Anxiety is a reality for many people. There are natural foods that help reduce anxiety which you can include in your diet.
According to the World Health Organization, anxiety is on the rise in the world. One person out of ten will experience anxiety at one point in their life.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a psychological and physiological disorder characterized by constant stress, constant worry, fear, dread, or nervousness.
It is real suffering that can be disabling in everyday life and it is most often associated with anxiety attacks. There are different types of anxiety, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, or post-traumatic stress.
Anxiety is often treated with medication, but diet can play a significant role in reducing anxiety since nutrition is a great place to start when you are trying to manage your anxiety.
As long as it is confirmed the condition does not require medical intervention, then there are strategies you can use to help reduce anxiety and these include exercising, deep breathing, yoga and taking a look at what you are eating.
Disclaimer: This post is not a replacement for medically diagnosed anxiety – please refer to your medical practitioner for medical diagnosis and intervention.
There are some foods you can eat that may help manage and reduce your symptoms, mostly due to their brain-boosting properties.
Natural Foods That Help Reduce Anxiety
Here are some natural foods that may help reduce anxiety and you may want to include in your meals:
Disclaimer: The pointers in this post are not associated with, neither do they replace professional or medical advice. It is important you don’t delay or hesitate to seek professional help if you feel that you are not able to find a manageable solution to your anxiety.
Foods Rich in Vitamin B
Studies have shown a relationship between vitamin B and mood. A deficiency of B vitamins such as vitamins B9 and B12 can lead to experiencing depression. You can take a supplement or eat foods rich in vitamin B to avoid anxiety. The richest foods include beef, pork, chicken, leafy vegetables, legumes, oranges, and other citrus fruits, rice, nuts, and eggs.
Whole Grains Bread
Carbohydrates also increase the production of serotonin in the brain. When eating carbohydrates, choose whole grains rather than processed carbohydrates.
Whole grains food takes longer for the body to break down and slowly release sugar into the bloodstream.
Processed carbohydrates can give you an initial burst of energy, but this may be followed by an insulin problem that will quickly lower blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling lethargic.
Findings show that omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, lake trout, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines, can improve your mood.
Studies have shown that people on antidepressants who took omega-3 fatty acids improved their mood more than those who only took antidepressants.
Salomon may be helpful in reducing anxiety because it also contains nutrients that promote brain health. Salmon is high in the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which may assist in anxiety relief by promoting brain health.
EPA and DHA may help regulate the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which can have calming and relaxing properties.
Also, studies show these fatty acids can reduce inflammation and prevent brain cell dysfunction that leads to the development of mental disorders like anxiety.
A few servings of salmon a week may be sufficient to promote anxiety relief and well being.
Chamomile is a plant that helps in reducing anxiety. It contains high levels of antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and prevent brain damage caused by anxiety.
I enjoy the aroma of chamomile tea, and I find chamomile tea tastes refreshing while it also gives a feeling of calmness.
Click here to read more about Chamomile in an article published on the US National Library of Medicine website.
There are several studies that have examined the association between chamomile and anxiety relief.
The studies found that those diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) experienced a significantly greater reduction in symptoms after consuming chamomile extract, compared to those who did not. Click here to read more on this in an article published on the US National Library of Medicine website.
While these results if the studies mentioned above are interesting, it must be noted that most of the studies have been conducted on chamomile extract and not chamomile tea.
Therefore, it is necessary for more research to be done to understand the anxiety-reducing effects of chamomile tea, which is what is most commonly consumed.
Turmeric is a spice that contains curcumin, a compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may alleviate anxiety symptoms. It is also understood that curcumin is a compound which has been studied for its role in promoting brain health and preventing anxiety disorders.
Studies suggest that curcumin may boost the omega-3 fatty acid DHA in the brain by helping your body synthesize it more efficiently
Curcumin also has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to prevent damage to brain cells.
This is the ‘yummy’ one. Including some dark chocolate in your diet may be helpful for easing anxiety.
Dark chocolate contains flavonols, and these are antioxidants that may be beneficial for brain function.
Flavonols do this by improving the blood flow to the brain and promoting the brain’s ability to adapt to stressful situations.
The effects of these flavonols may help you to feel more comfortable in stressful situations that can lead to anxiety and other mood disorders.
On the other hand, some researchers also suggest the role dark chocolate plays in brain health may simply be a result of its taste, which can be comforting for people who experience mood disorders.
It is understood that eating dark chocolate can increase levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which may help reduce the stress that causes anxiety.
An example of this is seen in a study of highly stressed individuals. In the study, participants reported significantly lower levels of stress after they consumed 40 grams of dark chocolate every day over a two-week period. Click here to read this interesting article on this topic published on the US National Library of Medicine website.
Remember, and I am sorry to dash the joy delicious thoughts of eating dark chocolate brings you, but it is better to consume dark chocolate in moderation because it is high in calories and easy to overeat. 1–1.5 ounces is a reasonable portion.
Yoghurt is a great food to include in your diet if you experience anxiety.
The healthy bacteria, or probiotics, found in some types of yoghurt can improve several aspects of your well-being.
There have been some interesting studies on yoghurt and its effects on anxiety and the findings are promising. But more human research is needed to confirm the beneficial effects that yoghurt may have on reducing anxiety.
Also, it is important to note that not all yoghurt contains probiotics. To get the benefits of probiotics, you should choose a yoghurt that has live active cultures listed as an ingredient. Kefir, which is yoghurt in this category is my favourite!
Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that has been studied for the positive effects it may have on brain health and anxiety reduction.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is linked with anxiety and a study found that those who drank a beverage that contained L-theanine had decreased levels of cortisol. Click here to read the article on this which is published on Healthline website.
More human research is needed to confirm the anxiety-reducing effects of green tea, but there is no harm in sipping a delicious daily cup of green tea in the meantime.
It is refreshing and another favourite tea.
Other Foods That May Help Reduce Anxiety
Some of the foods mentioned below have not been specifically studied for their anxiety-reducing effects. They are rich in nutrients that are thought to help and improve anxiety symptoms.
- Blueberries: Blueberries are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants, such as flavonoids, that have been studied for their ability to improve brain health and in turn may help with reducing anxiety
- Citrus fruits and bell peppers: These fruits are rich in vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties that may help reduce inflammation and prevent damage to cells that may promote anxiety
- Almonds Nuts: Almonds nuts provide a significant amount of vitamin E, a vitamin that has been studied for its role in anxiety relief
- Chia seeds: Chia seeds are another good source of brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help with anxiety. These are also plant-based nutrition.
Overall, human research on the topic of specific natural foods and their effects on reducing anxiety or anxiety relief is sparse. More high-quality human studies are needed to be able to evaluate and provide evidence.
However, those I have listed in this post, combined with regular walking, exercise, yoga and breathing exercise may help you deal with your anxiety symptoms, as these may also help reduce inflammation and boost brain health.
US National Library of Medicine website articles:
The pointers in this post are not associated with, neither do they replace professional or medical advice. It is important you don’t delay or hesitate to seek professional help if you feel that you are not able to find a manageable solution to your anxiety.
By reading this, you agree to all of the following:
You understand this to be an expression of opinions and this is not professional advice. You are solely responsible for the use of any content and hold zenaai.com and all members and affiliates harmless in any event or claim.
If you purchase anything through a link in this blog, you should assume that I have an affiliate relationship with the company providing the product or service that you purchase, and that I will be paid commission in some way. This will have no impact on what you pay for your purchase. I recommend that you do your independent research before purchasing anything.