Research Shows These Five Foods May Help Reduce Anxiety
You probably have all of these in your fridge already.
Everyone gets anxious. When there's a problem at work, when managing a busy schedule or before making an important decision, anxiety tends to rear its ugly head. Although you should always follow your doctor’s recommendations to help fight anxiety, what you eat might also make a difference in managing your stress at home. Here are 5 foods you can add to your healthy diet that are shown to help fight anxiety.
One quarter of an avocado is a good source of the B-vitamin folate. This vitamin helps your body produce the chemical dopamine, which helps you keep calm. Other foods brimming with folate include beans, lentils, spinach, asparagus, and edamame.
Studies have linked consumption of dark chocolate to lower levels of stress-related hormones. In addition, the small amount of added sugar in dark chocolate also stimulates the feel good hormone serotonin. Munching on one ounce of dark chocolate a day can give you a one-two punch against anxiety.
Fatty fish like salmon help manage adrenalin levels. This neurotransmitter is released when your body faces stress or stressors. Research has found that the type of fat called eicosapentaenoic acid (or EPA) found in fatty fish can help improve the ability to handle stress. Other fatty fish you can enjoy include tuna, herring, anchovies, and sardines.
Symptoms of anxiety often present as tummy trouble – think stomach ache or diarrhea. Research is starting to unveil the relationship between our gut and the signals it sends to the brain. There are also several positive research studies examining the relationship between anxiety and probiotics, though more research is needed. Enjoying foods with probiotics like Greek yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi may be able to help.
Studies have shown that both the antioxidant vitamin C and the flavonoids found in blueberries can help with anxiety. One cup of blueberries provides 24-percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. A 2015 study concluded that a diet rich in vitamin C may be helpful to compliment treatment for anxiety. In addition, a 2017 study published in Nutrients found that wild blueberries filled with flavonoids may help boost mood in young adults and kids. Although more research is needed, adding blueberries to fro yo, over a bed of greens, or in muffins is a delicious way to get them into your diet.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.