Fighting anxiety often requires changing habits, one of the most important of which is diet. You can control this disorder without medication, although you will have to make big changes in your life.
In this article I will mention 15 foods to reduce anxiety, inexpensive and that you can find in any supermarket. By themselves they will not cure it although they will make a great contribution to the sum of changes that you can make in your life.
Before starting, keep in mind that there are several treatments for anxiety, which can be supplemented with food; practice sports, psychological therapy, relaxation techniques and medication -for severe cases-.
Beneficial foods for anxiety
1-Blue fish – Omega 3 fatty acids
In an Ohio University study, participants who were given omega-3 fatty acid showed 20% less anxiety compared to those given placebo.
They are rich in vitamins and phytonutrients, containing a wide variety of antioxidants important to reduce stress.
Chamomile has been used for its natural properties for hundreds of years, although its interest has recently been renewed.
A 2009 study found a small improvement in generalized anxiety in people who were treated with chamomile extract.
Whole grain foods like amaranth, barley, or brown rice have several benefits for anxiety:
- They are rich in magnesium: magnesium deficiency can cause anxiety
- They contain tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in inhibiting anger or aggression
- They reduce hunger and produce energy
Visit here a list of foods rich in serotonin.
Seaweed is a good alternative to whole grains for people who are sensitive to gluten.
They are rich in nutrients and high in magnesium and tryptophan.
It is a food very rich in vitamin B6, potassium and folic acid.
It is also rich in tryptophan, the amino acid that converts to serotonin, an amino acid that promotes relaxation and well-being.
Recent research by a mental health charity called MIND confirmed that people with depression felt better after eating a banana.
It also improves anemia and blood pressure.
Foods rich in vitamin B2 or riboflavin like this dried fruit are also useful for improving nervous problems such as insomnia, anxiety or stress.
They also have benefits for bones, teeth, cancer prevention, blood pressure and as a cosmetic (almond oil).
Dark chocolate -without added sugars or milk- is a good food to reduce anxiety and stress.
Reduces cortisol, a hormone that causes symptoms of anxiety and stress, and improves mood.
Probiotic bacteria that live in the intestines promote proper gastrointestinal function.
In a 2011 study, feeding probiotic yogurt foods to mice was found to reduce behaviors associated with stress, anxiety, and depression.
The others are a good way to increase zinc levels.
Research linked a zinc imbalance to anxiety.
This mineral is responsible for proper neurotransmitter function in neurons and for adaptation to stress.
The benefit of lettuce in anxiety is due to lactucin, a compound that has a calming and relaxing effect, also helping in cases of insomnia.
It is found in greater quantities on the stem of the plant and when they are fresh.
The brain needs vitamin B to function properly. When you lack it, you may experience confusion, irritability, or anxiety.
Besides eggs, other foods rich in vitamin B are pork or beef.
13-Foods high in tryptophan
The amino acid tryptophan can reduce anxiety and promote better sleep.
Examples of foods with tryptophan are: chicken, cheese, soy products, eggs, tofu, turkey, nuts, milk, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds.
In addition to stimulating the feeling of fullness, lentils are high in magnesium and calcium, minerals that promote relaxation.
On the other hand, it increases the production of serotonin, which reduces anxiety and improves mood and well-being.
Lean meat (chicken, turkey, rabbit) is especially rich in tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin.
In addition, it has carbohydrates necessary for the brain to be able to absorb tryptophan.
Vitamin B fights anxiety by affecting the production of neurotransmitters in your brain.
Some sources of vitamin B are:
- Pantothenic acid: eggs, yeast, legumes
- Biotin: peanuts, cauliflower, mushrooms
- Riboflavin: liver, cottage cheese
- Folate: green leafy vegetables, seeds, citrus
- B-6: cereal grains, legumes
- B-12: salmon, eggs, cheese
- Niacin: meat, wheat, mushrooms.
Other eating habits to follow
- Eat a breakfast that includes protein: having protein for breakfast will allow you to feel full for longer and keep your sugar levels stable to have energy at the beginning of the day
- Drink lots of water: dehydration can affect your mood
- Avoid alcohol: the immediate effect of alcohol is calming, but when processed it can cause anxiety and sleep problems
- Limit or avoid caffeine: Caffeinated drinks can make you feel excited or nervous and interfere with sleep
- Take light dinners to sleep well. Avoid overeating or foods rich in fat
- Eat 4-5 times a day and eat a balanced diet (the Mediterranean diet is fine).
Finally, pay attention to how some foods feel to you. The effect of each food is different in each person; those that may benefit some people, may harm you.
If with changes in habits such as playing sports, learning relaxation techniques or changing your diet you do not improve, you may have to go to a professional to assess your case.
What foods have you used for anxiety? I am interested in your opinion. Thank you!