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Foods That Help with Anxiety

You may have heard of that popular expression, “You are what you eat.” The stomach and the brain have a connection where if our bodies are not given essential nutrients, this can have an effect on the production of neurotransmitters and brain chemistry that impacts our mental health. By being wise about what foods you are incorporating into your diet, you will be able to see a difference in your anxiety.


Asparagus has a great amount of the ingredient folate which has a tendency to boost your mood. Instead of having fries as your side dish, try having asparagus instead that you can saute, grill, or steam. You can also have asparagus as a snack that you can dip into salsa, hummus, or salsa.


Avocados are filled with vitamin B6 which can help the body make serotonin, a mood-boosting neurotransmitter. Deficiencies in these vitamins have a tendency to increase anxiety. Other than vitamin B6, avocados also have healthy fats that can help lessen anxiety. Instead of eating ice cream for dessert, you can have an avocado treat where you blend avocado with a ripe banana, vanilla extract, almond milk, and sweetener. Once you freeze it for a few hours, you will have a mood-boosting dessert. You can also add avocado to salads instead of fatty dressings and omelets instead of cheeses. 


Blueberries have antioxidants and vitamin C that will help repair and protect our cells. These fruits can help prevent and reduce anxiety for those who have it. Instead of having desserts that are high in sugar, which can throw off a healthy bacterial balance in the stomach, have a bowl of blueberries. 


Turkey is filled with tryptophan which the body uses to produce serotonin to regulate sleep and mood. This nutrient can also help reduce feelings of anxiety. Instead of eating fried foods, which introduce unhealthy fats that can worsen your mental health, add turkey to quinoa or brown rice with veggies to provide good nutrients and nice sleep. 


Almonds are filled with magnesium which increases serotonin in the brain. 12 almonds have 75mg of magnesium which is 19% of your daily recommended amount. Instead of having cookies for dessert, which are filled with unhealthy trans-fats and sugars that disrupt good bacteria, have nuts instead to promote stomach health. If you really need something sweet, you can throw in some dark chocolate chips into your mix. 


Fermented probiotic foods have a tendency to lessen social anxiety and fix damaged nerve tissue in the brain that leads to anxiety. Probiotics is a friendly bacteria that live in the GI tract and defends against harmful pathogens and microbes. Plain Greek yogurt has 100 million probiotic cultures per gram or 25 billion in a cup. Instead of having milk with your cereal, have milk with it instead. If you have a genetic risk of developing social anxiety, yogurt can be the best thing for you to include in your diet. If you do not care for yogurt, you can have sauerkraut or pickles in your sandwich for lunch which also has probiotics. Instead of having parmesan with your pasta or soups, sprinkle miso on top of it.


Having lower antioxidants in your system can lead to increased anxiety symptoms. Dark, leafy greens like kale are rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin E to boost antioxidant levels and support the best brain function. Instead of lettuce in your salad or your sandwiches, use kale instead. If you feel like kale is too bitter for you, add it to an omelet, soup, or smoothie. 


Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids which help with anxiety. Having enough beneficial fats will support a healthy brain and stomach connection. Salmon helps keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you feel tense. Studies have also shown that fatty acids can reduce inflammation and prevent brain cell dysfunction that can lead to developing mental health disorders. One study in PubMed showed that men who ate Atlantic salmon three times a week for five months had less anxiety than those who ate chicken, beef, or pork. They also had an improved heart rate. Instead of having a big, juicy steak for dinner, substitute that with seafood. You can try adding different spices to your salmon like salt and pepper, garlic, rosemary, etc. 


Tumeric contains curcumin, which is a compound that promotes brain health and prevents anxiety. This compound also has a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that prevent damage to brain cells. This could be because curcumin reduces inflammatory markers like cytokines which are responsible for anxiety development. Curcumin can also increase blood antioxidant levels which are low in those with anxiety. Tumeric is easy to add in meals as it has minimal flavor. You can add it in smoothies, curries, and casserole dishes.

Dark Chocolate

We may be quick to go for milk chocolate because of its sweet flavor. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, can do more for your anxiety as it contains flavonols which are oxidants good for brain function. Flavonols improve blood flow to the brain and can help adapt to stressful situations. Eating dark chocolate can also increase serotonin which can reduce the stress that leads to anxiety. By incorporating any of these stress-reducing foods into your diet, your anxiety levels should decrease and you will feel a whole lot better.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12-Step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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