6 superfoods to reduce anxiety and stress

In a world where stress and anxiety seem to lurk around every corner, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could find a little relief in the food we eat? Imagine having a secret stash of superfoods that not only satisfy your taste buds, but also work their magic on your mind. Incorporating certain foods into your daily routine can provide essential nutrients and compounds that promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve general well-being. Let’s explore these superfoods to reduce anxiety.

How can superfoods help reduce anxiety?

When contacted by Health Shots, fitness and nutrition expert Rohit Shelatkar, he explained that stress and anxiety are caused by increased cortisol production in people’s bodies. During these times, people often eat excessive amounts of processed, sweet, and salty foods. While these high-fat foods may temporarily lift our mood and stimulate our brain’s pleasure centers, they ultimately do more harm than good, increasing our susceptibility to depressive and anxious states. “Caffeine, processed meats, and foods high in sugar can raise cortisol levels and worsen anxiety symptoms,” Shelatkar says. In addition to proteins and vitamins, there are some superfoods that help reduce anxiety and many bodily problems such as stress, depression, and fatigue.
There are a variety of foods that can help you fight anxiety and find peace! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Superfoods to reduce anxiety

1. Blueberries

Blueberries are not only delicious, but they are also packed with antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, which have been shown to have stress-reducing effects. These antioxidants help fight oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are associated with anxiety disorders. A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science showed that blueberry supplementation improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety in young adults. Adding a handful of blueberries to your diet every day can provide a natural boost to your mental health.

2. Salmon

Oily fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). “Omega-3 fats are linked to improving oxidative stress and anxiety control by improving brain functions,” says Shelatkar. Regular consumption of salmon can provide a natural source of these omega-3 fatty acids and contribute to a calmer state of mind. Walnuts and flaxseeds are also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and can be added to the diet to reduce anxiety.
Omega 3 helps reduce anxiety
Have your share of omega-3 foods to keep your mood in check! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Bananas

Bananas are a good source of magnesium. A 2004 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that magnesium supplementation may improve mood. One large banana includes 37mg of magnesium which helps lower blood pressure. “Banana helps keep your heart rate lower and also helps control anxiety, restlessness, and mood swings,” Shelatkar says.

4. Complex carbohydrates

The nutrition expert explains that whole complex carbohydrates keep you from feeling down by providing a slow release of energy into the bloodstream. Carbohydrates in the brain are known to increase levels of serotonin, sometimes referred to as the “happy hormone.” To maintain your energy and happiness, make sure each major meal is spaced out and contains oats, whole wheat, quinoa, barley, or other whole grains.

5. Citrus

The highest concentrations of vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, which also help manage stress. “Vitamin C has been shown to reduce emotional and physical stress, probably by lowering cortisol levels,” says Shelatkar. The cortisol hormone, also known as the “fight or flight” hormone, is released when you’re under stress and has been linked to a number of medical disorders.

Citrus to reduce anxiety
Citrus fruits are not only healthy but also help control anxiety! Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Beans and legumes

A systematic review published in Nutrients in 2017 evaluated the impact of legume consumption on markers of mental health. The review indicated that the consumption of legumes may have a positive effect in reducing anxiety and improving mood due to their nutrient composition. Chickpeas, lentils, beans, and other legumes contain antioxidants, vitamin B6, and magnesium. They can be used as an alternative to red meat in stir-fry and stir-fry recipes because they are rich protein powerhouses.

While food alone can’t cure anxiety disorders, incorporating it into your diet can be a valuable addition to your overall anxiety management strategy. Remember to consult with a health professional for a comprehensive approach to managing anxiety, but don’t underestimate the power of nourishing your body with these anxiety-reducing superfoods. By watching your diet and adopting a holistic lifestyle, you can take significant steps toward achieving a calmer, more balanced state of mind.

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