Cashews make me happy…literally. Did you know that cashews are a natural antidepressant? Eating a serving of cashews is the equivalent of taking a prescription dose of Prozac. Cashews are high in the amino acid L-tryptophan, which is made into serotonin in the body. Most anti-depressants function by keeping serotonin levels artificially high or using a mimicked version of serotonin. Serotonin is “the happy hormone” that wards off depression, reduces stress and anxiety, regulates sleep, and suppresses pain receptors. The saying goes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but let’s start our own saying “some cashews each day keep the psychiatrist away.”
Their antidepressant properties alone make cashews a wonder food, but let’s take a look at what else makes cashews great.
Magnesium: Magnesium is shown to help lower and regulate blood pressure, alleviate constipation, strengthen bones, and promote proper heart function. Studies have shown that most type two diabetics suffer from magnesium deficiency.
Zinc: Zinc boosts the immune system, fights infection, promotes cardiovascular health, increases fertility in men and women, and accelerates cell growth and repair.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K prevents artery hardening, strengthens bones, regulates blood clotting, and improves cognitive function, specifically in regards to memory.
Monounsaturated Fats: Monounsaturated fats reduce the risk of high cholesterol, heart attacks and stroke, provide energy, assist in lowering blood pressure, and regulate healthy brain function.
I eat cashews almost everyday. They are a great snack during the off time between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. They taste great, and they’re loaded with health benefits. Cashews are truly the Schroeder to my Lucy.
As an homage to my deep seated love for cashews, I have decided to share one of my favorite cookie recipes, featuring, what else, cashews. These cookies have been affectionately named, Beethovens. Yes, I name all of my cookies, don’t judge me. I named these Beethovens for two reasons. The simplest reason is , I love classical music, Beethoven was a mesmerizing composer, and these cookies are mesmerizing, as well. The more complicated answer takes a few twists and turns. I was making the cookies and started to think about cashews’ antidepressant properties. Depression always reminds me of my fellow bad luck ridden, pumpkin head, the good ol’ Charlie Brown. (It’s always Disney or Peanuts with me, isn’t it?) Charlie Brown led me to Lucy, my spirit animal, who led me to Schroeder, who led me to his idol, Beethoven. Rather complicated, as I explained previously, so let’s just stick with “Beethoven was cool. These cookies are cool. Yeah…”
3 cups of cashew meal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
(heaping) 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup of roasted/salted pecans, chopped
1 cup of dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup raw honey
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together cashew meal, baking soda, and salt. Add in chocolate chips and pecans.
Heat honey and coconut oil together (about 20-30 seconds in the microwave). Stir the mixture gently until the white of the coconut oil is no longer visible. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts. Whisk in the egg.
Add the liquid mixture into the dry. Use a spatula to fold the ingredients together. WARNING: this dough will be very sticky.
If you want your cookies to be fat and chewy, bake the cookies immediately. If you prefer flat cookies with crisp edges and chewy middles, refrigerate the dough for 20-30 minutes before baking.
Place balls of dough on your prepared sheet and flatten with palm. Bake for 15-17 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of your cookies.
ENJOY! And remember, “some cashews each day keep the psychiatrist away.”