Comfort food: can your nutrition help reduce anxiety?
Eating against anxiety: the right nutrition
Stress, restlessness, and anxiety can affect your stomach changing your appetite and eating habits. When stressed, some people are not hungry at all, while others crave comfort food like chocolate or ice cream. Perhaps you experienced one of those situations. Are there then foods that can be eaten in such cases and help alleviate anxiety disorders?
Which impact does nutrition have on an anxiety disorder?
It’s proven that a poor diet can promote mental illnesses. The foods you eat have a direct influence on:
- your immune system
- your oxidative processes
- your hormone balance
- your intestinal flora
- crucial brain functions
In addition, some foods promote inflammatory processes weakening the immune system. A nutrient deficiency can have numerous consequences for physical and mental well-being and hinder the production of important neurotransmitters in your brain.
The answer then is yes, an unhealthy diet can promote depression and anxiety disorders. On the other side, a healthy diet focusing on anxiety-regulating foods can alleviate mental disorders and lower their threat.
12 foods against anxiety disorders
These are the top 12 foods to fight anxiety disorders:
- Salmon: This fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help against inflammation and are good for your mental health.
- Eggs: Eggs are an excellent source of vitamin D and protein. At the same time, they contain high levels of the amino acid tryptophan, which promotes a healthy balance of the feel-good hormone serotonin.
- Brazilian nuts: Their high selenium content has a positive effect on the immune system, metabolic processes, and mood.
- Pumpkin seeds: These seeds are rich in potassium and zinc, which can regulate blood pressure and relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety.
- Turmeric and curry: These two spices can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. They are ideal soul foods
- Dark chocolate: milk chocolate could be yummier, but dark chocolate is a better choice. Its high cocoa content has a positive effect on anxiety disorders.
- Chamomile: Some studies suggest that the flavonoids in chamomile can reduce anxiety. The best way to take this herb is in the form of tea.
- Yogurt: This common food contains the healthy bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which can have a positive effect on your brain. At the same time, they can promote intestinal health. Intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome are suspected to promote stress and anxiety.
- Sauerkraut: This is a traditional side dish found in many German recipes. It is fermented, and it contains high levels of lactic acid bacteria that support good intestinal health, promoting a sense of well-being.
- Green tea: In high doses, green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can help with everyday stress, reducing states of tension.
- Sardines: Thanks to their high omega-3 fatty acid content, depression and anxiety can be soothed.
- Spinach: Too little magnesium in the organism is said to promote anxiety. Spinach is an excellent source of magnesium and can prevent states of mineral deficiency.
Are antioxidants important for anxiety-relieving nutrition?
Studies suggest anxiety to be related to low overall antioxidant levels in the organism. A diet rich in antioxidants is then recommended for fighting anxiety disorders. But which are the foods characterised by a high antioxidant content?
- Beans: Pinto beans and kidney beans.
- Fruit: Gala, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious apples, as well as plums and sweet cherries.
- Berries: Blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries, and currants
- Nuts: Walnuts and pecans.
- Vegetables: Artichokes, kale, spinach, carrots, and broccoli
- Spices: Turmeric, ginger, chili, basil, garlic, coriander, mint, cinnamon, sage, and rosemary.
Nutrition against anxiety: keep it in moderation!
One of the most famous quotes by the physician and natural philosopher Paracelsus is: “All things are poison and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes a thing not a poison”. His doctrine is almost 500 years old but has not lost any of its meaning. “More is better” is not entirely true when it comes to nutrition against anxiety. Some nutrients should not be overdosed, as sometimes high quantities can have a negative effect on your well-being.
The right foods to fight anxiety disorders: a helpful aid
Undoubtedly, it is not possible to treat a pronounced anxiety disorder with specific foods alone. The best way to treat an anxiety disorder is psychotherapy. However, the right diet can alleviate and prevent anxiety states. Food has an immense influence on our organism and mental health. Focus on a healthy diet with fresh, unprocessed products. Every now and then, a cheat day with a frozen pizza or a fast-food hamburger is clearly allowed and can be good for your mood. However, these foods should not rule your daily menu. Wholemeal bread with salmon and a piece of dark chocolate for dessert are as much satisfying as junk food and more beneficial for your physical and mental health.
In the long run, this will make you feel better!
Your Humanoo Team