Foods That Help with Anxiety

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.

10 Foods that Feed Mind, Body, Spirit

10 Foods that Feed Mind, Body, Spirit

Food can tend to multiple needs simultaneously - emotional, physical and mental. Learn to consider what is healthful from a perspective of adaptability - every food choice may nourish us in different ways!   Some things to consider about food is that our bodies’ needs may change over time based on where we are in our recovery journey or where we are in our life journey.   With this groundwork of the context of our life considered, we can then look at some specific healthy foods choices:


  1. Water: this a key first priority, especially when detoxifying. It is our natural state and can bring forward fluidness in our spirit.  
  2. Avocado: This green beauty is a powerhouse of a nutritional meal! Avocado’s are full of good fat which improves the health of your heart and the sustenance will last a long time.  
  3. Dates: sugary and comfort foods can be a way to sooth the emotional healing process in recovery and dates are a great plant-based source of sweet.  Combine with nut butters to slow down the metabolization for a snack that sustains longer.
  4. Raw Nuts: a great snack to have on the go! When you find yourself in a state of hungry-angry-lonely-tired (HALT), you have a healthy snack on hand to bring your physical body back into center.
  5. Goji Berries: these are a powerful food that satisfy the desire for sweet and offer detoxification support to the liver.  Play with eating one berry at a time and fully experiencing it with all of the sensation of your mouth!
  6. Passion fruit: remember, it isn’t ready to eat until the outer shell is wrinkled.  Once it arrives at this place, you can open it and empty the fruit into your belly.  Mix with almond milk and freeze for a fun spin on ice cream.  
  7. Millet: this powerful grain cooks much quicker than other whole grains and has a bread-like texture that can satisfy the desire for comfort foods.  
  8. Greens: this means a lot of different foods: lettuces, spinach, kale, chard and more! These foods are fabulous for their mineral content and positive impact on your digestive system.  
  9. Beets: these lovely Fall root veggies are sweet and easy to prepare! You can wrap them in tin foil, whole, and pop them in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes. Allow them to support you in becoming rooted in your purpose.  
  10. Chia pudding: this delicious food can be dessert while also working as a fiber to carry toxins out of the digestive system.  


Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.

Did You Know These 7 Foods and Supplements Help Your Hormones?

Hormones are naturally produced by the body to help regulate various functions. When we find ourselves trapped in a controlling relationship with drugs and alcohol, we damage our hormones. Drugs and alcohol are powerful chemicals substances that alter mind, body, and spirit. Some of our most essential hormone production and function gets tilted off kilter as we continue to suffer in the face of substance abuse. The thyroid, for example, is an important producer of hormones.

Abuse of substances like alcohol can incur thyroid problems. Hypothyroidism is the slowing of the thyroid while hyperthyroidism is an overproduction of the thyroid. An imbalanced thyroid can lead to symptoms resembling depression and anxiety. Coupled with ongoing substance abuse the body spirals further and further into chaos.

Addiction and alcoholism is a holistic disease. Diseases break the body down and halt natural functioning. In order to fully recover from drug addiction and alcoholism, one has to take a full approach. Stopping the abusive use of substances is just the first step in total holistic healing.

Enlightened Solutions believes in approaching addiction treatment with holistic, natural, healing that treats mind, body, and spirit. We proudly educate our clients on natural ways to help their bodies heal through food, natural remedies, yoga, and spiritual practices. Our treatment program uses leading evidence based therapeutic treatment methods with holistic healing modalities.

Hormones can be reset and supplemented by natural means. Many doctors prescribe a synthetic thyroid medication to correct thyroid problems. Though these medications are helpful, they can lead to a lifelong prescription as they create a reliance within the body.

Here are some of our natural approaches to supporting a healthy functioning hormone system while in recovery for addiction to drugs and alcohol:

  • Molasses
  • Grade A maple syrup
  • Maca Root
  • Primrose Oil
  • Iodine
  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium

One of the best ways to encourage a healthy thyroid is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Balanced diet and exercise is essential. Spend time outdoors in the sunshine and surrounded by green areas as much as possible. Enlightened Solutions is located on a beautifully lush and green campus in the quaint city of Egg Harbor, New Jersey. We offer multiple levels of care which can be individualized to meet each client’s needs. For more information, call 833-801-5483.

Can’t Sleep? Eat (And Don’t Eat) These Foods

“I’m going to sleep so good tonight,” we grunt and groan, rubbing our bellies and slowly sliding further into our seats. A good meal at the end of the day is comforting. Eating just enough, perhaps too much, or having the exact food we have been craving all day puts us at ease.

Then, something happens. We’re wide awake. The promise of of an epicurean induced slumber slides away as we did earlier in our dinner table seats. Our stomachs might be grumbling, our insides might be burning, and most certainly our minds are wide awake.

Food is fuel. What we put into our bodies affects our energy and our minds in addition to our digestive systems. We know that there are herbal teas like chamomile and lavender to help us go to sleep. Certainly turkey and foods containing tryptophan and melatonin cause an easy transition into sleep land. Did you know there are other foods which will help you sleep or keep you wide awake?


Foods To Sleep

  • Complex Carbs: there’s little doubt that a big bowl of pasta can tucker one out for the night. Rather than eating simple starches or bleached starches, opt for grains and wheat. Complex carbs take longer to digest, allowing you to fall asleep while your body does the work.
  • Fatty Fishes: Fish like salmon and tuna which can have a high fat count are great sleepy time foods. Both fish contain tryptophan and vitamins to help your body naturally produce melatonin
  • Leafy Greens: spinach, kale, and chard, all have calcium. Combining calcium rich foods with tryptophan rich foods is an extra boost for producing melatonin.
  • Simple Fruits: Fruits with high fiber and sweet taste will satisfy your late night sugar cravings without the negative consequences.  


Foods Not To Sleep

  • Fried Foods: eating a deep fried meal can certainly make you feel lethargic, but it probably won’t help you sleep. Salty, fatty, fried foods are going to cause bloating and gas. It will be hard to find a comfortable position, breathe deeply, and sleep soundly.
  • Sugary Sweet Desserts: nothing tops a rich meal like a sweet dessert. Sugar is a stimulant, yet we often choose dessert as the last meal of the night. Too much sugar after dinner can wake your body up even worse, as you stay up all night from the sugar high, you’ll eventually experience a sugar crash- usually right in time to wake up and start your day, exhausted.


Enlightened Solutions emphasizes the importance of a holistic and balanced diet. As part of our treatment programs we offer nutritional guidance, educational courses on food and eating, as well as cooking classes. For more information on our programs for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders, call 833-801-5483 today.