Updated: Nov 29, 2021
7 Amazing Foods That Can Help Relieve Anxiety
Have you been feeling anxious lately?
You’re not alone. Anxiety is a wide-spread issue that affects millions of people every day - studies suggest that around 40 million adults in the US have anxiety, and numbers are increasing. The symptoms can vary from cold sweats to grinding teeth. However, most people agree that, regardless of how anxiety makes them feel, it’s never a good experience.
It’s important to seek out support and guidance from a mental health professional if anxiety is interfering in your life to any significant degree. But, you can try a few strategies at home too. Adjusting your nutrition while you experiment with things like therapy, meditation, and regular exercise could help you to manage the anxiety much better.
Here are the top foods to try:
1. Brazil nuts. Probably one of the best foods for anxiety, Brazil nuts uplift your mood, thanks to higher doses of selenium. Selenium reduces inflammation, which is commonly at higher levels for someone who suffers from anxiety. Selenium is also an antioxidant, excellent for reducing cell damage and give you a handy boost of selenium, along with some extra vitamin E – another antioxidant that may be effective at reducing anxiety. Some research even indicates that low levels of vitamin E may contribute to increased risks of depression and stress.
2. Pumpkin seeds. Ideal for snacking, pumpkin seeds are a healthy treat, and a great tool for the fight against anxiety. These handy seeds contain high doses of potassium, which is great for regulating the balance of electrolytes in your body and reducing blood pressure. Eating foods rich in potassium, like bananas and pumpkin seeds, could reduce anxiety and stress.
Pumpkin seeds also give you a dose of zinc. According to studies, zinc deficiency could increase your chances of challenges with anxiety, stress, and depression. That’s because zinc is essential for brain and nerve functioning.
3. Fatty fish. Your doctor has probably already recommended getting more fatty fish into your diet for a variety of reasons. Fish like salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, arctic char and trout are rich in Omega-3 which can make a huge difference to your cognitive functioning and mental health (just be sure to avoid eating too much of fishes that tend to be high in mercury). Omega-3 foods are also brimming with alpha-linolenic acid, which provides two essential fatty acids known as DHA and EPA. These substances assist with reducing inflammation, regulating neurotransmitters, and promoting healthy brain function. But, be sure you keep it balanced: recent research also shows that eating too much omega 6 (also a good fat, often found in soybeans, corn, safflower and sunflower oils, nuts and seeds, meat, poultry, fish and eggs) and not enough omega 3 could heighten your risk of anxiety and mood disorders.
4. Dark chocolate. Hooray! Experts believe that dark chocolate could be the key to reducing feelings of anxiety and stress. One study conducted in 2014 found that just 40g of dark chocolate could help to reduce stress in students. Other studies have also explored the benefits of dark chocolate on mood. Scientists aren’t totally sure why dark chocolate has such a positive impact on stress and anxiety. However, experts do champion the substance as a source of valuable flavonoids, which could help to reduce neuroinflammation. Dark chocolate also increases serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate your behavior, memory, sleep, and mood. It could also be the key to relieving anxiety. TIP: Try choosing dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or more for the best results.
5. Eggs. Start your morning with some fresh eggs, and you might find that you feel better all day. Egg yolks are beneficial to battling depression and anxiety because they’re rich in vitamin D. Eggs are also a good source of protein. As complete sources of protein, eggs contain all the amino acids you need to ensure growth and development in the body. Eggs are also a decent source of tryptophan, which is an amino acid valuable for the creation of serotonin.
6. Yogurt. Have you ever just craved a nice cup of yogurt? Your brain could benefit from an occasional indulgence. Yogurt contains a lot of healthy bacteria, and emerging evidence suggests that gut health can have an impact on your mental wellbeing too. Bacteria in fermented products have been found to have a positive impact on brain health. According to reviews, the substance could also reduce some of the more common inflammatory issues in the body. One study from 2015 found that fermented foods are effective at reducing feelings of social anxiety in younger people. You might find that eating yogurt before a job interview makes you feel more confident or at ease.
7. Chamomile. Perhaps the best-known ingredient for mood calming tea, chamomile is a beloved herbal remedy for a range of issues. This substance is anti-inflammatory, as well as having high doses of antioxidants and antibacterial substances. Many people believe that chamomile flavonoids can assist with reducing feelings of anxiety and stress. Studies have found that although chamomile doesn’t prevent anxiety, it can help you to overcome symptoms as they happen.
If you struggle with anxiety, try incorporating these foods into your diet on a daily basis. They’re nutritious and delicious!