Most of us know that stress and anxiety can be fairly common. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, with roughly 18% of adults struggling with anxiety (according to the National Institute of Mental Health). Although others can relate, when you are experiencing a panic attack or are overwhelmed in a stressful situation, it may seem like you are alone and there is no way out.
Luckily, there are ways to get help. Aside from medications or therapy as prescribed by your doctor, you can look to food to help ease your anxiety. Things like eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption can have a positive effect on your symptoms. Here are some specific foods that can help to calm your nerves.
Since studies on mice have shown that diets low in magnesium lead to increased anxiety, it is believed that magnesium-rich diets help people feel calmer. Leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard are high in magnesium and provide other healthful nutrients.
Chamomile in particular can significantly decrease anxiety symptoms, according to a 2009 study from the University of Pennsylvania.
Wild Alaskan Salmon
Many studies show that a diet rich in omega-3s can lower depression and anxiety rates. Get your omega-3s from fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon or you can try grass-fed beef.
Studies on both rats and humans found that foods rich in zinc have been linked to lowered anxiety. Oysters, cashews, beef, liver, and egg yolks are all great sources for zinc.
Recently, links between probiotic foods and lowered anxiety have been suggested. In general, it is believed that gut health impacts overall health. Try pickles, sauerkraut, or kefir to improve your gut health and decrease your anxiety.
If your anxiety symptoms are severe or last more than two weeks, it is advised that you speak with a doctor. Be sure to inquire about dietary changes to supplement any medication or therapy prescribed. While food cannot replace traditional treatment methods, it may help with symptoms and overall health.
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