For many people, anxiety is something we face on a daily basis. We are also no strangers to the fact that food affects how we feel. In recent years, there have been a lot of studies linking the gut to mood and anxiety levels—and how food plays a role.
The great thing about this correlation is that through careful food choices, we can help improve our moods and reduce anxiety levels. Here is what you should aim to send down your GI tracks to help you reduce symptoms of anxiety—magnesium, zinc, fatty foods, foods high in antioxidants and potassium.
How to Manage Anxiety with FoodBelow are five key foods that contain these elements that will actively help you with anxiety maintenance.
Tasty, but also really good for you, salmon contains a high amount of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA. Lack of vitamin D can contribute to mood disorders, so salmon is a great way to naturally supplement vitamin D. Fatty acids promote healthy brain function and helps regulate neurotransmitters like serotonin, which induces relaxation and provides a calming effect. EPA and DHA also have bonus benefits like improved cognitive function and mental health.
Get it done: Swap meat with wild-caught salmon.
Reaching for chocolate when you are anxious is almost intrinsic—and when done mindfully and in moderation, it can actually be beneficial. We suggest dark—70% cocoa or higher—which works wonders for stress reduction and is naturally lower in sugar than the popular milk chocolate version.
Chocolate induces serotonin in the brain and dark chocolate has a high amount of antioxidants, which help fight inflammation and cell death. Dark chocolate is also a good source of magnesium, which is widely known to contribute to the reduction of depression.
Get it done: Swap dessert with dark chocolate with a sprinkle of sea salt to satiate your sweet tooth.
Chamomile is a golden herb when it comes to dealing with anxiety. Consumed in extract form or used to make tea, chamomile is high in antioxidants and induces a calm, relaxed feeling which is great for an anxious person. Chamomile is so soothing that it is often consumed before bed as a sleep aid.
Get it done: Swap your morning coffee for chamomile tea to relax you at the start of your day.
Just in case you need another reason to love avocados! Not only is this fruit tasty and high in healthy fats, avocados also contain the right combination of vitamin B6 and magnesium, which ignites serotonin production in the brain, resulting in positive influences to mood levels.
Get it done: Swap ice cream for frozen banana & avocado nice cream.
Pumpkin seeds are great anti-anxiety snacks because they contain an excellent amount of potassium. Potassium regulates electrolyte balance and helps to manage blood pressure, thereby reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety. In addition to potassium, pumpkin seeds are also a good source of zinc, which is largely stored in the region within the brain that is involved with emotions. A lack of zinc can definitely impact mood negatively.
Get it done: Swap peanuts and other snacks with pumpkin seeds.