I came across an article this morning about how eating two handfuls of cashews is the equivalent taking one dose of Prozac to help treat depression. I was quite intrigued by this statement and needed to find out more as I was also concerned with all the extra calories I’d be eating in a day because I have body image issues. However, like many things on the internet, I found this all to be fake news.
It turns out, this myth circulated on the internet in 2014 after a meme made it’s way through everyone’s social media pages like a contagious disease, peaking in 2016. And according to the site NEWZ MAGAZINE, research purportedly proved the efficacy of cashews as an antidepressant, adding that “big pharma” suppressed the findings in order to cash in on prescription drugs. In fact, the whole theory rests on the claim that cashews have an amino acid in them called Tryptophan, which helps us develop and grow, regulates mood, balances our behavior, improves sleep and can significantly lower the level of stress, anxiety, and depression. And therefore, if you eat 3.5 ounces of cashews, that’s the equivalent of one Prozac dose, you’ll see a better mood in no time. However, in theory, this idea works, but in reality, there is a major flaw that the non-doctors thought to include in their myth.
For Tryptophan to help with depression, it needs to make it’s way to your brain, but when you ingest Tryptophan through food, that just doesn’t happen. Tryptophan uses the same means of transport into the brain as other amino acids and has to compete against them to cross the blood-brain barrier. As it happens, tryptophan is the least abundant amino acid because it has to wait for the other more common amino acids to do their job and it’s left waiting around until there’s barely anything left. And this is the reason why tryptophan needs to be placed within in a supplement that can bypass this gate quickly and deliver the pay off to the brain in a way that eating cashews cannot.
So before you start discontinuing your medication for two handfuls of cashews and some extra love handfuls, please realize that you’re just following a myth that the internet created and it’s dangerous myth to trust for those that need that extra mood boost.
If you or a loved one you know battles with any Mental Health Issues, please do get the help you need. If you need to talk to someone now, you can talk to one of the many fantastic therapists at Better Help by CLICKING HERE.