Every person has gone through a phase of anxiety at least once in their life. Anxiety is a constant feeling of nervousness, panic, uneasiness, and restlessness. A normal person goes through these feelings normally however, when these symptoms begin to occur more than usual and start to affect your normal life then it is termed as an anxiety disorder. As per the National Institute of Mental Health, an approximate of 30% Americans have felt anxious in their lifetime and according to the data collected in 2017, over 284 million population of the world is suffering from anxiety. These facts give us a firm reason to believe that anxiety is one of the most widespread mental disorder in the world.
Anxiety is quite difficult to manage and most of the people opt for a therapist in order to subside the side effects that come along with this disorder. But little do they realize that minor alterations to their personal diet plans may be one of the most significant factors in their effective anxiety management regime.
Modifications to your food habits might seem like a heinous task but it is not as difficult as it may seem. Some tweaks here and there might even be beneficial for your overall lifestyle. So keep your pill bottles aside and let’s go through a list of food items that may help you minimize the symptoms of anxiety.
Yes, you read it right ‘CHOCOLATE’. A number of studies and researches have concluded that dark chocolate might actually help with reducing symptoms of anxiety. It is still not well understood as to how it acts in the body to produce this effect but some researchers suggest that chocolate contains tryptophan that the body utilizes to produce Serotonin; the happy hormone.
If you go looking for dark chocolate in the superstore, you should look for a label claim of 70% or more and about 1 to 3 grams of dark chocolate will be good enough.
Pro Tip: Replace your usual chocolates with dark chocolate!
Green tea is known to contain Theanine. This is an amino acid that is known to produce a calming effect and aid in the production of serotonin and dopamine. Green tea can be added to the daily diet and can also be replaced with other beverages such as tea, soft drinks or other alcoholic drinks. Just prepare a warm cup of green tea daily, sip it away and feel the calmness flow through you. I myself have tried this and it not only helps to create a soothing aura but is also good for healthy skin.
Pro Tip: Try chamomile green tea!
Vitamin C is needed by our bodies whenever we feel stressed so that it may restore the cells and provide protection to them. Small in size but blueberries are rich with vitamin C. They also contain antioxidants that aid in suppressing anxiety symptoms.
Whenever sugar levels in the body are reduced, the brain starts developing symptoms of depression and anxiety. People then tend to crave for sugary food which imbalances the bacteria in the gut and in return increase anxiety even more.
Pro Tip: Whenever you crave sugar, reach out for blueberries instead!
It is surprising to know that yogurt is not only good for the gut but is good for the brain as well. It is rich in a healthful microorganism such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. A number of researches have confirmed that yogurt actually produces a feeling of happiness in people. When looking for the best type of yogurt for your anxiety, keep an eye out for the simple plain version of the yogurt which contains plenty of probiotics.
Pro Tip: When having breakfast, replace milk in your cereal with yogurt. You can add blueberries as well or make a fruity yogurt as t home with blueberries.
Fatty fish are a rich source of Omega-3. Omega-3 belongs to the group of fatty acids that are known to improve cognitive and mental health functions. It results in the formation of two other fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These two fatty acids help in the regulation of neurotransmitters involved in the promotion of brain function. According to current studies, everyone should eat about two servings of fatty fish every week. Examples of fatty fish include Salmon, sardines, mackerel, etc.
Pro Tip: Why not replace chicken or meat with fish twice a week!
Seeds and Nuts
Zinc, magnesium, and potassium are two minerals that help in the development of a healthy brain. A major proportion of zinc is stored in the brain and hence lower levels of zinc in the body may affect the development of the brain and neurons. Magnesium helps in maintaining the levels of serotonin in the body. Seeds that are rich in potassium such as pumpkin seeds aids in stress. Banana is a fruit that is rich in potassium. Another source of food that is rich in magnesium includes almonds. Studies suggest that 12 almonds fulfill 19% of your daily requirement of magnesium.
Pro Tip: Munch on almonds and pumpkin seeds in the form of snacks. Try out dried banana chips. They are yum!
All in all, a healthy brain is a basic requirement to subside symptoms of anxiety. A healthy brain is equivalent to a healthy diet that is enriched with minerals and antioxidants, minimum quantities of sugar, salts, coffee, alcoholic beverages, and soft drinks. An easy replacement of some of your daily food items with those mentioned above will surely help you in dealing with anxiety and you might actually end up not needing medications anymore.