with depression also experiencing anxiety.

Specific therapies and medications can help relieve the burden of anxiety, yet only about a third of people suffering from this condition seek treatment. In my practice, part of what I discuss when explaining treatment options is the important role of diet in helping to manage anxiety.

In addition to healthy guidelines such as eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine, there are many other dietary considerations that can help relieve anxiety. For example, complex carbohydrates are metabolized more slowly and therefore help maintain a more even blood sugar level, which creates a calmer feeling.

A diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is a healthier option than eating a lot of simple carbohydrates found in processed foods. When you eat is also important. Don’t skip meals. Doing so may result in drops in blood sugar that cause you to feel jittery, which may worsen underlying anxiety.

The gut-brain axis is also very important, since a large percentage (about 95%) of serotonin receptors are found in the lining of the gut. Research is examining the potential of probiotics for treating both anxiety and depression.

Foods that can help quell anxiety

You might be surprised to learn that specific foods have been shown to reduce anxiety.

  • In mice, diets low in magnesium were found to increase anxiety-related behaviors. Foods naturally rich in magnesium may therefore help a person to feel calmer. Examples include leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard. Other sources include legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
  • Foods rich in zinc such as oysters, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks have been linked to lowered anxiety.
  • Other foods, including fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acid. A study completed on medical students in 2011 was one of the first to show that omega-3s may help reduce anxiety. (This study used supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids). Prior to the study, omega-3 fatty acids had been linked to improving depression only.
  • A recent study in the journal Psychiatry Research suggested a link between probiotic foods and a lowering of social anxiety. Eating probiotic-rich foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, and kefir was linked with fewer symptoms.
  • Asparagus, known widely to be a healthy vegetable. Based on research, the Chinese government approved the use of an asparagus extract as a natural functional food and beverage ingredient due to its anti-anxiety properties.
  • Foods rich in B vitamins such as avocado and almonds

These “feel good” foods spur the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. They are a safe and easy first step in managing anxiety.

Walnuts

Are antioxidants anti-anxiety?

Anxiety is thought to be correlated with a lowered total antioxidant state. It stands to reason, therefore, that enhancing your diet with foods rich in antioxidants may help ease the symptoms of anxiety disorders. A 2010 study reviewed the antioxidant content of 3,100 foods, spices, herbs, beverages, and supplements. Foods designated as high in antioxidants by the USDA include:

  • Beans: Dried small red, Pinto, black, red kidney
  • Fruits: Apples (Gala, Granny Smith, Red Delicious), prunes, sweet cherries, plums, black plums
  • Berries: Blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries
  • Nuts: Walnuts, pecans
  • Vegetables: Artichokes, kale, spinach, beets, broccoli
  • Spices with both antioxidant and anti-anxiety properties include turmeric (containing the active ingredient curcumin) and ginger.

Achieving better mental health through diet

Be sure to talk to your doctor if your anxiety symptoms are severe or last more than two weeks. But even if your doctor recommends medication or therapy for anxiety, it is still worth asking whether you might also have some success by adjusting your diet. While nutritional psychiatry is not a substitute for other treatments, the relationship between food, mood, and anxiety is garnering more and more attention. There is a growing body of evidence, and more research is needed to fully understand the role of nutritional psychiatry, or as I prefer to call it, Psycho-Nutrition.

Uma Naidoo, MD, Contributor       APRIL 13, 2016, 9:30 AM


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Health Benefits of Cashews

Cashews are delicious and full of nutrients. A popular ingredient in vegan foods and Indian cuisine, cashews can be eaten raw, salted, added to salads or used to make rich, creamy sauces. Cashews are a staple nut, easy to find in stores and to add to all manner of foods. In addition to being versatile and tasty, they’re also chock-full of nutrients. Here are just a few health benefits of cashews:

Healthy Fats

Cashews are high in fat content, which is one of the reasons they are so important for vegans and vegetarians. These nuts aren’t composed of just any kind of fat, either—they’re rich in poly- and monounsaturated fats, major components of the Mediterranean diet that have been shown to decrease LDL cholesterol levels and promote heart health.

Healthline notes that replacing saturated fats, such as those found in animal products, with poly- and monounsaturated fats can help reduce your risk of heart disease. It’s healthy fat that leads most researchers to believe that the Mediterranean lifestyle is the healthiest one for heart health.

cashews

A Cascade of Vitamins

Cashews are also very rich in vitamins. The vitamins K, E and B6 are particularly prevalent in cashews and are associated with many different positive health outcomes.

