Anxiety disorders are a pervasive problem, being the most common type of mental illness in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Despite effective therapies and medications, only about a third of people suffering from anxiety seek treatment.
Current research, however, is shining a light on the impact of diet on mental health, revealing that what you eat can make a significant difference in managing anxiety.
Brazil nuts are a powerhouse of selenium, a mineral that can potentially improve mood by reducing inflammation—typically heightened in people with anxiety. Acting as an antioxidant, selenium also helps prevent cellular damage.
Omega-3 fatty acids, abundant in fatty fish, have shown promise in reducing anxiety symptoms. High doses of omega-3s (up to 2000 mg daily) have the most significant impact. Besides affecting the biological functions of the body, these acids are vital for brain health.
Who knew that the humble chocolate bar could alleviate anxiety? Dark chocolate is packed with flavonoids, antioxidants that can lower blood pressure, boost blood flow to the brain and heart, and potentially decrease anxiety.
Turmeric is a household spice that hides a powerful weapon against anxiety: curcumin. This bioactive compound has been linked to reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, possibly due to its role in boosting serotonin and dopamine levels. Some research even suggests curcumin may be as effective as Prozac, with fewer side effects.
A long-standing remedy for inducing calm, chamomile is an herbal alternative for treating anxiety. Its soothing effect is widely recognized, and it has shown pharmacological activity in animal models of anxiety.
Yogurt, particularly varieties rich in probiotics, can improve several aspects of well-being, including mental health. These healthy bacteria have a positive impact on the body and mind, making yogurt a good choice for those dealing with anxiety.
Last but not least, green tea, high in the amino acid L-theanine, may help reduce anxiety. A 2017 study found that students who regularly drank green tea experienced lower stress levels than those who didn’t.
In conclusion, your diet can play a crucial role in managing anxiety. These foods, filled with anxiety-reducing compounds, could be a natural way to complement conventional treatments.
As always, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian before making any significant changes to your diet.
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