Regular readers around here will know I do suffer from anxiety (pretty much all the time!) and I’m also a fan of healthy eating. So I thought a post about healthy foods that can help ease anxiety would be useful (& fun!). Anxiety is a common condition, and something we all deal with at one time or another. Small things can cause your anxiety to ramp up, from impending deadlines at work to issues in your personal life.
Constant exposure to stress-provoking triggers can make your anxiety worse, to the point where it impacts your health, wellbeing, and day-to-day life.
If anxiety is getting the best of you, the best thing you can do is seek help from a medical professional. A doctor or therapist can give you guidance on how to treat your anxiety effectively, and may suggest methods like cognitive behavioural therapy or medication.
However, there are also things you can do to reduce anxiety yourself, like changing your diet.
Lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on your anxiety levels. For instance, getting more sleep and exercising frequently will both help you manage your emotions more effectively.
Studies also show that certain foods can influence your anxiety too.
Here are some of the best foods to eat if you’re struggling with anxiety.
High in selenium, Brazil nuts can help minimize your anxiety by reducing inflammation – something that’s often heightened when you’re feeling panicked and stressed. Selenium is also an antioxidant, which can assist with preventing cell damage.
Outside of Brazil nuts, mushrooms, soybeans, and many other products contain a healthy amount of selenium. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t eat too much. Excessive selenium (more than 400 micrograms per day) can cause unwanted side effects.
Brazil Nuts are also a good source of Vitamin E. Some studies indicate deficiencies in vitamin E can increase the risk of depression and similar conditions.
Fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, and sardines are high in omega-3 – a substance with a strong connection to mental health and cognitive function. Eating too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 could actually increase your chances of developing a mood disorder.
Foods high in omega-3 that also contain alpha-linolenic acid provide essential fatty acids called EPA and DHA, which regulate neurotransmissions and improve brain function. One study found that EPA and DHA supplementation resulted in reduced anxiety levels.
Eggs have a lot of benefits when consumed regularly. Egg yolks are a great source of vitamin D, and they’re packed full of protein. Eggs also contain tryptophan, a special kind of amino acid which helps in the creation of serotonin.
Serotonin is one of the crucial chemical neurotransmitters responsible for regulating memory, sleep, mood, and behavior. It’s also thought to be excellent for reducing anxiety and improving brain function.
Aside from being delicious, pumpkin seeds are a fantastic source of potassium, which help regulate electrolytes and manage blood pressure. Eating foods rich in potassium, like pumpkin seeds and bananas, can reduce anxiety and stress.
Pumpkin seeds are also a fantastic source of zinc. Studies conducted with high school students found deficiencies in zinc can negatively affect mood. Zinc is also critical for brain and nerve development, and the largest stores of zinc in the body are the regions of the brain connected to emotion.
A super-food often used in Indian and South-East Asian foods, turmeric is packed full of curcumin, which can help to reduce anxiety by lowering oxidative stress and inflammation. Studies into curcumin have found it’s effective at reducing anxiety in adults with obesity.
Other studies have found an increase in curcumin in the diet can increase DHA and reduce anxiety. This substance is very easy to add to meals because it doesn’t have a lot of excess flavour.
There’s a reason why so many people recommend drinking a cup of chamomile tea when you’re feeling anxious. This substance is a natural anti-inflammatory, as well as an antioxidant. Some people believe the anti-anxiety properties of chamomile come from its flavonoids.
Studies have shown that using chamomile tea can help to reduce anxiety symptoms. I am a massive lover of chamomile tea!
If chamomile tea doesn’t appeal to you, try brewing up a cup of green tea instead. This substance contains an incredible amino acid known as theanine.
This powerful substance has both calming and anti-anxiety effects, and may help to increase the production of dopamine and serotonin.
Green tea is an easy substance to add to your diet too. It’s a great replacement for coffee and other beverages, and you can even mix it into smoothies.
Let me know if you enjoy any of these anxiety-busting foods? Or maybe what other diet tips you have for helping anxiety and/or stress? Luv, Fi x