Taking care of your Anxiety
Updated: May 21, 2022
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Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions, affecting approximately 7.6 percent of the global population.
It’s an umbrella term used to describe various disorders — such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and phobias — and is generally characterized by constant feelings of tension, worry, and nervousness.
In many cases, medication is often required as a main course of treatment. Though, there are holistic strategies you can also use to help reduce anxiety symptoms.
Additionally, there are some foods you can eat that may help support brain function and lower the severity of your symptoms, mostly due to their brain-boosting properties.
Salmon can be beneficial for reducing anxiety.
It contains nutrients that promote brain health, including vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids. It is believed these fatty acids may reduce inflammation and prevent brain cell dysfunction that is common in people with anxiety.
This may also support your brain’s ability to adapt to changes, allowing you to better handle stressors that trigger anxiety symptoms.
Vitamin D has also been studied for the positive effects in reducing anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Chamomile is an herb that may help reduce anxiety.
It contains both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may help lower inflammation associated with anxiety.
Chamomile is believed to help regulate neurotransmitters related to mood such as serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
Turmeric is a spice that contains curcumin a compound studied for its role in promoting brain health and preventing anxiety disorders.
Known for its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin may help to prevent damage to brain cells related to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. To increase curcumin absorption, try pairing it with black pepper.
Dark chocolate contains flavonols, such as epicatechin and catechin, which are plant compounds that act as antioxidants.
Some research suggests that the flavonols found in dark chocolate may benefit brain function and have neuroprotective effects. In particular, flavonols may increase blood flow to the brain and enhance cell-signaling pathways.
These effects may allow you to adjust better to the stressful situations that can lead to anxiety and other mood disorders.
Some researchers also suggest that dark chocolate’s role in brain health may simply be due to its taste, which can be comforting for those with mood disorders.
If you suffer from anxiety, yogurt is a great food to include in your diet.
The probiotics, or healthy bacteria, found in some types of yogurt may improve several aspects of your well-being, including mental health.
Probiotics support the gut-brain-axis — an intricate system between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. In particular, research suggests healthy gut bacteria may be linked with better mental health.
Further, probiotic foods like yogurt may promote mental health and brain function by reducing inflammation and increasing production of mood-boosting neurotransmitters, such as serotonin.
Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that’s been studied for the positive effects it may have on brain health and anxiety reduction
Moreover, green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant suggested to promote brain health. It may play a role in reducing certain symptoms by also increasing GABA in the brain.
Bananas are good sources of the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin in the body and may promote relaxation and anxiety relief
Blueberries are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants, such as flavonoids, that have been studied for their ability to improve brain health and thus help with anxiety
To learn more:
Tammy Drummond-Rowland, RN HN
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