A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of volunteering at and attending our annual Canadian Holistic Nutrition Conference. This year’s topic was mental health and wellness, and after the past few years, it’s no surprise why. I am grateful for this long-waited opportunity to get together and celebrate the science-focused food and nutrition wisdom the expert presenters had to share. I thought it could be fun to share some anxiety-reducing foods.
In this post, I’m sharing some of my favourite anxiety-reducing foods!
First up… avocados are a great addition to your diet. Don’t be fooled by their tough exterior, avocados are loaded with healthy fats and B vitamins. Both of these can help regulate brain function and reduce anxiety. Guac on, amigos! (I’ll admit I took advantage of this cheap local fruit while in Mexico and ate more than my fair share… #sorrynotsorry ;))
Salmon is an ideal choice for a brain-boosting dinner. Not only is it tasty, but salmon is also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are a powerhouse for overall brain health. They may help regulate the production and activity of neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin and dopamine, which are involved in mood regulation. An article in the Journal of Psychiatric Research(1) found that omega-3 supplementation helped improve anxiety symptoms in those with clinical depression by increasing serotonin levels.
Can we get a round of applause for the sushi chefs out there?
Blueberries might be delicious on your breakfast muesli or even in a smoothie, but did you know that these juicy fruits are a rich source of antioxidants? These can help protect the body against damage caused by stress and inflammation. One study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry(2) found that blueberries may help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain, which could potentially reduce anxiety symptoms.
Almonds are a wonderful nut to reach for when you’re feeling jittery or nervous. That’s because they are high in magnesium, which can help regulate cortisol levels and reduce stress. Plus, they make the perfect on-the-go snack. So, you can add trail mix to your list of anxiety-reducing foods!
Turmeric is a great spice for both sweet and savoury meals. A little bitter, a little spicy and definitely a little peculiar, turmeric is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Reducing inflammation is key to reducing anxiety. Make your brain happy and add a hefty sprinkle to your next smoothie or tomorrow night’s curry dinner.
Are you looking for the perfect bedtime beverage to help decrease your anxiety symptoms?
Nothing beats a lovely chamomile tea after dinner. Not only does chamomile support good digestion, but it is widely known for its calming effects on the mind and body.
One study in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology(3) found that chamomile extract reduced anxiety symptoms in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder. Chamomile can also have sleep-promoting effects, which can help people with anxiety who may have trouble sleeping. One study published in Phytomedicine Journal (4) found that chamomile extract improved sleep quality in individuals with chronic insomnia. Sweet dreams, indeed.
7. Dark chocolate
And last but not least… dark chocolate! Not just for Valentine’s Day, this sweet treat is packed with flavonoids that help lower stress hormones and boost your mood. Enjoy a square or two after a balanced meal, or try grating it over a tea latte or other beverage!
If you can add more anxiety-reducing foods into your diet, you can help manage your symptoms, naturally. And they are also delicious so it’s a win-win 😉
Are you looking for a meal plan or custom supplement recommendations to help reduce (and hopefully eliminate) your anxiety symptoms?
- If you’re a new or existing client, book a health and wellness consult today (including a free 15-minute Meet & Greet).
And until then, check out some delicious recipes that incorporate these anxiety-busting foods:
Life is a plate… Eat up!
(1) “Omega-3 fatty acids for mood disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis” by G. Sarris et al. (Journal of Psychiatric Research, 2016)
(2)”Blueberries’ impact on stress-induced inflammation and behavior in adult rats” by J. A. McInnis et al. (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2014)
(3) “Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) may provide antidepressant activity in anxious, depressed humans: an exploratory study” by N. Amsterdam et al. (Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2009)
(4) “The efficacy of chamomile for the treatment of sleep disturbance: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials” by J. L. Chang et al. (Phytomedicine, 2016)