By Helen Sanders, Chief Editor at HealthAmbition.com
Many of us suffer from stress and anxiety, it is not surprising considering the fast-paced lives we lead. Between rushing to meetings to rushing to the school run – we are always rushing!
What many of us don’t realize though is that by simply adjusting your diet, you could actually help lower your stress levels. The foods you eat play an important role in how effectively your nervous system operates and consequently how relaxed or stress you feel throughout the day.
Our typical Western diet filled with refined foods are generally classed as stress promoting foods as they negatively affect your blood sugar levels. Therefore, you need to try and add more anti-anxiety foods that can help you de-stress and generally improve your overall health.
With that said, let’s take a look at the top 5 foods for combating anxiety.
#1 – Avocado
Avocados are probably the most on-trend food with every fit celebrity celebrating the wonder of the avocado in all its filtered glory across Instagram. But there is a good reason why these little fruits have become so popular among the health conscious – because they are incredibly good for you!
They are an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fats that stabilize your blood sugar and have anti-inflammatory properties. They are packed with antioxidants and vitamins for a healthy brain all of which helps to reduce anxiety.
#2 – Salmon
There is significant research about the effect omega 3 fatty acids have on mental health. In fact, one study on a group of people who had attempted suicide in France showed that the only thing the group members had in common was incredibly low levels of omega 3. Therefore, it is clear to see just how important getting enough of these healthy fats is!
Salmon is, of course, rich in omega 3 fatty acids which have even been shown to lower cortisol levels, a hormone linked to both physical and mental stress.
Salmon is also an excellent source of vitamin D. When we are anxious, our vitamin D stores are depleted so keeping them stocked up can help beat anxiety.
#3 – Turkey
Turkey is a delicious meat that is somehow only thought about at one time of the year. Turkey is particularly high in the amino acid tryptophan that promotes serotonin production – the happy hormone! A small serving of turkey on a salad or slow digesting vegetables should lead to a feeling of calmness and relaxation after eating.
#4 – Dark Chocolate
I know, just the mention of chocolate has you feeling better already! But there’s a good reason why so many of us go weak at the knees for some chocolatey-deliciousness!
Dark chocolate (the 70% cocoa and above kind) is packed with antioxidants and is high in stress relieving magnesium. Of course, it is high in calories, so should be eaten in moderation.
#5 – Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds (the raw, unsalted variety) are packed with anti-anxiety nutrients like magnesium that helps to maintain a healthy nervous system within the human body. But they are also rich in vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin K, B vitamins and minerals including iron, copper, and zinc.
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent alternative to our typical go-to savory snacks like processed chips. They will help to lower your stress levels and keep cravings at bay!
Try adding some (if not all) of these anti-anxiety foods to your diet if you feel like your stress levels are getting out of control or if you are prone to panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive issues, or any other form of anxiety.
Also, a great way to lower stress is by adding exercise to your daily regime. A walk or a run can be a great way to clear your head and help you to feel relaxed.