Anxiety disorder is prevalent in more than 85% of the population, and if you are looking for anxiety relief while improving your health, a clean diet is probably your best bet to combat the stress hormone. If you are binging on food that you know is not healthy, it might even be causing your anxiety.
If you are reading this, you have probably already tried a variety of different anxiety management tools, and you are still looking for your true saving grace. The truth is that although yoga, meditation, and therapy might help you they won’t take away your anxiety immediately or completely.
In this article, you will learn about the most significant changes to make with anxiety-reducing food and anxiety foods to avoid. The foods on this list will help you, in the long run, to be less anxious and to control your anxiety easily. Others may help you reduce anxiety and stress immediately. So, take a breath. No pills, no alcohol, and no nicotine, just pure healthy foods and maybe a Zen Garden or stress ball.
These are some foods that can reduce anxiety that will help you chill out and become one with yourself without joining a monastery.
List of food that can reduce anxiety:
Let’s make the first step the easiest to prepare and something you can, daresay, eat in the morning to make the day anxiety-free. Maybe don’t try it on a Monday; start with a day in the middle of the week. Eggs and bacon? No. We’re talking eggs and avocado.
Eggs are so versatile; it’s a surprise that you can’t use them to glue arts and crafts or fill your car! Eggs are magnificent anxiety-reducing foods thanks to a tryptophan amino acid, which helps improve serotonin development. Serotonin is a chemical neurotransmitter that can help you sleep better, and we all know anxiety, stress, and mood swings lead to lousy sleep.
It’s not just about consuming foods that will magically reduce your anxiety; it’s also about foods that will benefit you in ways that you will feel more relaxed and anxiety-free. Just eating a healthy egg and avocado breakfast in the morning can already provide you with a sufficient amount of vitamin D and prevent the adverse effects that may lead to anxiety.
While staring at a couple of fat goldfish could potentially have a calming effect, there are other ways to reduce anxiety without overfeeding your pets. Instead, indulge in healthy fatty fish. Not only will it provide you with optimal health benefits but also reduce stress due to its richness in Omega 3 fatty acid and Omega 6. Omega 3 fatty acid in particular helps control cortisol levels while improving your brain function. What is not to love?
It makes for tasty, healthy meals, but it will also help you shake some of your anxiety that builds up through the day. Fatty fish include salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring. Omega 3 is the little helper when it comes to fatty fish, but don’t overdo it, as too much omega 6 could potentially provide you with another mood disorder that you don’t need right now.
Or just get a couple of fat goldfish; it’s up to you.
Mint? Chia seeds are part of the mint family but retain the same benefits that fatty fish do with Omega 3. Chia seeds contain a significant amount of Omega 3 fatty acids that will boost your brainpower and lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression.
With chia seeds, you only need a small serving in order to reap the benefits. Not only that, but you will also be dosing yourself with iron, calcium, and magnesium to add to the already beneficial Omega 3. Some of the most popular ways of consuming these magical seeds are to use them in smoothies, salad dressings, baked goods, or even jam.
Chocolate anyone? What a great excuse. You can eat chocolate without a smidge of guilt. Well, just be honest. Otherwise, you may be swapping anxiety for fat, which will lead to stress caused by fat, and fat caused by anxiety, and, well, you can see where this is going.
Dark chocolate possesses compounds called flavanols, and it can have a positive effect on your mood and may actually promote the development of new neurons in the brain. So, there you have it, eat chocolate and work it off. But always choose dark chocolate as it has less sugar and higher levels of flavanols. Up to one ounce of dark goodness shouldn’t be messing with your weight maintenance.
Anxiety is not only in the mind; sometimes you can also feel it in your gut, and that’s where yogurt comes into the picture. Recent studies have proven that fermented foods, including yogurt, can help strengthen natural beneficial gut bacteria and reduce stress and anxiety.
Are you feeling sad? Maybe swap the dark chocolate for yogurt to benefit both your brain and your gut. Studies by Medical News Today have specifically focused on the effect of yogurt on young people and have shown that it could also improve social anxiety.
The healthy bacteria in fermented foods can have extremely positive effects on the brain and gut altogether.
Biting those nails today? Try spice things up with some turmeric. Turmeric is the spice that gives tasty curries their yellowish color. The spice contains curcumin which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. These are known to take care of anxiety issues in no time. You could also include other ingredients that help with anxiety by making a healthy curry using ginger.
Anxiety will make you go nuts, so rather eat nuts and stay sane for the sake of your own mental health. Although there are many different nuts that can reduce stress level, Brazil nuts are by far the best. With Brazil nuts, you find something other than Omega 3 oils and magnesium, found in most previously mentioned foods.
