Anxiety is a common state of mind but it is a normal and often healthy emotion. It involves excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and extreme worry. And if stress adds up to it, it can disturb the mental state pretty quickly. Both anxiety and stress are interrelated to each other Anxiety is basically your body’s natural reaction to stress.
Sometimes people think the answer to their anxiety is more panic and more worry. But that is not true. Most people have different coping mechanisms for anxiety and stress. Some people find comfort in eating food, without knowing the consequences on their bodies. But a good and balanced lifestyle change can be useful to help manage anxiety and stress. Eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, and lean protein can be helpful. Let’s discuss some of the foods which will bring your health game up and calm your anxiety!
Loaded with stress-fighting vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, manganese, and copper Chickpeas is one delicious dish! These legumes are also rich in L-tryptophan, which helps produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters. Research also shows that plants rich in protein may help but chickpeas can also boost your mental health and improve brain performance. According to various studies, those who tend to follow a strict Mediterranean diet rich in plant foods like legumes experienced better mood and less stress than those who followed a typical Western diet rich in processed foods.
Chamomile, a common daisy-like plant, commonly used for herbal infusions for traditional medicine, and there is some evidence that chamomile has an effect on health. It is a medicinal herb that has been used since ancient times as a natural anxiety reducer. Its tea and extract have been shown to encourage restful sleep and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Nutrient-rich carb sources such as sweet potatoes are one of the most important food items that help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Chronic stress and anxiety can lead to Cortisol dysfunction which in some cases cause pain and other inflammatory effects on the human body. Sweet potatoes are a whole food that contains vitamin C and potassium which acts greatly on stress.
Eggs are often considered as nature’s multivitamin as it is an impressive nutrient profile. They are loaded with good vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants needed for a healthy stress/anxiety response. Researches show that whole eggs are particularly rich in choline, a nutrient found in large amounts in only a few foods. Choline has been shown to play an important role in brain health and may protect against stress.
Parsley or garden parsley is native to the central and eastern Mediterranean region and cultivated as a herb. It is packed with antioxidants, the compounds that neutralize unstable free radicals and protect against oxidative stress. Parsley is specifically rich in powerful antioxidants like flavonoids, carotenoids, and volatile oils. These antioxidants help soothe stress and anxiety.
Garlic, a vegetable with sulfur compounds that help increase levels of glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant that acts as a part of your body’s defense against stress. Garlic also helps combat stress and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
According to experts, dark chocolate can help reduce stress and anxiety. A 2014 study found that 40g of dark chocolate helped reduce perceived stress in female students. Study proves that dark chocolate or cocoa may improve mood. Dark chocolate is a rich source of polyphenols, especially flavonoids. One study suggested that flavonoids might reduce neuroinflammation and cell death in the brain as well as improve blood flow. Dark chocolate is also a good source of magnesium. Eating a diet with enough magnesium in it or taking supplements may reduce symptoms of depression.
Yogurt contains healthy bacterias, Lactobacillus, and Bifidobacteria. Some of the emerging evidence proves quotes that these bacterias and fermented products have positive effects on brain health. Yogurt and other dairy products may also produce an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Some research suggests that chronic inflammation may be partly responsible for anxiety, stress, and specifically depression. A study from 2015 suggests that fermented foods reduce social anxiety in some young people, while multiple studies found consuming healthful bacteria increased happiness in some people.
Omega-3 is a fatty acid that has a strong relationship with cognitive function as well as mental health and fish including salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, and herring, are high in omega-3. Though, somehow it is also advised that consuming a lot of these fish with omega-6 may increase their risk of anxiety, so moderation is the key. Recent recommendations suggest that eating at least two servings of fatty fish a week. EPA and DHA regulate neurotransmitters, reduce inflammation, and promote healthy brain function.
Incorporating these foods in your daily diet can help people with anxiety and depression on many levels. Most importantly, if you eat everything in moderation, you can feel your body healthier and less stressed! Happy eating!