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Coo-coo for cashews

By Wendell Fowler

I’m nutty about cashews and can’t resist their seductive, sweet creaminess and recently discovered my attraction to the tasty tree nut is actually enriching my health and creating a feel-good vibe.

The cashew tree bears edible pear-shaped false fruits called “cashew apples.” The tropical tree belongs to the plant family: the mango, pistachio, poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. Native to the Brazil’s rain forest, the tree was spread all over the planet by Portuguese explorers and today cashews are commercially cultivated in Brazil, Vietnam, India and many African countries.

Science supports eating cashews can be as effective as Prozac and other anti-depressants in maintaining a positive mood. You see, cashews contain the amino acid L-Tryptophan. Dr. Andrew Saul, a therapeutic nutritionist and editor-in-chief of Orthomolecular Medicine News Service says, “The body turns tryptophan into serotonin, a major contributor to feelings of sexual desire, good mood and good sleep.” Two handfuls of cashews are the therapeutic equivalent of a prescription dose of Prozac. Inside your temple chemistry, L-tryptophan is broken down into anxiety-reducing, snooze-inducing niacin. Tryptophan is made into serotonin that gives a feeling of well-being and mellowness.” This is such a profound effect that Prozac, Paxil and similar antidepressants usually either mimic serotonin or artificially keep the body’s own serotonin levels high.

Beige cashews make some superfoods lists for their concentration of protein, fiber, minerals and antioxidants. The small kidney-shaped nut holds proanthocyanidins that actually starve tumors and stop cancer cells from dividing. Studies have also shown cashews can reduce your colon cancer risk, too. Cashews are high in heart-healthy “good fat” in the form of oleic acid, the same monounsaturated fat in domestic, virgin olive oil.

Delicately flavored cashew nuts are rich in vitamin C, protein, niacin, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, copper and zinc; contains 20 percent saturated and 60 percent mono-unsaturated fats. Magnesium is required for strong bones, a healthy heart, preventing depression, treating migraines, diabetes and inflammation. The vitamin is deficient in 80 percent of America’s diet. Magnesium Is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in your temple, according to HealthLine.com.

Asian and Indian cuisines regularly include whole or chopped cashews in stir frys and curries. Sprinkle them into salads, grains, or breakfast cereals. I hit the local grocery to snag a bag for driving and eating out of my hand. If the label lists filthy cottonseed oil, pass. Ditch the artificially flavored variety as well. In a nutshell, cashews are at the least a snack, but at the most, excellent medicine. Thanks, Mother Earth!

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