Eating healthy is one of the best ways to combat common anxiety and stress, food is not the only answer but it’s a good starting point and can boost your mood. Many of these foods may not be your idea of comfort food, but they can have very comforting effects. These foods have also shown to be able to help stabilize your body’s stress hormone. To reduce anxiety make it a habit to start eating foods that help calm anxiety, natural anti-anxiety foods just like the ones below.
Never forget to stay hydrated, water is the most important substance we consume to sustain our bodies. hydration has an influence on stress and anxiety. Being dehydrated can cause stress and vise-verse.
Health authorities commonly recommend the 8×8 rule, eight 8-ounce glasses a day. To get a better idea of what amount of water you should drink, check out this Hydration Calculator.
“Studies have shown that being just half a liter dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels,” says Amanda Carlson, RD, director of performance nutrition at Athletes’ Performance, a trainer of world-class athletes.“Cortisol is one of those stress hormones. Staying in a good hydrated status can keep your stress levels down. When you don’t give your body the fluids it needs, you’re putting stress on it, and it’s going to respond to that.” – Water and Stress Reduction
Eat at least three whole-grain foods a day. All carbs produce the calm-inducing hormone serotonin. Thick cut old fashioned oats require more cooking time, but their calming effect will last longer than instant oatmeal. Stay away from processed carbs as they don’t give you lasting energy, which could lower your blood sugar levels and leave you feeling lethargic. It’s best to eat complex carbs, which take a longer time to digest and help your body keep stable blood sugar levels.
Health experts advise everyone – men and women, young and old – that grains are a healthy necessity in every diet, and that it’s important to eat at least half our grains as “whole grains.”
Almonds Pistachios and Walnuts
Munch it over with a variety of some raw nuts and seeds, an awesome source of healthy fats, rich in B2 vitamins, vitamin E, zinc and magnesium. Eating just a few nuts and seeds daily can help lower cholesterol, ease inflammation, and safeguard you against the side effects of stress.
Other healthy nuts and seeds also include:
- Brazil nuts
- Pine nuts
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sesame Seeds, Tahini (ground sesame seed paste)
Celery and Carrot Sticks
Simply crunching on these raw vegetables can ease stress and ward off tension. Crunchy foods can help relieve anxiety and stress by putting tight jaw muscles to work. Try topping your celery with organic nut butters like almond butter, sunflower seed butter and walnut butter. Other crunchy and beneficial snacks include:
- Apple slices (with nut butter)
- Soy Nuts
- Roasted chickpeas
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Frozen Grapes
Milk and Kefir Milk
Drinking a glass of milk before bedtime has been known to bring on a more restful sleep. Milk also has B vitamins, protein, vitamin D, and is good for relieving tense muscles.
Kefir milk is great for anxiety. Drinking one cup a day can keep you feeling calm. Dr. Oz even recommends it as the best superfood for anxiety.
This milk is different from regular milk because it’s fermented with probiotic kefir grains. Kefir milk is also loaded with tryptophan – an amino acid that also helps raise serotonin levels in the brain – which can help reduce anxious feelings. –Top Superfoods to Boost Your Mood
One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), Eating 4 ounces at least three times a week will help keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you’re feeling tense. Fatty acids also help protect against heart disease, depression, and PMS.
Several studies show that people who took omega-3 fatty acids in addition to prescription antidepressants had a greater improvement in symptoms than those who took antidepressants alone. Other studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acid intake helps protect against postpartum depression, among other benefits. – University of Maryland Medical Center
Other Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids include supplements and other fatty fish like tuna, lake trout, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils.
Oranges and Citrus Fruits
Vitamin C, a stress-busting antioxidant, known to lower blood pressure and help control your body’s stress hormone. Eating a whole orange or some juice will give you a nice burst of some C and strengthen your body’s immune system.
