20 Best Foods to Eat to Lower Anxiety, Stress and Depression (And Foods to Avoid)
Anxiety has a way of creeping into almost every aspect of our lives. Whether you are raising your family, working long hours, or dealing with family or health-related issues, stress and anxiety take their toll on your emotional and physical health.
Although elevated levels of stress, anxiety, and depression might necessitate a medical evaluation, there are various things you can do to help ease your tension before it spirals out of control.
Foods That Help Control Anxiety and Stress
The foods that you eat play a vital role in both the development and management of anxiety and by learning which types foods to eat and which ones to avoid, you might find that your stress and anxiety levels start to dissipate.
Before you learn which foods will help you manage your stress and anxiety, you should know which foods to avoid. Alcohol is known a central nervous system depressant, so when you drink in excess, you can deplete your body of energy, leaving you with hardly any resources to manage your stress efficiently.
Conversely, caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, and in addition to contributing to the loss of fluids, it can cause palpitations and abnormal heart rhythms, respiratory difficulties, increased urination, upset stomach, headache and excessive sweating.
These symptoms can further exacerbate your symptoms of anxiety, and in some instances, increase the risk for a full-fledged panic attack. Eating foods high in sugar content can also worsen anxiety because after you eat sugar, your blood sugar levels will increase, and then decline quickly. This physiological action may also cause decreased levels of energy, depression, and anxiety.
Now, for the foods you should eat that can dramatically help restore your energy, improve your emotional well-being, keep anxiety at bay and relieve depression.
Even though many individuals are trying to eliminate the amounts of red meat that they add into their diets, red meat is an excellent choice for those who are dealing with stress. Beef contains abundant amounts of B vitamins, zinc, and iron, which not only help raise your mood, but it also helps maintain your emotional well-being as well. Make sure, however, that you eat cuts of beef that are very lean, and low in fat.
The mineral, magnesium, is often referred to as “nature’s beta blocker.” Beta blockers are prescription drugs used in the management of hypertension, abnormal heart rates, and rhythms, migraines, and anxiety.
They also help suppress your body’s response to stress hormones such as adrenaline, and can dramatically lower your risk of panic attacks. It is for this reason that you should eat foods that are rich sources of magnesium.
Almonds are excellent sources of magnesium and other nutrients. In addition to containing high amounts of magnesium, almonds also contain vitamins C, E and B2, and healthy unsaturated fats.
These substances also help protect you from the dangerous effects of free radicals and oxidative stress, often implicated in the development of heart disease and malignancy.
Milk is another food to help you get through times of anxiety and stress. Milk is rich in calcium, vitamins B12 and B2, antioxidant, vitamin D and protein. It also helps keep your bones healthy and helps enhance the regeneration of healthy new cells.
Combine low-fat milk with your favorite whole-grain, healthy cereal for breakfast; this is an excellent way to keep stress at bay that may be waiting to ruin your emotional and physical health. Cottage cheese, combined with fruits rich in vitamin C, also helps you better deal with stress-promoting free radicals that can often get out of control when you are under stress.
In addition to fortified milk, asparagus is another heavy hitter when it comes to managing anxiety and stress. Rich in folic acid and vitamin B, asparagus helps stabilize your moods by promoting the release of a “feel-good” substance, known as serotonin.
Antidepressant medications also work by increasing your levels of serotonin to elevate your moods and keep anxiety and depression at bay.
Superfoods that Defy Aging and Enhance Mood
Goji berries are dense and contain rich concentrations of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, amino acids and healthy essential fatty acids. Because of excellent nutritional value, it is not surprising that Goji berries frequently come up in conversations on good health and anti-aging.
Goji berries, which originate in Tibet, are known to improve immunity, promote good vision, lower the risk of cancer, reduce levels of cholesterol, assist with weight loss and reduce depression. Also, Goji berries contain at least 500 times more vitamin C than oranges do.
They contain higher levels of beta-carotene than carrots and also are an excellent source of vitamin A. The polysaccharides in Goji berries help stimulate your pituitary gland to secrete human growth hormone, which is thought to help stave off aging.
Avocados contain vitamin E, which is an excellent moisturizer and emollient for your skin. Avocados also contain glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant that is thought to have anti-cancer properties as well. It may be effective against the effects of air pollution, ultra-violet radiation, cigarette smoke, and exhaust fumes.
Research is currently being conducted to determine the benefits of glutathione on heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, stress and anxiety, arthritis, depression, eczema, Aids, memory loss and liver disease.
