When it comes to managing stress as well as anxiety, the foods that you eat play an important part alleviating some of the symptoms. Research has found that diets rich in lean protein, fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains are often beneficial to those suffering from stress and anxiety. It is worth mentioning that a diet alone cannot treat anxiety and stress.
In addition to this, if the symptoms persist for more than six months you may have generalised anxiety disorder and should make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. Warning signs include feeling tense and fearful, worrying excessively, irritability, inability to concentrate or focus, relationship difficulties, heart palpitations and a tight chest. Therapy, medication and lifestyle changes can assist in managing this condition.
Five Foods That Reduce Anxiety
Fish: The omega-3 found in fish has been found to boost cognitive function and improve mental health. However, omega-6 fatty acids can have the opposite effect in increasing the probability of developing mood disorders when consumed in excess.
It is recommended that we should eat at least two servings of fish a week, with trout, salmon, sardines and mackerel being recommended due to their omega-3 content. In addition to their fatty acids, sardines and salmon also contain vitamin D which has been found to lessen the symptoms of stress and anxiety in addition to improving mood.
Eggs: This is another source of vitamin D and also contains protein. Protein plays an essential part in body development and growth. Eggs also contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that assists in the creation of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is responsible for regulating mood, improving memory and aiding sleep. Research also indicates that it can relieve anxiety and improve cognitive functioning.
Pumpkin seeds: These seeds are abundant in potassium which assists in regulating electrolyte balance and managing blood pressure. Potassium-rich foods have been found to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with stress and anxiety.
Pumpkin seeds also contain zinc, which is important for nerve and brain development. The areas of the brain responsible for storing zinc are also responsible for regulating emotions, and a zinc deficiency can therefore result in a negative mood.
Chocolate: Not that we’ve ever needed an excuse to eat chocolate! Research has found that chocolate can reduce stress and anxiety, with a 2014 study further supporting this. The study found that 40 grams of dark chocolate were able to reduce stress levels in women.
While additional research is still needed, it has been found that chocolate contains polyphenols, more specifically flavonoids, which can reduce cell death and neuroinflammation in the brain. Chocolate also includes high levels of tryptophan which is responsible for the development of serotonin in the body. When choosing chocolate, it’s important to look for something with that is low in fat and sugar while maintaining high levels of cocoa.
Yoghurt: The bacteria found in yoghurt has been found to have a positive impact on the brain. This is mostly due to the anti-inflammatory properties of yoghurt. Chronic inflammation has been found to be a contributor to stress, anxiety and even depression.
This piece is not in any way shape or form a complete list. In addition, there are a lot of other food options which can be incorporated into your diet to improve brain function and reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. To properly treat and manage the underlying cause of your stress and anxiety, we recommend seeing your doctor.
Would you like to learn more regarding the benefits of foods for your mental and physical health? If you do, then you should really check out our Specialised Nutrition Course. For more information, please follow this link.