Almost 20% of adults suffer from anxiety disorders. Everyone has experienced periods of stress that bring about non-clinical, but still unpleasant, levels of anxiety. Scientific research has shown that diet can have a huge effect on anxiety; some foods increase anxiety levels, such as coffee and the refined carbohydrates in white bread and pasta, and other foods can ease the tension. Try some of these anxiety-dissolving foods next time you're feeling the strain.
Research suggests than a lack of zinc can contribute to anxiety for many sufferers, so when you feel anxiety bubbling up, try eating foods that are rich in zinc, like oysters. If you aren't a big fan of shellfish, then spinach, beef, and kidney beans are good sources of zinc too.
2. Dark Chocolate
Sugary milk chocolate like Mars bars might increase your anxiety, but studies have shown that eating small portions of dark chocolate can help to lower your levels of stress and calm you down in periods of high anxiety. Don't overdo it though; the recommended amount is about two squares per day.
3. Chamomile Tea
Folk medicine has used chamomile tea to ease anxiety for hundreds of years, and modern research has shown anxiety-reducing effects of drinking it on a regular basis. Chamomile soothes the mind and body, so try drinking a mug of this herbal superfood instead of your usual caffeinated tea.
Omega-3 fats, like the ones you find in fish, have been shown to significantly lower anxiety levels so dishes of salmon, tuna, or even sushi can keep your nerves at bay. A daily dose of omega-3 fish oil can have the same benefits if you'd rather take a supplement instead.
5. Whole-Grain Bread
Whole grains contain tryptophan, which converts into the neurotransmitter serotonin during digestion. This serotonin soothes your anxiety, so trying whole-grain breads and pastas may help regulate your mood. They are also a good source of magnesium, which also counteracts anxiety.
Black beans, kidney beans, and lima beans are also excellent sources of magnesium, so integrating more beans into your diet can help regulate your anxiety. Beans are also rich in various other nutrients which help maintain energy levels, so you don't have to rely on anxiety-inducing caffeine to get you going.
7. Green Tea
Green tea has been popular for years due to its detoxifying properties, but it's also a great source of L-Theanine, a chemical which helps to decrease anxiety in people with anxiety disorders and non-sufferers. Grab a cup of green tea or a matcha latte next time you're feeling the pressure.
If you're a fan of fruit and smoothies, you might find that blueberries are the perfect addition to your anti-anxiety diet. They are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, which soothe anxiety. They also have calming, sedative effects on your brain, so they're great for when you're feeling overwhelmed.
Relaxation techniques, therapy, and medication can all ease anxiety, but diet is often the cheapest, quickest and easiest way to soothe your negative feelings. Try integrating these foods into your meals and see how you feel.