We’re only human!
We all experience anxiety. It’s part of what makes us human, and in fact without it – it’s likely that our species would not have survived. Anxiety is part of the body’s natural defence mechanism. When we are faced with a threat (real or perceived), our body reacts by releasing a number of chemicals.
Unfortunately, perceived threats are just about everywhere. An impending exam, job interview, peak hour traffic, are just a few examples of the types of situations that can cause us to feel anxious. What this means is that for many of us, we are experiencing way more than our fair share of stress and anxiety. What can we do? Well, in addition to making lifestyle changes, getting good quality sleep, exercising and learning to relax…..being mindful of what we eat can in fact minimise the negative consequences of anxiety on our mind and bodies.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Foods to beat anxiety
We know that by avoiding certain foods, such as saturated fats, refined sugars, caffeine and alcohol, we can minimize the negative effects of anxiety. However, what should we eat when we are experiencing anxiety?
Here are 10 anxiety-busting foods to include in your diet, followed by an example of a weekly anti anxiety diet plan to help you get started.
1. Wholegrain breads and cereals.
These foods are rich in an amino acid called tryptophan, which is used by the brain to synthesize an important neurotransmitter, called serotonin. Serotonin is the “happy hormone” responsible for making us feel good!
They are also high in magnesium, which research shows can alleviate anxiety.
2. Fresh berries
Blueberries and raspberries are full of anti-oxidants and rich in Vitamin C, which helps to regulate and prevent spikes in cortisol levels.
3. Salmon, flaxseed and/or tofu
Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, these foods protect against inflammation, improve mood and the ability to cope with stress.
4. Green vegetables
High in magnesium and vitamin K, green veges are also rich in chlorophyll, which gives them their green colour. Chlorophyll increases the production of haemoglobin in the blood. This means more oxygen in the blood, which equals more energy and less stress!
5. Dairy foods
High in Riboflavin (a type of Vitamin B), which has been shown to calm nerves. Also high in tryptophan.
6. Yoghurt (and other fermented foods like miso and tempeh)
Probiotics are critical for good gut health, and a deficiency of probiotics has been linked to anxiety.
7. Chamomile and green tea
Chamomile tea contains compounds that bind to the same brain receptors as drugs like valium. As for green tea? It contains L-theanine (an amino acid) which helps to curb heart rate and blood pressure.
8. Dark chocolate
Yes you heard right! Dark chocolate & raw cacao have been found to lower cortisol levels as well as epinephrine. A rich yummy dark chocolate also stimulates a peptide that activates cerebral opiod receptors! So THAT’S why eating chocolate makes us feel so good!
9. Raw honey
Raw honey is an alkaline-forming food that contains natural vitamins, enzymes, powerful antioxidants and other important natural nutrients. It has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Raw honey stabilizes blood pressure, and calms nerves. A real superfood!
Almonds and walnuts are packed full of goodies such as zinc, iron. Low blood serum zinc and iron have both been linked to mental health issues, especially anxiety.