If you live a busy life, you probably have a pesky friend who just won’t leave you alone. This buddy keeps reappearing and making you feel uneasy every time, whether it is during breakfast, when your boss calls you for an update, when the paycheck is late, or even during a seemingly trivial activity like ordering food. This toxic friend is known as anxiety.
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It shows itself as – the fear of the unknown or excessively worrying about the outcome. The physical form of anxiety manifests itself as the sinking feeling in the stomach, high mental alertness, and increased heart rate. It is normal (and sometimes helpful) to feel anxious under certain circumstances, but if the feelings and the symptoms frequently occur in simple, low-stress situations, then it becomes an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety originates in the brain and its symptoms are manifested by the reactions in your body. Depending on the severity you may be advised professional treatment that includes medication and/or counseling.
Along with professional help, you can also manage this disorder with the right diet and exercise. There is a direct connection between your gut and brain; the nutrition you take can directly influence the brain chemistry, which in turn influences anxiety-related behavior. Most experts advise planning meals that have whole foods, vegetables, and fruits as well as avoiding processed foods. Here’s a list of natural foods that are rich in nutrients, to help you combat anxiety.
1. Oil-Rich Fish
Are you a fish lover? Then there is good news for you. The nutrients that fish contain, especially fish like salmon, are good for brain function. Nutrients like Omega 3 Fatty Acids and vitamin D regulate neurotransmitters or the happiness chemical (dopamine and serotonin). These have a calming effect on the brain, reduce inflammation, and prevent brain cell dysfunction (which leads to developing conditions like anxiety). Two to three servings of oil-rich fish will go a long way in managing anxiety.
2. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is rich in antioxidants and has calming properties. The former reduces inflammation, while the flavonoids present in the herb act as relaxants keeping your mind and body cool.
This yellow spice has an amazing compound called curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, which prevents damage to brain cells. It promotes brain health and acts as a preventive measure against anxiety. It also increases antioxidant levels in the blood, which are usually found to be lower in individuals with an anxiety disorder.
4. Dark Chocolate
All chocolate lovers can cheer, as dark chocolate is here to make you happy! Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that have a calming effect on the brain. It even has antioxidants that improve the blood flow to the brain, enhancing its ability to handle tension. Plus, eating dark chocolate may increase the levels of serotonin, the feel-good hormone that can relieve stress.
The humble egg is easily available and can be eaten anytime. It is a great source of vitamin D that keeps the muscles and bones strong as well as improve brain functioning. It also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps create serotonin.
You don’t have to feel guilty anymore when you eat creamy, home-made yogurt. This delicious snack has useful bacteria that benefit the gut and aid in reducing stress and anxiety.
7. Natural Supplements
Your diet may not include all the necessary nutrients for your body, as the cooking process kills most of it. You may opt for supplements such as Setu Fish Oil – a rich source of Omega 3 good fat, Setu Turme Rich – a concentrated and natural form of curcumin derived from turmeric, and YourGut a daily probiotic that keeps your gut happy and healthy. These naturally-extracted additions to your food are a powerhouse of nutrients that help combat anxiety.
Other Diet and Nutrition Tips To Overcome Anxiety
While this list of foods for anxiety relief is a good starting point, it is by no means comprehensive. In addition to consuming these foods, you should also consider adding other foods that help reduce anxiety and adopting certain dietary behaviors. Here are some tips to help you:
- If you are serious about increasing your intake of foods that reduce anxiety, your first step should be to eat a balanced diet with a wide variety of foods. Doing so will reduce the risk of nutritional deficiencies that can make you more vulnerable to stress and anxiety.
- To improve your intake of nutrients from foods that help with anxiety, you should overhaul your diet to focus on whole foods, primarily including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, legumes, fish, nuts, and seeds. This will ensure that you get all of the best foods for anxiety.
- To add to the previous tip, it should be pointed out that diets with a high volume of processed food have been linked to an increase in anxiety. If you consume a lot of processed foods, you won’t really enjoy much of the benefits of eating foods that reduce anxiety.
- In addition to eggs, which feature in our list of anti anxiety foods, there are other foods that calm nerves and relieve anxiety because they too contain tryptophan. Some such foods include turkey, cheese, pineapple, oats, and tofu.
- Although nuts did not feature in our list of foods that reduce anxiety, you probably already know that they are great for brain function. Nuts like almonds and walnuts are a good source of vitamin E and healthy fats.
- While fish and eggs are already good sources of protein you can also include other types of lean meats and dairy products to give you all the amino acids your body needs to produce neurotransmitters like serotonin.
Although most experts agree that it is best to get your nutrition from dietary sources, most of us struggle to get enough omega-3 from dietary sources alone. This makes it a good idea to boost intake with Setu Fish Oil supplements. Similarly, curcumin from turmeric is not easily absorbed in the body, so it would be best to get curcumin from a supplement like Setu’s Turme Rich.