Oranges are packed with vitamin C, which brings high stress hormones back to normal levels more quickly. Vitamin C also helps lower blood pressure. Blood pressure can rise in response to stressful situations. Eat an orange as a snack on the days when you anticipate extra stress at home or at work. –Top Superfoods to Boost Your Mood
This superfood is known for its high levels of antioxidants, these antioxidants boost your immune system and help your brain produce dopamine, which has a critical connection to your mood.
“Research has also shown that blueberry eaters experience a boost in natural killer cells, ‘a type of white blood cell that plays a vital role in immunity, critical for countering stress,’ says Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health’s contributing nutrition editor.”
Avocados and Bananas
Both these fruits are loaded with B vitamins and potassium, a vital mineral for keeping blood pressure low. Half an avocado has more potassium than a medium-sized banana. Avocados also pack vitamin E and folate.
“Those who ate half an avocado with their standard lunch reported being 40 percent less hungry three hours after their meal, and 28 percent less hungry at the five-hour mark compared to those who did not eat avocado for lunch. The study also found that avocados appear helpful for regulating blood sugar levels. This combination of satiety and blood-sugar regulation can help keep your mood steady, even in times of stress.” – The Many Health Benefits of Avocado
Packs loads of nutritious antioxidants, and far more flavonoids than milk or white chocolate. Flavonoids are the antioxidant compounds that give it its bittersweet taste and promote a variety of cardiovascular benefits. Consume dark chocolate with other antioxidant-rich solid fruits, such as pomegranate or acai, as another way to boost its health potential.
According to research published in 2009 in the journal “Proteome Research” and reported by “The Huffington Post”, eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate daily for two weeks is associated with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. “Psychology Today” even reports pregnant women who eat more chocolate during pregnancy give birth to more stress-free babies.
An important superfood to know about if you are prone to mood swings. Asparagus has a unique combination of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant nutrients,
“If you’re prone to mood swings, asparagus is a must-have vegetable in your diet. It’s packed with folic acid; low levels of this nutrient have been linked to depression. Just one cup of asparagus has 66% of your daily value of folic acid.” –Top Superfoods to Boost Your Mood
Spinach and Other Leafy Greens
Eating dark leafy greens protects yourself against inflammatory problems, oxidative stress-related problems, cardiovascular problems, bone problems, and cancers at the same time. Full of magnesium, a mineral known to help regulate the body’s stress hormone cortisol levels and create feelings of well-being. Too little magnesium may trigger headaches and fatigue.
“Dark leafy greens like spinach are also rich in folate, which helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine.” – 10 Superfoods for Stress Relief
Other sources of magnesium and folate include:
- Any other leafy green vegetables
- cooked soy beans, navy beans, black beans
A very powerful superfood that grows way up in the Peruvian Andes, said to increase strength and endurance, it’s been used for thousands of years. Today maca is most commonly consumed in powder or pill form by athletes or bodybuilders and the average health seeker. In Peru, maca root gets used in cookies, cakes, and drinks.
Maca benefits overall health and feeling of well-being – it provides the body with over 20 different fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12 and B1 & B2, vitamin C as well as many minerals, essential amino acids, and enzymes.
Maca can support the nervous system, digestive system, reproductive system and help to reduce adrenal stress to bring our bodies back into perfect balance.
While you might want to stay away from caffeinated tea there are some teas and herbs that can be very relaxing and stress reducing.
In the Asian mountain regions of Asia, teas have been used for millennia to help with relaxation, in rituals (like spiritual and religious ceremonies), for nourishment, and as healing medicine. – Best Teas for Stress and Anxiety
Known for its amino acid tryptophan found in turkey which some researchers believe promotes calmness and even tiredness. Tryptophan signals the brain to release the feel-good calming chemical serotonin, but there is debate over whether tryptophan from food effectively crosses the blood-brain barrier enough to make a dramatic difference.
Other tryptophan-rich foods include:
- Milk or Cheese
- Oats or Soy
- Nuts or Peanut Butter