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"Food for Thought"

By Megan Delano on February 25, 2021
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Tending to your mental health does not only have to be about talk therapy and practicing self-care. Physical health and wellness plays a large role in brain functioning, including managing anxiety and stress. In addition to exercise, drinking plenty of water, and eating balanced meals, there are many other ways to help reduce anxiety in your daily routines. One of these ways is through the type of food you eat. Learning more about what foods work best for you as well as maintaining an "anti-anxiety diet" may help promote more positive brain functioning day to day!

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that some vitamins and minerals found in our daily foods have proven to decrease anxiety and stress hormones in the brain and increase positive chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, which can significantly impact your mood. Of course, eating health is always the better option when managing both mental and physical health. However, there are distinct properties of some foods that may be more important to your daily intact when focusing on taking care of your brain. 

Below is a list of foods that promote health brain functioning, and in some research, has proven to decrease anxiety and stress hormones in the body:

  • Salmon - Filled with Omega-3's, which have been studied for both anxiety and depression reduction in medical students. Omega-3's have proven to have a strong connection with healthy brain development and functioning.
  • Chamomile - A tea often used for relaxation, Chamomile has been shown to have anxiety reducing properties due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
  • Avocados - Rich in B vitamins, avocados are thought to have strong anti-anxiety properties. B vitamins promote health digestion, brain function, and energy levels!
  • Turmeric - The main active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin. This may help lower anxiety by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. Turmeric is also a great additive for health digestion.
  • Yogurt - Known for its health pro-biotics, yogurt has been studied to explore its impact on overall brain functioning. More research has emerged that increases in healthy gut bacteria can in fact, reduce stress and anxiety in the brain.

Make your own stress reducing green smooth, made with avocados and bananas, by clicking here!

References  

Armstrong D.J., Meenagh G.K., Bickle I., Lee A.S., Curran E.S., Finch M.B. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia. Clin. Rheumatol. 2007;26:551-554.

Naidoo U. Eat to Beat Stress. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2020 Dec 8;15(1):39-42.

Uma Naidoo, MD. "Nutritional Strategies to Ease Anxiety." Harvard Health Blog, 29 Aug 2019, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-strategies-to-ease-anxiety-201604139441