Foods to Relieve Anxiety and Stress

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Some foods have nutrients that can reduce anxiety. And we all enjoy eating! Next time you are out grocery shopping (Please practice social distancing, The fewer cars in a parking lot the better. Don’t stand in a line next to someone, please. Be safe), you might pick up a few of these. 

The need to manage stress at this time is important. Why not put something good into your body and improve your mood. These are also considered super foods loaded with essential vitamins and minerals that your body requires. 

Eating a healthy diet is beneficial daily. Having a deficiency in any vitamin or mineral leads to health issues. 

Nutrients We Need 

Vitamin A – an antioxidant, fat soluble (stored in our body). 

All Vitaman B – (B-complex) needed for healthy nervous system. 

Vitamin C – also an antioxidant, but water soluble (not stored in the body) so it must be replenished. 

*Oxidative damage to our nervous system can increase anxiety. Intake of Vitamin C can help prevent this. Reference: Healthline Try This 25 Supplements for Anxiety accessed 04/12/2020

Vitamin D – You’ve heard how people start to feel blue (I mean their mood) when there is no sunshine. Vitamin D is absorbed into our skin from the sun. Studies have shown the importance it plays with our moods. 

Vitamin E – is an antioxidant, fat soluble. During stress and anxiety usage is increased. This vitamin may help repair damage cells. 

Fish Oil – We all know this is high in Omega-3 fatty acids that is an antioxidant (similarity here?).  

Magnesium – is a mineral that is contained in every cell and needed for cells to function. It is found in the earth, sea, plants and animals. Also known as the calming mineral. 

Studies have shown Magnesium to be good for anxiety and depression. Taking a supplement may be helpful to increase serotonin if you feel you are not getting enough through your diet. There are many foods with good amounts of Magnesium. 

Benefits include helping to maintain our normal nerve and muscle function. The support of a healthy immune system. Also helps to adjust our blood glucose levels.  

Foods for Anxiety/Stress 

  1. Celery – contains apigenin and phthalide which studies have shown lowers blood pressure. Also contains tryptophan a protein used to make serotonin a sleep and mood hormone. Vitamin C, B vitamins and Folate. Used raw or cooked. 
  1. Swiss Chard – is high in Magnesium, and with calcium working together as the “calming minerals”. Also includes Vitamin C and Folate. 
  1. Green Beans – contains B vitamins and folate, that may help prevent depression. A deficiency in B vitamins can cause fatigue, anxiety, depression and insomnia. (Support local farmers market if possible and buy fresh.) 
  1. Turkey – we all know how turkey contains the protein, tryptophan, that can help induce sleep after that Thanksgiving dinner. This protein helps our body produce serotonin. Turkey also contains the zinc that is needed in this process, that makes us feel good. 
  1. Dark Chocolate – “food of the gods” with high antioxidant content. Who hasn’t craved dark chocolate, it makes us feel good! And it is good to know the cacao bean is a super-food full of nutrients. With magnesium, vitamins B3 and B5, also zinc. Purchase good quality dark chocolate of 70% cocoa solids, nuts increase benefits. Enjoy! (In moderation)
  1. Spinach – high in calcium and magnesium, the calming minerals. Good source of folate. Best steamed. 
  1. Currants – contain Vitamin C and B vitamins which together help adrenal function giving us the ability to cope in stressful situations. Iron also helps in the production of serotonin, supporting a healthy sleep pattern. The berries freeze well. Use to compliment meat dishes and desserts. 
  1. Trout – Omega 3-fatty acids are needed to regulate serotonin and dopamine. It is recommended to eat 1-2 servings of oily fish per week. Also contains B vitamins and vitamin D. Is said to not have a strong fishy flavor. Can be bought fresh or smoked. 
  1. Potatoes – rich in minerals for effective brain and muscle function. Vitamin B6 provides the neurotransmitter GABA to help us cope with stress. The most nutrients and fiber are just under the skins. New potatoes with their skins provide the most nutrients. 
  1. Boy Choy – aids with liver detoxification which stress can attribute to. Also high in Vitamin A. Usually used in stir-fries or soups. 
  1. Molasses – contains the “calming minerals” calcium and magnesium which gives the ability to handle stress. Also B vitamins. Use as a sugar substitute. 
  1. Brown Basmati Rice – is a longer grain with a fragrance. We can include carbohydrates; it releases into our bloodstream slowly providing energy levels longer. It contains B vitamins and magnesium a calming mineral. It does not store as long as white. 
  1.  Cinnamon – causes a chemical reaction that produces glyogen stored in our muscles and liver for times when we are under great stress. Buy fresh in stick form. 

Herbal Teas 

What could be better than a cup of hot herbal tea to enjoy and relax. Here are a few to choose. 

  1. Chamomile – used for thousands of years as a traditional herb in calming anxiety. (Who hasn’t tried chamomile tea?) Can be found as several daisy-like flowers. It contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which binds to some receptors in our brain decreasing anxiety and bringing on sleep. This also helps with insomnia. It relaxes our muscles and reduces irritability.  

*Warning; It is in the same family as ragweed, so avoid if you are allergic to this. 

  1. Green Tea – Contains L-theanine an amino acid that promotes relaxation and helps us unwind. Green tea has been said to be the healthiest drink. It also improves brain function. It does contain some caffeine so you may not want to use for sleep.
  1. Lavender – Many have used this as aromatherapy. The flowers have been used for centuries to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia. It can be used in teas and still get the aromatherapy, bonus. 
  1. Lemon Balm – Originally from Europe, North Africa and West Asia has now expanded around the world. May be used to reduce nervousness and excited feelings. 
  1. Valerain – Originally from Asia and Europe. It has been used for centuries to promote tranquility and improve sleep. The root is harvested containing many nutrients that reduce anxiety. It can be found as a tea. 

Herbs 

  1. Cilantro – (AKA Chinese Parsley) are the leaves of the coriander plant, so the whole plant is used. Cilantro is helpful in eliminating toxic metals from our body. A build-up may be associated with causing anxiety, depression and insomnia.  

Also contains folate. A study has shown it calms nerves and helps sleep, having sedative substances. Cilantro is an herb better bought fresh and eaten raw. This is one you can grow in a small pot on your windowsill. 

  1. Ashwagandha – An ayurvedic herb. It is an evergreen shrub bearing orange-red fruit. The roots and fruit have been used in medicine for hundreds of years. It grows in India, the Middle East and areas of Africa. 

It possibly has a calming effect in relieving anxiety. *Not for pregnant women. *

*Warning; check into possible side effects when using herbs. They may contradict with medications. 

  1. Bacopa – It is fat soluble and mainly taken with food. Studies show it is helpful in reducing the stress hormone, cortisol. More effective when combined with Ashwagandha. 

*Warning; Check with your doctor before using herbs or supplements. They may contradict with your medication. 

Disclaimer: No endorsements for pay or otherwise are included in this blog. This website is for informational purposes and not for diagnosis.

References:  

100 Best Foods to Stay Young  https://onlybooks.org/100-best-foods-to-stay-young

https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/supplements-for-anxiety#vitamins-and-other-dietary-supplements accessed 04/12/2020

Other sites:  

https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/ accessed 04/12/2020

https://www.medicalmedium.com/blog/celery-juice accessed 04/12/2020

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277627#benefits accessed 04/12/2020

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