Anxiety affects millions of people globally. We all feel some level of anxiety from time to time and as a working mother, it’s something that might crop up again and again. As always, this isn’t a replacement for medical advice as some bouts of anxiety are worse or more prolonged than others. It’s worth noting, however, that food plays a big part in how our mind and body behaves. It’s always worth trying to eat well and nourish ourselves if it will help reduce or lessen the impacts of our busy lives and schedules.
So what’s the deal with food and anxiety? Eating a diet high in vegetables, legumes and whole grains has been shown to help.
Our top 5?
- Brazil Nuts: Brazil nuts are high in selenium. Selenium may improve mood by reducing inflammation, which is often at heightened levels when someone has a mood disorder, such as anxiety. Selenium is also an antioxidant, which helps prevent cell damage.
- Fatty Fish: Researchers found that people who took high doses of omega-3s (up to 2,000 mg a day) seemed to have the most reduction in anxiety symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are usually derived from fish oil, have a number of biological effects in the body. What’s a fatty fish? Salmon, Trout, Sardines and all that jazz.
- Vitamin D: Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. Studies indicate a direct link between vitamin D levels and mental health so strong that adding just 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day can reduce fatigue, feelings of depression or anxiety. So get out in the sun or if you can’t look for egg yolks, fatty fish, mushrooms or as a fall back, supplements.
- Turmeric: Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Curcumin may help lower anxiety by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress that often increase in people experiencing mood disorders. Tip: turmeric is absorbed into the body better, if you combine with black pepper.
- Dark Chocolate (halleluah!): Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Made from the seed of the cacao tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet. Chocolate has a high tryptophan content, which the body uses to turn into mood-enhancing neurotransmitters such as serotonin in the brain. When choosing dark chocolate, aim for 70 percent or more and try not to overdo the servings given there is still sugar involved.
See, chocolate! I always like to finish on a high.