There may not be a diet that makes you immune to stress and anxiety. But some foods can have a calming and relaxing effect on you.
Trying to push through and make things work when you feel anxious or stressed can be tough. It can be exhausting and it can feel never-ending. While there may not be a particular diet or food that can cure what you’re feeling, certain types of food could help ease the feeling and make you feel better. Although they certainly cannot be counted as a treatment, a few additions and subtractions to your diet can help in uplifting your mood and make you feel better. Here’s what you should have more of when you feel anxiety or stress.
One of the things you should add to your meals is foods that are great sources of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, according to Mayo Clinic. They will help in increasing the level of serotonin in your brain, and you are likely to feel calmer and more relaxed as an effect. An easy way to include more complex carbohydrates in your meals is by adding oatmeal, whole-grain bread or whole-grain cereals to your breakfast, or having some quinoa with your meal. Make sure you don’t give in to your cravings and consume sugary food or drinks. They are simple carbohydrates that can have a negative effect.
Fatty fish like salmon can make great additions to your meals to improve your mood. A study found that omega-3 can have favorable effects on anxiety, thus, allowing you to enjoy its calming properties. The study also pointed out that people in countries with higher consumption of fish in their diet were less likely to develop symptoms of depression and other mental health issues.
A great addition to your spice cabinet would be turmeric. It offers a number of benefits, thanks to the compound curcumin which is found in this spice. Research has also found that it can prevent anxiety and stress, and improve the health of your brain and body. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can help ease your anxiety symptoms. However, if your body is not used to it, it would be best to add little amounts of it to your food and see whether it’s triggering problems with digestion.
If you tend to enjoy sipping on a hot beverage early in the morning to kick-start your day or while you work, it would be best to have a soothing cup of chamomile tea that is said to have many benefits. This herb may be able to put you at ease, as one study found that chamomile can produce an antidepressant effect. Therefore, when you feel uneasy or even depressed, chamomile could be the answer to relax your nerves.
Instead of reaching out for cupcakes, doughnuts or other unhealthy sources of sugar, you can have some dark chocolate when you feel the need for something sweet but not too sweet. Your body is likely to go through a number of changes when you’re under extreme levels of stress, due to hormonal changes. But the positive impact of dark chocolate could help in bringing your body’s metabolism and other hormonal changes back to normal levels, as one study found.
Consuming a bit of yogurt regularly can also help you manage your stress levels better. Particularly yogurt that is enhanced with bioactive components or probiotic yogurt can act against the negative effects of stress. So maybe start your day with a yogurt smoothie or swap your sugary snack for a bowl of yogurt-y goodness.
One of the reasons that could trigger depression is a deficiency of B vitamins (folic acid and B12) in your body, according to Everyday Health.com. Increasing the intake of foods that are rich in vitamin B could help in regulating your mood and preventing anxiety. If you eat meat, you can consume healthy portions of beef, chicken, and pork. You can also increase your vitamin B intake by adding more leafy greens and legumes to your diet. Nuts, eggs, and citrus fruits are also great sources.
Some of the other nutrients you can focus on are zinc and magnesium, as they too can help in improving your anxiety and stress. To add good sources of zinc to your diet, stock up on oysters, kale, broccoli, legumes and nuts and incorporate them into your meals. If you want to increase your magnesium intake, add more fish, avocado and dark leafy green veggies to your meals.
It’s best to avoid sugar or processed foods as they can spike your anxiety or stress levels. The hidden sugar that’s present in the food you consume can increase your symptoms of anxiety. It’s best to switch to natural sources of sugar like fruit or dry fruits. Also, ensure to cut back on caffeine or consumption of alcohol to improve your symptoms of anxiety. Also, a number of sodas and drinks that you consume have high sugar content. It would be best to stick to plain drinking water or freshly squeezed juice with no sugar as an alternative.