9 Foods That Can Help Reduce Anxiety

Whether you’re dealing with situational anxiety or suffering from an anxiety disorder, adding these foods to your diet can help heal your brain (and body).

You’re probably aware of the connection between food and energy, like relying on a slice of peanut butter toast to help speed up your workout. And you may have noticed the link between diet and sleep, just as it’s hard to suppress yawning after a big bowl of macaroni and cheese. But the mind-gut connection doesn’t end there: What you eat can also contribute very well to your mental health.

“We understand that there is a brain-gut connection, and there is emerging evidence that what we eat over the past few years affects our mood and how we feel.”

There is a seemingly ever-growing understanding of how certain foods can affect certain mental health conditions, such as anxiety. For example, in addition to highly processed foods foods high in saturated fat exacerbate anxiety shown. Meanwhile, foods rich in antioxidants, for example, have been associated with lower levels of anxiety.

So what should your diet be if you want to alleviate anxiety? Here are nine foods to reduce anxiety and why each can be so beneficial for your brain, according to experts.

Best Foods to Reduce Anxiety

vegetables​

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Fiber-rich foods are broken down slowly in the body, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable and helps you feel full. Research has shown that when blood sugar levels rise and fall, energy and anxiety can also rise and fall; Therefore, it is very important to keep blood sugar stable. A 2010 study artichoke, cabbageand beetrootsuggests that they are particularly good foods for anxiety.

blueberry​

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Just like vegetables, fruits are packed with fiber, which may play a role in relieving anxiety. However, especially blueberries, It is particularly beneficial to include in an anti-anxiety diet. Blueberries have anthocyanins, a type of compound called flavonoids. Not only are they responsible for the blue hue of the tiny spheres, they also have antioxidant effects and have been shown to reduce oxidative stress. It has been linked to oxidative stress – which is essentially the result of an excess of free radicals (aka potentially harmful molecules) in the body. This is why the anthocyanins in blueberries are so notable. Blackberry, cranberryand of cherriesAll contain anthocyanins.

Fermented and Probiotic Rich Foods

Scientific research indicates that probiotic-rich foods are particularly effective anti-inflammatories. Fermented foods are high in probiotics, which help replace the intestinal bacterial structure in your gut. This change may suppress the stress response via the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Also known as HPA, this axis plays a large role in the body’s response to stress. Translation:Fermented foods (eg. sauerkraut) and other nutrient-rich foods (e.g. yogurt) can potentially help you maintain a more stable mind and take a calmer approach to anxiety-provoking triggers or situations.
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What’s more, your gut produces over 90 percent of your body’s serotonin and about 50 percent of your body’s dopamine—two neurotransmitters responsible for regulating your mood. So, when your gut is disrupted – think: an imbalance of the microbiome, or an imbalance of good and bad bacteria – it’s quite possible that neurotransmitters are not produced efficiently, thus negatively impacting your mental health. However, probiotic-rich foods have the power to bring your gut back into balance and, as a result, improve your mental health.

Nuts and Seeds

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Nuts and seeds are considered great anti-anxiety foods. Because it is a nutrient directly linked to reducing anxiety. omega-3 fatty acidsand has been shown to improve symptoms of anxiety magnesium . One study found that people with magnesium deficiency were more likely to feel anxious. The 2010 study mentioned above, thanks to its high antioxidant content walnut and brazil nuts contain impressive magnesium. And considered the best choice thanks to its high amount of omega-3s. chia seedsYou should not forget either.

Legumes

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According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), chickpeas, lentiland beans Legumes packed with mood-boosting magnesium, such as They’re also a good source, and one of the many reasons B vitamins are important is because, according to research, they’re involved in neurotransmitter production and help neurotransmitters communicate with each other. This too, to increase feelings of happinessand help reduce feelings of anxietyit could be.

Moreover, a study done in both 2017 and 2021, People who don’t get enough B vitamins are more likely to experience anxiety as well as depression. is showing. A 2018 study found that people who consumed foods high in B vitamins had better anxiety and stress scores than those who did not.

fish​

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Of course, nuts and seeds are super sources. But it’s not just them: The fish This is another powerful source of this nutrient, making it another nutrient worth adding to your diet to reduce anxiety. However, if you don’t eat fish, you can reap the same mental health benefits by eating seaweed, which is a vegan-friendly way to get enough of this nutrient.

There are two types of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which are believed to regulate neurotransmitters and reduce inflammation, according to a 2015 scientific review. Therefore, a diet rich in EPA and DHA (omega-3 fatty acids) through sources such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and seaweed can potentially help reduce their symptoms.

Whole Grains

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Whole grains are packed with many of the aforementioned anxiety-reducing nutrients, making them one of the best dietary choices when it comes to eating for your mental health. However, dietary fiber B vitaminsand magnesium they are rich in Complex carbohydrates (like whole grains) are thought to increase the amount of serotonin in your brain, thereby providing a calming effect, according to the Mayo Clinic. Rolled oats, quinoaand wholemeal breadChoosing — among many other whole-grain meals — could potentially play a role in relieving anxiety and improving recovery.

For example:Quinoa is packed with protein, which helps you feel full for longer and keep your blood sugar stable so you can better manage stress and overall mood.

spices​

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Adding spices and herbs to your meals does more than add flavor; It also supports brain health. This is because herbs can help reduce inflammation, and remember, inflammation and anxiety are often linked. Among some specific anti-inflammatory herbs to try cooking more often turmeric, ginger, rosemary, garlicand cardamomis found.

For example: Turmeric contains curcumin, known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A 2015 study suggests that the compound may increase DHA levels in the brain, thereby helping to further alleviate anxiety.

dark chocolate

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You already know that a chocolate snack or dessert can make you feel good, but it’s actually scientifically linked to helping with anxiety, too. This is because dark chocolate magnesium that it is rich in What’s more, dark chocolate is packed with polyphenols, particularly flavonoids. (Yes, just like blueberries.) Although polyphenols are known to be powerful antioxidants that help prevent chronic disease, the flavonoids in dark chocolate, in particular, may have the ability to benefit brain function.

Still, if you’re looking for ways to eat to reduce anxiety, consuming some dark chocolate (some studies suggest 40 grams per day) may be a smart addition to your diet. Be sure to choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Experts typically have at least 70 percent cocoa contentor higher varieties.

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