What we eat effects our bodies, and our minds. Everything from our energy levels, hormones and even brain chemistry can be tweaked by diet. Here are my top 5 foods to manage anxiety and stress.
A great source of vitamin b6 and folic acid, both of which help to regulate the nervous system. B6 especially has been called the ‘anti-stress’ vitamin. It’s thought that it plays role in mood and sleep patterns. B6 is often recommended for helping with the anxiety and irritability associated with PMT. Plus, it’s fatty and somewhat naughty tasting, so can help to quell any anxious foods cravings or stress eating situations.
These nutritional powerhouses contain tryptophan, an amino acid involved in the production of serotonin, our ‘happy’ and ‘relaxed’ hormone. Other great sources of tryptophan include poultry, dairy foods, tofu, bananas, fish and sesame. Chow down to boost relaxed, happy brain chemicals.
Complex carbohydrates not only boost levels of serotonin in the brain, but they also work well in conjunction with tryptophan; helping to boost it’s serotonin making effects. Quinoa is a seed rather than a grain, so it doesn’t have the inflammatory effects that wheat can have, another bonus. Shame it’s so expensive; I buy big bags of it online and it works out a lot cheaper.
Ah broccoli; the ‘King of Veg’ as they say. It’s a great source of Vitamin C and has been shown to help people to manage stress and anxiety by lowering the stress hormone cortisol. Vit C also plays a role in supporting the adrenal gland; something which takes a hammering when we’re stressed or anxious. Green veg like broccoli, kale and spinach are all a great sources of Vitamin C; lightly steam it rather than boiling it to death, as this can damage the vitamins heat sensitive structure.
There is some evidence to suggest that Omega 3 fatty acids could help us to reduce anxiety levels. Our modern diets contain too much omega 6 (often from vegetables oils contained in processed foods) which upsets the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6. Omega 6 fats are inflammatory and could contribute to inflammation in the brain, where as omega 3 fats do the opposite. Try to include a couple of portions of oily fish as week into your diet. If you’re vegetarian, eat walnuts, chia and flaxseeds, or try an omega 3 supplement.I’m going to suggest a meal of salmon, with quinoa and broccoli, sprinkled with pumpkin seeds as the ultimate anti-anxiety meal. Veggies could substitute the salmon for tofu (good for tryptophan) and finish with a chia seed pudding for dessert for extra Omega 3.
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