Nutritional Strategies for Improving Anxiety & Mood
With everything going on in the world, it comes as no surprise that globally we are seeing an alarming rise in substance abuse, suicide, eating disorders, and other mental health issues.
While nutritional therapy is no substitute for professional help managing mental health disorders and behavioral health conditions, there are some nutrition strategies you can implement that may help to alleviate anxiety and improve mood.
Consuming more foods that are rich in nutrients, less foods that offer little to no nutritional value, drinking adequate water, and not skipping meals helps to stabilize blood sugar - an important factor in reducing anxiety.
The following nutrients and foods are linked to reduced levels of anxiety and improved overall mood.
Foods rich in magnesium may help a person feel calmer and reduce anxiety.
Leafy greens: kale, spinach, collards, swiss chard
Legumes: black beans, edamame, kidney beans
Nuts: almonds, cashews, peanut butter
Seeds: pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds
Whole grains: whole wheat bread, oatmeal, fortified breakfast cereals, brown rice
Zinc-rich foods have been linked to reduced levels of anxiety.
Meat: beef, pork, chicken
Shellfish: oyster, crab, lobster
Legumes: baked beans, chickpeas, kidney beans
Nuts & Seeds: pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds
Low-Fat Dairy: yogurt, cheese, milk
Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce anxiety and improve depression.
Fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna
Seeds: flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds
Other foods: tofu, navy beans, brussels sprouts, canola oil, olive oil
Foods rich in B-vitamins may help the release of serotonin & dopamine - "feel good" hormones that play a role in happiness and emotional well-being.
Whole grains: brown rice, barley
Vegetables: darky leafy greens, carrots
Animal foods: salmon, beef, eggs, low-fat dairy
Fruit: oranges, bananas, avocado
Other foods: sweet potatoes, nutritional yeast, enriched cereals, almonds
In addition to incorporating these foods into your daily diet, work on reducing foods that may worsen anxiety:
Highly processed foods high in added sugars
Excessive caffeine (energy drinks!)
Other ways to reduce stress and improve anxiety:
Increase physical activity
Get adequate, quality sleep (7+ hours)
Practice self-care (meditation, journaling)
It's OKAY to not be okay. You are not alone. Support is always available.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
The Trevor Project (LGBTQ):
Text TREVOR to 1-202-304-1200
Crisis Text Line:
Text TALK to 741741
National Eating Disorders Association:
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