Article by the Drummond Team
In the lead up to Christmas, stress for many of us is almost inevitable! And food and drink is all around us – making it far too tempting and hard to resist. Here are some foods that can help relieve anxiety.
Research shows that some foods act as natural remedies for anxiety, while others can send you into overdrive. Avoid binge-eating your go-to comfort foods (which only leave you feeling guilty and more anxious) and enjoy nutritious superfoods with mood-boosting properties. You’ll feel better for it.
Start eating foods that help with anxiety and stress today by introducing these 8 simple food swaps into your diet:
Studies dating back to the 1960s indicate that many people who suffer from anxiety and depression have an elevated incident of folate deficiency. Asparagus is one vegetable that contains a valuable amount of this mood-boosting nutrient. One cup alone provides two-thirds of your daily recommended folate value.
Vitamin B6 helps the body make several neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which influences mood. The B vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin, have positive effects on the nervous system. Deficiencies of these vitamins have been linked to increased anxiety in some people. Avocados are rich in stress-relieving B vitamins and heart-healthy fat that may help to lessen anxiety.
When we’re anxious and stressed, our bodies crave vitamin C to help repair and protect our cells, and blueberries are packed full of it. Small but mighty, blueberries are bursting with antioxidants and vitamin C which have been shown to provide anxiety relief. Recent studies examined the effects of oral vitamin C supplements on anxiety in a group of students and found that antioxidants may be useful for both the prevention and reduction of anxiety.
Ever heard of tryptophan? It’s the nutrient in turkey that puts you to sleep after Christmas dinner! Okay, it’s a little more than that. Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body needs to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps regulate sleep and mood. According to research, tryptophan may help reduce anxious feelings.
Researchers have shown that magnesium may be an effective treatment for anxiety-related symptoms, as inadequate magnesium reduces the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Just 1 ounce of almonds (that’s about 12 nuts) contains 75mg of magnesium which is 19% of your daily recommended value. You can also find magnesium in foods such as legumes, seeds, and—everyone’s favorite—avocado
You might be surprised to learn that fermented food—including yogurt, one you might not ordinarily think of as falling into this category—can help reduce anxiety! A link has been found between the consumption of fermented, probiotic foods and a reduction in social anxiety. The best yogurts—Greek, plain versions in particular—that contain “live and active cultures” are guaranteed to have 100 million probiotic cultures per gram or about 25 billion probiotic cultures in a cup. Other probiotic foods: pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha, and miso.
Researchers found that anxious symptoms are linked with a lower antioxidant state and that antioxidants can help with mood, too. Dark, leafy greens like kale, which is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin E, are needed to boost antioxidant levels and support optimal brain functioning.
According to another study from Ohio University, omega-3 fatty acids are particularly effective when it comes to foods that help with anxiety. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in foods like salmon, chia seeds, soybeans, and walnuts as well as cold-pressed olive oil. Our brain requires the right dietary fats to function properly, so you’ll want to eat enough of the beneficial fats that support a healthy brain-gut microbiome, which means replacing red meat with seafood.
Do you have an interest in Nutrition? Be sure to check out our upcoming courses here at Drummond Education: https://drummondeducation.com/product/nutrition-physical-activity-health/