If you want to enhance the production of collagen naturally, consider aloe vera, which helps your skin maintain a healthy and wrinkle-free glow. Aloe contains vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids, and it also rich in potent anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory substances.
Lower Risk of Bacterial and Fungal Infections
Furthermore, aloe may help reduce the risk of bacterial and fungal infections, while promoting proper digestion and optimal elimination. Aloe vera can also help enhance your immune system while helping to keep your skin looking young. Because the outer leaves of an aloe plant may have a laxative effect, you should consume only the gel. Since aloe gel is bitter, combine it with your favorite fruit to enhance the flavor.
Bee pollen is another superfood superstar that may help treat various skin conditions such as acne while promoting the production of new, healthy skin cells. Bee pollen also has potent anti-aging properties, and it helps prevent the effects of dehydration on your skin while helping to make wrinkles less visible. Bee pollen also contains nucleic acids such as DNA and
RNA, and it may help fight off infections, enhance your immune system, improve physical stamina, reduce cholesterol levels and enhance your libido.
Chlorella is another superfood loaded with nucleic acids. In fact, chlorella is one of the highest sources of RNA and DNA. In addition to RNA and DNA, chlorella is also a source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids and beneficial enzymes. It also helps reduce the adverse effects of oxidative stress on your body, while helping to rid the body of harmful toxins that have the potential to weaken immune functioning.
If you struggle with your weight, coconut oil may be what you need to promote weight loss. Coconut oil is also high in antioxidants, and it also helps rehydrate and moisturize your skin. In fact, coconut oil might help protect against free radical damage and help you maintain a healthy and youthful looking complexion.
You can either consume coconut oil or apply it to your skin. In addition to containing an essential fatty acid that has substantial anti-microbial effects known as lauric acid, coconut oil may also protect against viral, bacterial and fungal infections.
Superfoods for Superior Brain Function and Calmness
Everyone has those down days when things just don’t go right. During the aging process, our bodies start to lose some of its vigor and vitality and so do our brains. By eating the right superfoods, we can preserve our brain function longer. Consider including the following superfoods into your daily menu plans to help keep your brain working at its best.
Superfoods such as brown rice, whole grain bread, and oatmeal might help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke while helping to contribute to a healthy brain. When you have a robust cardiovascular system, the blood flow to your brain is optimal.
Healthy complex carbohydrates also supply your brain with a steadier dose of glucose, which also enhances healthy brain function. Conversely, simple carbohydrates that are found in processed foods bombard your brain with too much sugar, resulting in unhealthy sugar-highs and precipitous crashes. This roller coaster effect promotes fatigue, hunger, depression, and stress.
Blueberries are another fantastic superfood that may guard your brain against the effects of dementia, Alzheimer’s and stress. Rich in vitamins and minerals, blueberries help contribute to better motor skills and enhanced learning capacities.
Dark chocolate is another superfood that is high in antioxidants. The antioxidants contained in dark chocolate are very rich in natural stimulants that help enhance better focus and concentration while promoting calmness. They also help your body release mood-enhancing endorphins. As with any food, it is best to consume dark chocolate in moderation; too much might cause hyper-stimulation, anxiety, and insomnia.
Salmon, a deep-water, fatty fish, is an excellent source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These essential nutrients are crucial for optimal brain functioning, and their roles in the reduction of depression and anxiety disorders are under study.
Fish oil supplements also contain rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. However, they may interfere with medications known as anticoagulants or medical conditions.
Fish oils thin your blood by inhibiting platelet aggregation and may lead to abnormal bleeding. Talk to your healthcare provider before consuming fish oil supplements, especially if you take anticoagulant medications.
Brewed tea also contains potent antioxidants known as catechins. These substances promote healthy blood flow to the brain and may help with concentration. Because tea contains caffeine, limiting your consumption may help stave off caffeine-related insomnia, over-stimulation, and anxiety.
Foods that contain vitamin E such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, walnuts, and almonds are also healthy selections for brain health. Eating these seeds and nuts may help keep cognitive decline at bay and promote learning.
Avocados, a fruit high in health-promoting fats, contributes to enhanced cerebral blood flow while reducing your blood pressure. Hypertension is a prominent risk factor in the development of heart disease and stroke.
If you are seeking an alternative to medications to manage your anxiety, talk to your doctor about incorporating superfoods into your daily meal plan. Superfoods can act as medicine to help improve your mood, improve your health, and manage your anxiety, all without the side effects that are common with psychotropic medications