Vitamin K is most notable for its role in blood clotting regulation. It also supports a healthy skeletal system. A fat-soluble vitamin, it is stored in the body’s fat deposits in the liver and elsewhere.

Vitamin E, which is also fat-soluble, helps the body utilize vitamin K and is also a protective antioxidant. Antioxidants, which are associated with cancer and aging protection, bind to free radicals in the body, neutralizing their effects. This handy vitamin also plays a role in red blood cell production, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Finally, vitamin B6 is also prevalent in cashews. The B-group vitamins are extremely important for good health, as they assist in metabolism (converting glucose, fats and protein into energy that can be used by the body). Vitamin B6 is one member of this important group, which are also known for supporting healthy hair, skin and nails.

A Host of Minerals

If anything can outdo cashews’ impressive reserves of vitamins, it’s their mineral content. Cashews contain copper, iron, magnesium and selenium, all of which are important for a healthy body.

Copper is extremely prevalent in cashews. Copper, like vitamin K, is important for blood health. It works together with iron to form red blood cells, according to Healthline.

Magnesium is beneficial for skeletal health. It is part of a trifecta of minerals (magnesium, calcium and potassium) that work together to deliver nutrients to bones, keeping them strong as people age.

Selenium, meanwhile, functions as an antioxidant. The University of Maryland states that it works in conjunction with vitamin E—these two nutritional powerhouses have the ability to neutralize free radicals.

By: Maggie McCracken    June 17, 2016    Follow Maggie at @MaggieBlogs


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4 Health Benefits of Cashews

Cashews have a sweet aroma and a delicious taste. They are delightfully crunchy yet have a buttery texture.

This explains why these crescent-shaped nuts are found in so many exotic cuisines around the world. They add flavor, texture and nutrition to stir-fries, salads and curries. Cashews have become the third most consumed nut in the world.

4 Health Benefits of Cashews

1. Helps as an Anti-diabetic
Cashew extract has been found to be effective as an anti-diabetic according to a study at the University of Montreal (Canada) and the Université de Yaoundé (Cameroun). Diabetes affects almost 220 million people in the world and has been found to provoke heart and kidney problems.

2. Nutrients in Cashews Assists Memory
Cashews are particularly high in the nutrient PS (Phosphatidylserine), which studies have shown to help with memory. In fact they have the highest amount of PS of any nut.

3. Good for Hearth Health
Cashes have a lower fat content than other nuts. Almost half of the fat in cashews is the heart-healthy kind which can reduce the risk of heart disease. Cashews are high in oleic acid which is the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. Studies show that oleic acid promotes good cardiovascular health. Cashews are also cholesterol free.

Five large studies examined the relation between nut consumption (cashews included) and the risk of CHD (coronary heart disease). The results showed that nut consumption was associated with a positive reduction in CHD risk. Researchers say that this is strong scientific evidence that regular nut consumption is helpful for a healthy and balanced diet. In another study they found consuming nuts (included cashews) lessened the risk of cardiovascular disease in U.S. adults.

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4. Cancer Chemoprevention With Nuts
There have been many studies highlighted in the Oxford Journals about nuts and cancer prevention. The researchers summarized by stating that an increase of nut consumption is associated with a lower cancer occurrence, and they suggest that nut consumption would be effective approach to prevent cancer.

See this chart showing the phytochemicals in certain nuts and how they help in preventing cancer.

Caution: Cashew Nut Allergy can be highly potent.
Allergic symptoms range from simple skin itching (hives) to potentially severe and even life-threatening (anaphylaxis). Other symptoms include breathing difficulty, pain abdomen, vomiting and diarrhea.

Cashew Nutrition
Cashews are lower in calories and in fat compared to most other nuts! They have more protein than most other nuts and much more phosphatidylserine, which is, as already mentioned, helpful for the memory. They are a good source of healthy fats, protein, iron and rich in B vitamins.

Nutrient Cashew Database by USDA: 1/4 cup of cashews has approximately 196 calories, 5g of protein, 2mg Iron, 750mg copper (84% DV), 89mg

Don’t Be Scared of Weight Gain!

Surprisingly, it was found that adults who include nuts into their diets do not have to limit their consumption.  This is according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. There were 31 studies about people adding nuts to their diets by replacing other foods with nuts. These people lost an average of 1.4 pounds and reduced their waist sizes by more than half an inch. It was important that they replaced other foods and did not just add a lot more nuts.

Roasting cashews creates higher levels of nutrients than eating them raw.
The antioxidants in cashews are increased as the roasting temperature increased.
So let’s enjoy eating cashews!
Grab the occasional tasty handful or add them to your meals.

By: Diana Herrington       March 12, 2016       Follow Diana at @DancinginLife