Have you ever wondered if the foods we consume could have a substantial impact on anxiety whether it be, increasing or decreasing symptoms?
There have been several studies completed that have concluded that foods can reduce anxiety and improve our mood and overall well being which is why it’s important that we make it apart of our plan to achieve total wellness. There are specific food products that have been identified to help maintain a well-balanced diet to reduce stress and anxiety. Foods consisting of omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, tryptophan, Vitamin B and probiotics can all contribute to reducing stress and anxiety.
DELVING INTO FOODS THAT MATTER; COMBATING ANXIETY
Let’s get to the bottom of why these specific food types help to reduce anxiety and help us to live a long and healthy life.
Omega 3 polyunsaturated acids (PUFA’s) are present in fish oils (oily fish, sardines, salmon, chia seeds and walnuts. You can always take an omega 3 supplement instead of eating products containing fish oils)
There are 3 types of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, ALA, EPA and DHA and studies have shown that the fatty acid containing EPA is best for anxiety and stress.
Magnesium, a mineral and muscle relaxant that assists the nervous system with fear, restlessness and irritability. Whole wheat flour products, spinach, quinoa, avocado, almonds and cashews all have sources of magnesium in them.
Tryptophan the product typically found in turkey and triggers sleepiness after eating a big turkey dinner is also known to reduce anxiety and stress. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is a precursor to the brain’s neurotransmitter serotonin.
Lacking this amino acid in your brain can lead to mood disorders, anxiety, stress and depression. Foods consist of turkey, chicken, spinach, seeds, soy milk and nuts all contain tryptophan. You can also purchase it in supplement form.
Antioxidants fight against free radical damage, which helps us to stay healthy and live longer and is beneficial to reducing stress and anxiety. When our bodies are anxious and stressed it craves vitamin C to help repair and protect our cells. Blueberries are bursting with antioxidants and vitamin C. You can also reach for strawberries, kale, raspberries, goji berries and dark chocolate
Vitamin B plays
a crucial role in the combination of serotonin and has been shown to help with anxiety. Foods to consider to get your daily dose of vitamin B are whole grains (brown rice or barley), dairy products (eggs and cheese), dark leafy greens, avocado and almonds.
As you will see you can benefit from many of the same foods among these different groups and be fully powered to kick anxiety’s butt.
DOES PROBIOTICS REALLY HELP REDUCE STRESS AND ANXIETY? YOU BE THE JUDGE
I’ve saved this particular one for last and there is a reason for that. I as I’m sure many of you too question, Does probiotics really help to reduce stress and anxiety?
Well, the truth is the jury is still out on whether probiotics really does help to reduce stress and anxiety, however one study completed published in the PoLs One Journal concluded that consuming probiotics with a specific type of bacteria known as lactobacillus rhamnosus in-fact does reduce anxiety and stress.
Most medical studies completed have been with rodents where there has been evidence that probiotics reduces stresses and inflammation however there isn’t enough studies completed to confidently conclude that probiotics contributes to reducing anxiety in humans.
There are however many other great healthy reasons why you should consume probiotics. Consuming probiotics helps our digestive system and keeps our gut happy.
Incorporating probiotics into my diet is a must for me. In order to work toward overall wellness, we should be consuming a minimum 5 – 10 billion colony-forming units per day. Sounds like a lot but there are a billion or more in a single serving of probiotic products. Taking 1 – 2 supplements a day can also give you the 5 -10 billion units.
Here’s a list of foods you can incorporate into your diet to get your daily dose of probiotics
- Yogurt – however, you must be cautious when purchasing yogurt as you will not get the affects of probiotics with all yogurt. Be sure the label reads “live active cultures” or “good source of probiotics” to get the full affect. Some sources of yogurt are heated after fermentation and can kill the live active cultures therefore, eliminating the benefit of probiotic consumption. Best yogurts are the Greek or plain version
Tip: Swap milk out in your cereal for yogurt
- Dark Chocolate – ensure the coco percentage is 70% or higher to get the affects of probiotic through dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has been shown to increase serotonin levels in our brain which may help reduce stress and anxiety
- Fermented cheeses such as feta, gouda and cheddar are all made from lactic acid culture and milk left to ferment for weeks at a time
- Other foods containing probiotics consist of sauerkraut, Kombucha tea and kefir.
- If you don’t consume a lot of products that contain probiotics you may want to consider a probiotic supplement
Whether you agree that probiotics helps to reduce anxiety and stress there’s no denying that consuming probiotic foods maintains our gut health and contributes to our overall health and wellness from the inside. Get your daily dose of probiotics and if it helps with your anxiety and stress that’s an added bonus.
FOODS TO AVOID IF YOU SUFFER FROM ANXIETY AND STRESS
There’s no doubt about it, as much as food can be good for us there is also those foods that we consume that can increase our anxiety and stress levels. For most of us that have grown up on processed foods and artificial and refined sugars it can be a hard habit to break.
My recommendation is to slowly cut out these foods from your diet. The minute you tell yourself that you can’t have the processed food or artificial sugar, the more you crave it. If you’re one of those people who can cut it all out cold turkey, go for it! But for me, I have to have a plan in place to reduce these unhealthy substances from my diet and implement alternatives so that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on them.
5 FOODS TO AVOID THAT CAUSE ANXIETY
- 1 Fried Foods
- 2 Caffeine
- 3 Alcohol
- 4 Processed foods
- 5 Soda & Fruit Juice
Eliminating these products from your diet can reduce anxiety symptoms and allow you to feel much healthier and in control of your wellness.
Let me know your thoughts on consuming particular foods that decrease or increase your symptoms.