Anxiety is often a symptom for a bigger condition such as depression, and rarely is it considered an ailment of its own. However, the US National Institute of Mental Health says that it affects around 18% of the American population — making it the most common mental illness there, and probably around the world.
Now, much has been said in terms of treating anxiety. When we are anxious about something, we tend to simply address the subject. General and chronic anxiety is often treated with professional help, either in form of treatments or medication. However, it’s very rare that a person turns to dietary changes in terms of treating anxiety.
In fact, while one’s diet may not directly contribute to the development of anxiety, diet is instrumental in its correction. Many studies have shown that anxiety can be addressed by making specific changes, especially the consumption of foods which help nourish the body and quell the worries of the mind.
Food & Nutrition Diet (Meal Plan) for Anxiety
#1 Recommended Breakfast Diet for Anxiety
If you think that an anti-anxiety diet means you need to exclude a large variety of foods from your meals, you don’t have to be anxious! Complex carbohydrates such as those found in whole grain products (breads, oatmeals, etc.) are perfect for boosting serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a calming chemical, which helps reduce negative emotions.
Protein, as found in eggs and lean meats, is also important. Protein does not only help repair muscles and other parts of the body, it also helps stabilize blood sugar and hence energy. At normal levels, protein helps in ensuring you are constantly perky throughout the day.
#2 Recommended Lunch Diet for Anxiety
Fresh fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, halibut, and the like are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Research is still ongoing, but as early as 2011 studies have shown that this nutrient can help reduce anxiety. The same fatty acid has been used in the past to help treat depression, which is a common companion of anxiety.
Aside from including fish in your lunch diet, having a side of vegetables is also great. They contain lots of micronutrients, especially antioxidants. These antioxidants are correlated with lower anxiety levels. Vegetables especially high in antioxidants includes broccoli and spinach, which make good lunch fare, too.
#3 Recommended Dinner Diet for Anxiety
You have a choice of poultry, meat, and fish for dinner, but don’t forget to throw in a salad for good measure. A serving of fruit is also helpful, as these are great at giving the body its required dose of healthy sugar for energy. Fruits are easily digestible and provide a great amount of nutrients as well. Depending on the fruit, your body can also get its store of fiber which is especially useful for improving the gut flora. This is essential in improving the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
#4 Recommended Snack Diet for Anxiety
A handful of antioxidant-laden berries, or a spread of beans on whole-grain bread would be a great snack to cure anxiety. Nuts would be good, too, along with any healthy food product that contains one of the above-mentioned nutrients.
But did you know that chocolate is also great for anxiety? The rumors are true — this brown block of goodness helps produce more happy hormones for the body. This can be a tricky thing to control, though, as chocolate also almost always contains an unholy amount of refined sugars which could be problem in the long run. To avoid this, it’s much better to buy organic chocolate that uses non-sugar sweeteners, or to buy dark chocolate which doesn’t have any sweeteners at all.
#5 Recommended Drinks for Anxiety
Did you know that dehydration is one of the more common — but more often overlooked — causes of anxiety? It’s important to consume enough water regularly, if possible above the usually recommended 8 glasses of water a day. A glass before each meal or a glass every two hours is good.
Fruit juices are also good, as long as they come from straight from the fruit and are not the factory-made variety. These contain a lot of nutrients in an easy-to-absorb form.
#6 Recommended Herbs for Anxiety
Herbs like ginger and turmeric are known not just for their antioxidant effects but also for their mood-boosting properties. Another good herb is passionflower, which is used as treatment for a variety of illnesses, has also been proven to work in a similar way to benzodiazepine — a common medication for anxiety treatment.
Lavender, recognized for its calming scent, is also known to help reduce the effects of anxiety. So much, in fact, that lavender is known to work just as well as the common medication lorazepam.
#7 Recommended Fruits for Anxiety
Fruits like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and all types of berries are rich in antioxidants. So are all colorful fruits.
#8 Recommended Vitamin for Anxiety
B-Complex vitamins are important to release stored energy in the body, which could then be used both for daily activities and to fuel repairs. Vitamin C also helps to create a stronger immune system, which will make it more difficult to upset hormonal balance.
#9 Recommended Minerals for Anxiety
Magnesium is by far the most important mineral for those with anxiety concerns, as it is important in many bodily processes. Furthermore, many people are severely lacking in it. Another important nutrient would be tryptophan, which naturally helps relax the body. The good news is that both tryptophan and magnesium are abundant in the same types of food, such as beans and tofu.
#10 Discouraged Food for Anxiety
Too much fat and oils, along with too much sugar, should be discouraged for those with anxiety. Fats and oils, especially for fried food, make digestion harder. Sugar, on the other hand, gives good energy but also makes one prone to crash. It also upsets insulin balance, leading to a cascade of hormonal changes that may prove detrimental to one who has anxiety.
Anxiety may be a tricky problem, but it is by no means incurable. Sticking to this diet plan helps a great deal to naturally treat this.
- READ MORE