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Anxiety is estimated to affect a large group of people globally. The National Institute for Mental Health stated that women are twice as likely to have anxiety as men. Stress can be a contributor to anxiety. When it comes to eating, avoid stress eating instead eat to reduce stress. There are certain types of food that are consumed specifically to help you calm down and reduce anxiety. We should all understand how the nutritional properties of foods affect the brain. One health and nutrition educator said that there is a connection between the brain and the gut. Below are foods that reduce anxiety and stress.

Asparagus

Several studies have linked anxiety and depression to folate deficiency. Asparagus is a type of vegetable with high levels of mood-boosting nutrients. A cup of asparagus can provide you with two-thirds of the daily recommended amount of folate. You can swap fries intake for asparagus.

Steam or grill asparagus and then serve it as a side dish. For those who love snacking, they should consider this substitute: dip cooked asparagus into salsa, hummus or a bean dip.

Avocado

Avocado is packed with vitamin B6 and magnesium which are necessary for the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin influences mood thus relieving stress and anxiety. The B vitamins present in avocado include riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin, all of which positively affect the nervous system. Plus, the fat from avocado is heart friendly and helps lessen anxiety. Next time when stress pushes you to craving ice cream, opt for a DIY version made with avocado and ripe bananas.

Blueberries

You might think of blueberries as tiny fruits, but just a handful packs a powerful punch of antioxidants and vitamin C making them mighty stress busters. Anxiety and stress make us crave for vitamin C to help repair and protect our cells. You can get all the vitamin C you need from adding blueberries to your diet. A study examined the overall effect of vitamin C supplements on anxiety among a group of students. The results showed that antioxidants are useful for both the prevention and reduction of anxiety. You should avoid added sugar that throws off the healthy bacterial balance in the gut increasing anxiety and instead eat blueberries to positively boost your immunity.

Turkey

Tryptophan is an amino acid found in turkey that puts you to sleep after Thanksgiving dinner. However, it’s a little more than that because the Tryptophan effect can ease anxiety. Also, the human body needs Tryptophan to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin which regulates sleep, calmness, and mood. You can find Tryptophan in the highest protein foods like turkey, although nuts, beans, and seeds have it too. Plan your meals earlier so that you avoid any fried food since they contain unhealthy fats and counter the good effects of Tryptophan. Prepare your turkey with something like brown rice, quinoa and add some veggies for extra nutrients.

Salmon

Salmon has been used for ages to help reduce anxiety. It’s rich in nutrients that promote brain health including omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and vitamin D. DHA and EPA can regulate the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin which provide a calming and relaxing effect. In addition to that, fatty acids reduce inflammation and prevent brain cell dysfunction that encourages mental disorder like anxiety. A good intake of EPA and DHA can promote the brain’s ability to adapt to changes making you capable of dealing with anxiety triggers. A study showed that men who ate salmon three times a week for five months had reduced anxiety than those who ate chicken.

Turmeric

Turmeric has a compound called curcumin which promotes brain health and prevents brain disorder. According to test tube studies, curcumin boosts the omega 3 fatty acid DHA in the brain which helps synthesize it more efficiently. Also, curcumin was found to produce significant anti-anxiety effects in stressed mice. Taking turmeric leads to improved brain cells due to the presence of powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. More people have confirmed this positive effect of curcumin in reducing anxiety and stress.

Spinach

Green leafy veggies may not be your ideal comforting food, but spinach happens to be. Spinach is rich in magnesium; a mineral used to regulate cortisol levels and promote a feeling of wellbeing. A cup of spinach fills 40 percent of your daily requirement, hence add some on your morning eggs. Alternatively, you can steam them and serve as a side dish, make a salad and include them in every dish.

Conclusion

Research done on the above foods found them to be suitable for people suffering from stress or anxiety. These foods help one deal with anxiety symptoms as they reduce inflammation and boost brain health. Avoid foods or situations that trigger your stress or anxiety. Apart from food, there are other practices that can be used to help you manage stress such as meditation.

All images by Pixabay

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