Brazil nuts contain selenium which could have profound effects on your overall health and inflammation. Inflammatory conditions are often found in people who experience high levels of depression and anxiety. The antioxidants and anti-carcinogenic properties of these nuts could even reduce the risk of developing cancer and contain plenty of vitamin E to double up on the antioxidants.
If you want to get rid of your anxiety, pumpkin seeds are an excellent option for reducing anxiety and stress. Their helpful nature lies in the amount of magnesium and zinc they provide you with. Magnesium won’t only regulate your mood but also manage anxiety. So, pumpkin seeds are good, but most foods with magnesium are usually anxiety-reducing food.
Pumpkin seeds also have a sufficient amount of zinc, which also helps reduce anxiety. If you try to have at least an ounce of pumpkin seeds a day, it will provide you with 18% of your daily magnesium intake and 20% of your daily zinc.
Going green can be extremely beneficial to your health. Even just swapping normal tea for green tea will already make a big difference. Green tea is also different with its magical anxiety killers, and its abundance of amino acids, like L-theanine, eliminates your anxiety and stress.
It relaxes you with its protein amounts and its own greenish antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate, which will be fierce in reducing your anxiety. Green tea also comes in a variety of flavors to encourage you, as many people are not really fond of the taste.
You don’t limit yourself to green tea either; something a bit sweeter with comfort properties includes chamomile herbal tea, and it has a reputation to regulate your anxiety level. Not only can you use chamomile tea, but you can also use the herb itself in a variety of meals and beverages. Chamomile contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are exceptionally beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety.
It contains all antioxidants and inflammatory compounds, but it also regulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis. This is the intersection between the hypothalamus and the adrenal glands and plays a significant role in regulating stress.
We all know that a good salad can brighten the dullest day but why exactly is that? Bell peppers make for tasty snacks, whether you are busy cooking or making a salad. Eating them raw makes them some of the best anxiety-reducing foods. Not only are peppering overall beneficial to your health, but they contain vitamin C, which can positively regulate your anxiety and stress.
Work got you stressed? Have a pepper for lunch – no, we aren’t talking about habaneros. It is suggested that 90mg of vitamin C is sufficient. One yellow bell pepper will already provide you with 140 mg, which is more than enough for a daily dose of vitamin C.
Blueberries are among the most antioxidant-rich foods you could possibly consume without cooking or preparation. Mixing these with bell peppers could create a powerhouse of vitamin C dosage with extra zest when you need an extra boost to take care of the flu. Other than the copious amounts of vitamin C, it also possesses a lot of antioxidants which makes them some of the anxiety reduction foods.
Get rid of anxiety, depression, and stress by popping a couple of blueberries. Not only does it provide significant benefits for anxiety, but it could potentially aid in preventing heart disease, regulating blood sugar, and protecting your eye health.
Turkey sandwich? Forget about the Christmas tree and the presents; the turkey is what is really causing the smiles and keeping the family feuds at bay until the following year. Turkey contains plenty of tryptophan, which makes you happier and reduces anxiety. And no, it’s not because you’re usually sleeping after eating turkey; that’s on you for overindulging.
The tryptophan found in turkey also affects your serotonin which directly benefits depression and anxiety in an almost immediate effect. The thing about tryptophan is that the more you consume, the more it reduces depression and stress.
So, if we didn’t sell you on eggs and avocado for breakfast, or there’s just not any time for that, you can also incorporate oats into your breakfast for a fast but healthy breakfast. As with turkey, oats are rich in tryptophan which takes a big chunk out of the recommended daily intake. According to WebMD, the daily intake amount is between 250 and 400 milligrams per day, and can substantially help reduce anxiety.
Consuming tryptophan in moderation can also help stabilize your body’s melatonin development which helps regulate sleep patterns.
Stress Eat the Healthy Way
If you have been suffering from anxiety and stress for no apparent reason or experiencing one of ‘those’ days, then you are probably not following a clean eating diet. Food is your fuel. You get out what you put in, and “dirty” energy could lead to an unhealthy body and mind. By making simple adjustments and including healthy foods that are full of antioxidants and magnesium, you can save yourself from needless tantrums.
Nobody wants to feel on edge; instead, do yourself a favor and stop consuming fried, refined, high-fat dairy, and processed food. These are the most harmful and cause a lot more trouble than just anxiety and elevated stress levels. By including these anxiety-reducing foods into your diet, you will lower anxiety, smile more than ever, and feel energized to take on everything your day throws at you.
Reinette Robbertze is a highly qualified professional in the health and nutrition industry, having completed both Journalism and Nutrition diplomas. With a remarkable portfolio of health blogs and magazine articles to her name, Reinette’s writing is fueled by her genuine passion for healthy living. Drawing on her academic background, Reinette delivers authentic and insightful information to her readers. Her engaging writing style, blended with personal anecdotes, creates an immersive experience that keeps readers engaged and informed. Keep following her work for the latest updates and informative articles on health and nutrition.