Feeling anxious? These foods can help.
With the end of summer looming, many people are feeling anxious right now. Maybe you’re about to start a new degree – or maybe you’re nervous about returning to work after a restful August vacation. You might even just be anxious about the long, cold winter ahead. Whatever is stressing you out, we want you to know that you have options. And the right diet is definitely one of them. There is a direct link between your brain and your gut – with some researchers even referring to your stomach as your second brain. In fact, 95% of your serotonin receptors are in the lining of the gut. So when you’re not getting enough of certain nutrients, you bet it has a negative impact on your mood.
Of course, the biggest dietary changes should be pretty obvious to anyone who reads this blog: plan your meals around whole foods, eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies and limit your intake of processed foods as much as you can. Add in regular aerobic exercise and drinking enough water, and you’re off to a pretty great start. And as much as possible, don’t skip meals – as it can lead to a blood sugar drop, leaving you feeling jittery and prone to anxiety. But if you really want to do everything you can to limit your anxiety, there are some specific foods you should be seeking out. Here are just a few of them to get you started.
Ever heard of folate? If you’re struggling with anxiety, it’s definitely something you should keep an eye on. There are decades of studies linking anxiety and depression to a folate deficiency. The good news? Asparagus is packed with it. Just one cup will give you two thirds of your recommended daily dose.
Aren’t we lucky that something so delicious is also so good for you? Berries are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, which help our bodies repair and protect our cells when we’re stressed. And one recent study found that vitamin C might help prevent and reduce feelings of anxiety. Score.
See? We TOLD you avocados were magic. These creamy, dreamy fruits are high in vitamin B6, which helps your body produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin. Plus, they also come loaded with heart-healthy fats, which also help reduce anxiety and stress.
Another superfood we can’t get enough of? Almonds. Not only are they packed with fibre and healthy fat, almonds are also a great source of magnesium – a crucial nutrient that helps regulate your serotonin levels and prevent anxiety. You can get 19% of your daily magnesium dose from just 12 almonds. Get snacking!
Yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles, miso…what do they all have in common? These fermented foods all contain probiotics, which have been shown to help reduce anxiety. When you’re shopping for these magical ingredients, just make sure they list “live cultures” on the label – so you’re getting all the good stuff.
Dark leafy greens
Okay, so it’s probably no surprise that kale and spinach are incredibly good for you. But you might be surprised to find they can also boost your mood. It’s all thanks to their healthy dose of beta-carotene and vitamin E, which boost antioxidant levels and keep your brain running smoothly.
If you’re not following a vegetarian diet, you should definitely make sure you eat salmon or another fatty fish at least once a week. That way, you’ll be getting a good dose of omega-3s, which help keep anxiety at bay by improving brain functions.
Whenever you can, you should work to replace processed carbs like white bread and pasta with whole-grain alternatives. Why? Whole grains contain complex carbs, which your body takes more time to process – meaning you get a steadier source of energy, and fewer ups and downs for your serotonin levels.
Alright, ready to start that grocery list? Stocking your fridge and cupboards with the right foods means you’re setting yourself up for success. If you don’t have much time to cook, try setting aside your Sunday afternoons to prep your week’s meals in advance – so you’re making it easy for your future self to eat foods that make you feel good, inside and out.
Did we miss your favourite anxiety reducing ingredient? Let us know! Just drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.