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6 Foods That Help Reduce Anxiety (photos)

Anxiety is a common problem for many people. It’s a disorder characterized by constant worry and nervousness, and
is sometimes related to poor brain health. Medication is often required
as treatment.

Aside from medication, there are several strategies you can use to help reduce anxious symptoms, from exercising to deep breathing.

Additionally, there are some foods you can eat that may help lower
the severity of your symptoms, mostly due to their brain-boosting
properties.

Here are 6 science-backed foods and beverages that may provide anxiety relief.
1) Salmon:

Salmon may be beneficial for reducing anxiety.

It contains nutrients that promote brain health, including vitamin D
and the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (1, 2, 3, 4).

EPA and DHA may help regulate the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which can have calming and relaxing properties.

Additionally, studies show these fatty acids can reduce inflammation
and prevent brain cell damage that leads to the development of mental
disorders like anxiety.

Consuming adequate amounts of EPA and DHA may also promote your
brain’s ability to adapt to changes, allowing you to better handle
stressors that trigger anxiety symptoms (5).

Vitamin D has also been studied for the positive effects it may have on improving levels of calming neurotransmitters (6, 7).

Even a few servings of salmon a week may be enough to promote anxiety relief.

In one study, men who ate Atlantic salmon three times per week for
five months reported less anxiety than those who ate chicken, pork or
beef. Moreover, they had improved anxiety-related symptoms, such as
heart rate and heart rate variability (8).

2) Dark Chocolate:

Incorporating some dark chocolate into your diet may also be helpful for easing anxiety.

Dark chocolate contains flavonols, which are antioxidants that may benefit brain function.

They do this by improving blood flow to the brain and promoting its ability to adapt to environmental changes (25, 26).

These effects may allow you to adjust better to stressful situations that can lead to anxiety and other mood disorders.

Some researchers also suggest that dark chocolate’s role in brain
health may simply be due to its taste, which can be comforting for those
with mood disorders (26).

In one study, individuals who consumed 74% dark chocolate twice daily
for two weeks had improved levels of stress hormones commonly
associated with anxiety, such as catecholamines and cortisol (27).

Eating dark chocolate has also been shown to increase levels of the
neurotransmitter serotonin, which may help reduce the stress that leads
to anxiety (25, 28, 29, 30).

For example, in a study of highly stressed individuals, participants
reported significantly lower levels of stress after consuming 40 grams
of dark chocolate every day over a two-week period (28).

However, dark chocolate
is best consumed in moderation, as it is high in calories and sugar and
easy to overeat. 1–1.5 ounces is a reasonable serving size.

Summary: Dark chocolate may be helpful
for improving anxiety due to its stress-reducing antioxidants and
ability to increase serotonin levels.

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