BlogHealthHow Food Can Help You Deal with Anxiety

How Food Can Help You Deal with Anxiety

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Written by Mariia Roza on June 03, 2021

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Sometimes in our lives, misery strikes. Our optimism leaves us, and we slowly (or suddenly) slip into a state of apathy, irritation, or even anxiety. This might be due to the season, like autumn and winter, when we lack UV-rays that boost vitamin D synthesis in our bodies. There might be stressful situations at work or home or even the dysfunction of serotonin production in the brain.

Macro and micronutrients to boost your mood

Did you know that certain foods can help us deal with a bad mood and prevent depression development? We're not talking about munching ice cream when you feel upset or gorging on chocolate when your romantic date went wrong. Comfort food and emotional eating might help for an hour or two, but it’s not the way out. This is why we will refer to foods that boost your mood and leave you feeling cheerful and happy for longer than the digestion process.

food and anxiety
food and anxiety

Magnesium

Leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and veggies are not only full of microelements and vitamins but also calm down your nerves. Studies(1) show that magnesium supplements can help with mild anxiety and battle premenstrual syndrome in women. Though additional surveys should be conducted to ensure that magnesium is efficient in dealing with hypertension, its beneficial effect on anxiety and stress is proven by scientific research.

Zinc

Researchers(2) have found that reduced zinc levels are associated with higher risks of depression and anxiety. Though additional cohort studies should be conducted to prove this connection, you can safely try this theory by yourself by increasing zinc-reach products in your diet. Oysters, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks are rich in zinc and might reduce anxiety. 

Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acid might help with some particular cognitive and emotional disorders, particularly with anxiety. Studies(3) show, though, that to get statistically meaningful results, large dosages of omega 3 supplements were used on the subjects. As the brain membranes consist of fatty acids, adding more products rich in omega-3 to your diet might be a great way to prevent brain health disorders. Found in most oily fishes, such as wild salmon, omega-3 fatty acids might help reduce anxiety.

Probiotic-rich foods

probiotics and anxiety
probiotics and anxiety

A meta-analysis(4) of randomized controlled trials shows that even though there might be no significant difference in anxiety levels in groups taking probiotics and placebo, probiotic-rich foods can lower the levels of anxiety and depression in cases of acute mental disorders. Probiotics are beneficial for the gut microbiome and digestive system, not only for your mental health. For this reason, it might be a good idea to add some pickled vegetables like Korean kimchi, Polish fermented cabbage, German sauerkraut, and fermented lactic products like yogurts or kefir to your diet.

Vitamin B

Multiple studies(5) show a connection between vitamin B consumption and the levels of depression and anxiety. Fatty products rich in B group vitamins, like avocado and almonds, are also a great way to manage tension and nervousness.

Antioxidants against anxiety

As distress and psychological discomfort is often caused by oxidative stress, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has composed(6) a list of products rich in antioxidants that help minimize oxidations in our bodies.

  • Legumes: kidney beans, haricot beans, chickpeas, peas
  • Fruits: apples of all kinds, namely Gala, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, prunes, cherries, plums
  • Berries: blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries
  • Nuts: walnuts, pecan, almond, cashew
  • Vegetables: artichokes, cabbage, spinach, beets, broccoli, asparagus
  • Spices with antioxidant and soothing properties: turmeric (contains curcumin) and ginger
antioxidants and anxiety
antioxidants and anxiety

Summing up

Food is not only calories and macronutrients. Minimally processed, whole foods are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients essential for your physical and mental health. For example, they can help you deal with stress and anxiety. 

When you order a personalized meal plan composed by our nutrition experts, you receive much more than a weight-loss tool. Every program we provide contains foods that are rich in vitamins and microelements that improve both your physical and mental health. Enjoy your food and let it be your cure!

Sources

  • Boyle N. B., Lawton C., Dye L. (2017, April 26). The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review. Nutrients. DOI: 10.3390/nu9050429
  • Anbari-Nogyni Z., Bidaki R., Madadizadeh F., et al. (2020, June). Relationship of Zinc Status with Depression and Anxiety among Elderly Population. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN. DOI: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2020.02.008
  • Su K. P., Tseng P. T., Lin P. Y., et al. (2018, September 14). Association of Use of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids With Changes in Severity of Anxiety Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Network Open. DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.2327
  • Chao L., Liu C., Sutthawognwadee S., et al. (2020, May 22). Effects of Probiotics on Depressive or Anxiety Variables in Healthy Participants Under Stress Conditions or With a Depressive or Anxiety Diagnosis: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Frontiers in Neurology. DOI: 10.3389/fneur.2020.00421
  • Young L. M., Pipingas A., White D. J., et al. (2019, September 16). A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of B Vitamin Supplementation on Depressive Symptoms, Anxiety, and Stress: Effects on Healthy and “At-Risk” Individuals. Nutrients. DOI: 10.3390/nu11092232
  • Wu X., Beecher G. R., Holden J. M., et al. (2004, June 16). Lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities of common foods in the United States. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. DOI: 10.1021/jf049696w