Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting 40 million adults. And while there are numerous therapies and medications to help treat anxiety, did you know that diet is one of the most important factors to manage anxiety and feel calmer? We understand, coping with anxiety can be a challenge, but it’s a challenge not without solutions. Oftentimes, it’s as simple as a change in your diet. After all, it starts with your gut!. In this article, we will tell you the best foods that you can eat to relieve anxiety and to ensure a more tranquil state of mind at all times. From Broccoli, Chamomile Tea, Turmeric, Asparagus to Salmon, and many more, keep reading till the end to learn about all of them!
Salmon is an anti-anxiety superfood and a go-to for depression relieving diets because it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids known to help in relieving anxiety. It’s also extremely high in B vitamins, loaded with magnesium, and even has a small amount of tryptophan, all of these components have been proven to fight anxiety and depression. You can get salmon nearly year-round and stock your freezer with frozen filets for a quick, bakeable dinner that’ll help you unwind at the end of a stressful day or power through an anxiety-ridden afternoon.
Not only is asparagus delicious, but it’s also got nutrients you need to help you relax. As we mentioned earlier, B vitamins are essential for combating anxiety, and asparagus
has plenty. It is particularly rich in B9, also known as folate, or folic acid, in addition to iron. Some studies have cited that B vitamin and iron deficiencies are linked to panic attacks, making asparagus a must-have in your refrigerator for an anti-anxiety diet.
15. Swiss Chard
Feeling tense and on edge? Magnesium-rich food like Swiss chard may be just what you need. Swiss Chard is not only a rich source of disease-preventing antioxidants but it also contains ample doses of magnesium, the anti-stress mineral. A deficiency in this micronutrient is prevalent in cultures that rely on processed foods and lack adequate fresh foods in the daily diet. Magnesium also plays a role in regulating normal heart contractions as well as promoting relaxing muscles throughout your body.
Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, has been shown to help lower anxiety by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress that often increase in people experiencing mood disorders. Studies show that turmeric specifically targets the underlying pathways of depression and anxiety by promoting neuro-genesis or the generation of new brain neurons. This increases the feel-good compounds serotonin and dopamine and promotes the anti-stress chemical norepinephrine. At the same time, this helps inhibit inflammation which underlies most diseases. You can easily add turmeric to meals such as curries, casseroles, smoothies, and salads.
More than ever there is evolving science showing a link between gut and brain health. The many types of healthy bacteria that dwell within your intestines may play more than just a role in regulating healthy elimination and immune function. These gut flora help send chemical messages to your brain, particularly areas which control stress response and mood regulation. Ensuring a healthy intake of probiotics from fermented and cultured foods such as yogurt will help to support this gut-brain connection.
Eggs contain choline, a nutrient that’s needed for the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that impacts the portions of your brain responsible for regulating mood and reducing stress. In one study, people with the highest anxiety levels also had the lowest blood levels of choline. Eggs also contain vitamin D, which helps ease both anxiety and depression. Other good sources of choline are turkey, beef, seaweed, soy, and Swiss cheese.
11. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans are loaded with tryptophan, an amino acid that increases serotonin and has a calming effect. Several studies have linked low dietary tryptophan with increased anxiety and stress, and consuming more dietary tryptophan has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. Kidney beans are also rich in protein, which are important for neurotransmitter production. Poultry, eggs, cheese, and pumpkin seeds are also good sources of tryptophan.
Brown rice contains a variety of B vitamins, crucial for the production of dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitters that regulate mood. Thiamine or vitamin B1 has been shown to reduce anxiety and related symptoms, including headache, insomnia, and nightmares. One study showed that adults who took a B-vitamin complex had fewer symptoms of anxiety and an overall improvement in mood. Some other good sources of B vitamins are nutritional yeast, split peas, barley, oats, nuts, and seeds.
9. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber and complex carbs, which can help keep your blood sugar levels steady to balance mood. Studies show high-glycemic foods like white bread, pasta, cookies, and cakes are associated with anxiety. Other high-fiber, low-glycemic carbs include beans, winter squash, artichokes, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, raspberries, and blackberries.
8. Green Tea
You can beat the stress with none other than a cozy cup of green tea. Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that has been shown to ease anxiety and stress 1 to 3 hours after drinking 200 milligrams. A typical cup of tea contains about 25 milligrams and takes about half an hour to 2 hours to have an effect. When it starts working, L-theanine produces calming effects while stimulating dopamine and serotonin in the parts of your brain responsible for hormones, metabolism, and memory.
Although other nuts such as cashews, brazil nuts, and hazelnuts are helpful in supplementing omega-3 fats, walnuts seem to be the winner in this category. Walnuts are known to support overall brain health, being one of the highest plant-based sources of omega-3 and a great source of protein to help keep blood sugar levels at a healthy balance. One study found that depression scores were 26% lower among those who consumed about one-quarter cup of walnuts per day. They found that adults who ate nuts, and specifically walnuts, were more likely to have higher levels of optimism, energy, hope, concentration, and a greater interest in activities.
Flaxseed and chia seeds are wonderful additions to your diet if you struggle with depression. These two types of seeds are particularly great sources of omega-3 fats. Just one tablespoon of chia seeds provides approximately 61 percent of your daily recommended amount of omega-3 and one tablespoon of flaxseed provides roughly 39 percent of the daily recommendation. As you can see, these two seeds pack a powerful punch if you are looking for small ways to improve your diet and your mood. Pumpkin and squash seeds are also a great addition to increase tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that produces niacin and helps create serotonin which is also called the happy chemical because it contributes to your wellbeing and happiness. Pumpkin and squash seeds provide approximately 58 percent of the recommended daily intake of tryptophan.
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats that are known to support neurotransmitters and overall brain health. Avocados also contain magnesium which can help calm nerves. Magnesium also helps in nourishing your nervous system, regulates blood pressure, helps to balance your blood sugar and also eases your mind during stressful times.
Blueberries come with a variety of nutritional benefits that can make you feel calm during your battle being fought inside you. The antioxidants in blueberries help fight the free radicals that are making you depressed and provide you relief during your anxious hours. The stress hormones when triggered get you in great trouble. However, blueberries help in their regulation and prevent them from getting boosted. The constant fruit delivery to your stomach helps you curb your anxiety, and their nutritional values guard your immune and neurological system.
3. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants that can fight inflammation. It’s also a healthy substitute for milk chocolate and other sugary unhealthy snacks. A 2012 study found that regular consumption of dark chocolate was associated with a decrease in biochemical measures of stress, such as cortisol production. For some people, dark chocolate can also be a powerful comfort food that eases stress after a difficult day.
Cheap, compact, and easy to procure, bananas can help you improve your mood and combat anxiety. Bananas are high in complex carbohydrates, which contain serotonin, the feel-good chemical. Complex carbohydrates also improve the transport of tryptophan into your brain, where it is converted to serotonin. Bananas also contain the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine. Tyrosine leads to balanced levels of dopamine in the brain and aids in the reduction of body fat—and who doesn’t love shedding some fat? Phenylalanine is used to form tyrosine. Bananas also contain vitamin B6, which helps convert tryptophan into serotonin.
1. Chamomile Tea
This age-old tea therapy helps in inducing sleep and relieves anxiety. Chamomile tea is known for its amazing properties such as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and relaxant properties. As per studies, chamomile tea has been known for its anti-anxiety properties that come from the flavonoids present in chamomile flowers. Do you get stressed out often? Is eating a part of your stress relief measure?…