This four part series on stress-reducing foods is a follow-up to my previous article on the links among diet, inflammation and mood disorders, specifically anxiety. You can check out that article here.
Anxiety disorders affect up to 40 million people in the U.S. age 18+, making anxiety the most common mental health condition we face in our country today. With anxiety being such a common occurrence, we have to ask ourselves what factors in our environment and lifestyle are contributing to its development. Certainly our diets and the food we consume is one of them. The good news is that there are also several foods that help our bodies to reduce stress and anxiety, build immunity and create more balance – naturally. The first five of these stress-reducing foods are listed here:
- Almonds – These crunchy and delicious nuts are rich in vitamin B2 and vitamin E. Both of these nutrients help bolster the immune system during times of stress. Eat 1/4 cup per day!
- Asparagus – High in folate (folic acid), these slender green stalks are essential for keeping you calm. Low levels of folic acid have also been linked to depression.
- Avocados – These creamy and delicious fruits stress-proof your body. They are high in B-vitamins, which we need for healthy nerves and brain cells. Feelings of anxiety may be rooted in a B-vitamin deficiency. They’re also high in monounsaturated fat and potassium, which help lower blood pressure. Finally, they’re rich in glutathione, a substance that specifically blocks intestinal absorption of certain fats that cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain lutein, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and more folate than any other fruit!
- Berries – Blueberries have some of the highest levels of an antioxidant known as anthocyanin, and they’ve been linked to all kinds of positive health outcomes, including sharper cognition. But all berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are rich in vitamin C, which has been shown to be helpful in combating stress. Vitamin C has also been shown to lower blood pressure and lower levels of cortisol after stress.
- Cashews – These yummy nuts are an especially good source of zinc—a 1-ounce serving has 11 percent of your recommended daily amount. Low levels of zinc have been linked to both anxiety and depression. Since our bodies have no way of storing zinc, it’s important to get some every day.
Stay tuned for the next five anxiety-reducing foods which will be coming shortly. In the meantime, happy and healthy eating!