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Foods to Ease Anxiety

By Isny Dewi R

10 November 2020

Some research suggests that proper nutrition can help to ease anxiety.

Photo source: Pexels
 
 
You can make a variety of lifestyle changes to help manage their anxiety. Eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, and lean protein can be helpful.
 
Anxiety is a widespread condition, affecting millions of people globally. Symptoms vary, and some people only experience them now and then. However, someone who experiences symptoms for six months or longer may have a Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
 
The symptoms of GAD include psychological and physical symptoms, such as:
 
  • Fear
  • Tension
  • Excessive worry about everyday events and problems
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Issues with their personal social and work relationships
  • Heart palpitations, elevated heart rate
  • Muscle tension
  • Chest tightness
 
Doctors often treat GAD with a combination of treatments, including talking therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), alongside medications. Sometimes, these conventional treatments do not work long-term. However, some research suggests that proper nutrition can help improve symptoms.
 
These are foods to eat to help reduce anxiety, reported from Medicalnewstoday.com:
 
1. Fatty fish
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, and herring, are high in omega-3. Omega-3 is a fatty acid that has a strong relationship with cognitive function as well as mental health.
 
However, recent research has shown that if a person eats too much of another fatty acid, called omega-6, and not enough omega-3, they may increase their risk of developing mood disorders, such as anxiety.
 
Omega-3-rich foods that contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) provides two essential fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA regulate neurotransmitters, reduce inflammation, and promote healthy brain function. A small study on 24 people with substance abuse problems found that EPA and DHA supplementation resulted in reduced levels of anxiety. However, more research is required.
 
Current recommendations suggest eating at least two servings of fatty fish a week. A study conducted on men found eating salmon three times a week reduced self-reported anxiety.
 
Salmon and sardines are also among the few foods that contain vitamin D. Researchers are increasingly linking vitamin D deficiency to mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. A report in the Journal of Affective Disorders believes that there is enough evidence to prove that vitamin D positively helps depression. Other studies on pregnant women and older adults have also highlighted how vitamin D might improve mood.
 
2. Eggs
Egg yolks are another great source of vitamin D. Eggs are also an excellent source of protein. It is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids the body needs for growth and development.
 
Eggs also contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps create serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood, sleep, memory, and behavior. Serotonin is also thought to improve brain function and relieve anxiety.
 
3. Turmeric
Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian and South-East Asian cooking. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin that may help lower anxiety by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress that often increase in people experiencing mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression. A 2015 study found that curcumin reduced anxiety in obese adults. Another study found that an increase of curcumin in the diet also increased DHA and reduced anxiety. Turmeric is easy to add to meals.
 
4. Chamomile
Many people around the world use chamomile tea as an herbal remedy because of its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and relaxant properties.
 
Some people believe that the relaxant and anti-anxiety properties come from the flavonoids present in chamomile. A recent study found that chamomile did reduce anxiety symptoms. However, it did not prevent new episodes of anxiety. Chamomile tea may be useful in managing anxiety. It is readily available and safe to use in high doses.
 
5. Yogurt
Yogurt contains healthful bacteria, Lactobaccilus and Bifidobacteria. There is emerging evidence that these bacteria and fermented products have positive effects on brain health. According to a recent clinical review, yogurt and other dairy products may also produce an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Some research suggests that chronic inflammation may be partly responsible for anxiety, stress, and depression.
 
A 2015 study found fermented foods reduced social anxiety in some young people, while multiple studies found consuming healthful bacteria increased happiness in some people. Including yogurt and other fermented food in the diet can benefit the natural gut bacteria and may reduce anxiety and stress.

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