View Full Version : Foods to help with anxiety

09-06-16, 09:49 AM
I came across this completely by accident this morning, and I thought it was very helpful. Overall I've been trying to eat better in the past year and I see that some of the foods mentioned that I eat occasionally are actually "soothing". (spinach, avocado, red kidney beans, cashews, strawberries). I really hope this helps someone :)

DEAR DOCTOR K: I suffer from anxiety but would rather not take medication. I already exercise and practice relaxation therapy. Could dietary changes help further quell my worries?

DEAR READER: To help answer your question, I turned to my colleague Dr. Uma Naidoo. She is a psychiatrist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital and a professional chef. She noted that the relationship between food, mood and anxiety is garnering more and more attention.

When thinking about dietary strategies to help relieve anxiety, start with the basics. That means eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine.

But there's a lot more. Many other dietary considerations can also help relieve anxiety. For example, complex carbohydrates are metabolized more slowly and therefore help maintain a more even blood sugar level.

Why is that important? When blood sugar levels swing from high to low, the heart begins to beat faster and more forcefully. The hands can start trembling. People start to sweat. All these physical changes often produce anxiety. Anxiety, in turn, makes all of these changes more prominent -- leading to more anxiety, and a vicious circle.

So, maintaining a more even blood sugar level creates a calmer feeling. The take-home? Choose whole grains, vegetables and fruits over highly refined or processed foods to help keep blood sugar -- and mood -- more stable.

When you eat is also important. Don't skip meals. Doing so may result in a drop in blood sugar that causes you to feel jittery, worsening underlying anxiety.

Specific foods and nutrients can reduce anxiety. They spur the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Low levels of these brain chemicals are believed to play a role in anxiety and depression. These "feel good" foods are a safe and easy first step in managing anxiety. They include:

-- Foods naturally rich in magnesium, including spinach, Swiss chard, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

-- Foods rich in zinc, such as oysters, cashews, liver, beef and egg yolks.

-- Foods, like fatty fish, that contain omega-3 fatty acid.

-- Foods rich in B vitamins, such as avocado and almonds.

Anxiety may also be linked with lower levels of antioxidants in the body. It stands to reason, then, that enhancing your diet with foods rich in antioxidants may help ease the symptoms of anxiety. Foods containing high levels of antioxidants include:

-- Beans: dried small red, pinto, black, red kidney

-- Fruits: apples, prunes, sweet cherries, plums, black plums

-- Berries: blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries

-- Nuts: walnuts, pecans

-- Vegetables: artichokes, kale, spinach, beets, broccoli

-- Spices: turmeric and ginger.

Nutritional therapy is not intended to replace other treatments. Talk to your doctor if your anxiety symptoms are severe or last more than two weeks.

09-06-16, 10:54 AM
Thank you for sharing this. I can never say enough about how much better I feel overall since flipping my dietary script.

I eat all of the above, minus any animal carcasses or products, and was able to eliminate the need for xanax to get through my days and nights as an addition to sleeping meds, as well as the adderall, wellbutrin, and ambien I used to need to try to sleep and function. The side effects of all of them left a lot to be desired, too. They helped me for a period of time, thankfully, but they weren't long term solutions for my biology.

Although I also eliminated other things, like my full-time job that was making my life hell on earth, I've learned without a doubt that what I fuel my body (and mind) with makes a huge difference in overall functionality for me. My fork and my breath have become two of my best treatment methods in dealing with my particular struggles. I never would have guessed.

09-06-16, 11:49 AM
Thank you Unmanagable :)

I didn't even make a lot of radical changes and then it just seemed so obvious that if I eat better I will feel better; and I truly do, and I've kept my weight down. but I had no idea that some foods could actually directly influence anxiety levels.

Even in the states this time, I was more selective about the things I love to have when I'm there, and found myself actually looking for fruit.

Little Missy
09-06-16, 12:32 PM
Sugar sends my anxiety into over drive. And it makes me want to buck and squeal and then take a nap.

09-06-16, 01:23 PM
High (>180mg/dl) blood sugar will make me sleepy.

Normal (70-110mg/dl) blood sugar doesn’t feel like anything.

Low (<60mg/dl) blood sugar means hypoglycemia, which is anxiety doubleplus ungood.

And for sure, what I eat has everything to do with blood sugar.


Little Missy
09-06-16, 04:51 PM
espresso! :)

09-06-16, 05:01 PM
espresso! :)

that's not on the list :)
but YES

09-06-16, 06:07 PM
Personally for me:
- Banana.
It replenishes potassium. It helps my anxiety too.

09-12-16, 11:43 AM
Cacao beans should also help a little bit.

They are natural stimulants containing caffeine, theobromine, magnesium and tryptophan which is metabolized to melatonin and serotonin.

Mind cacao beans are overheated to make chocolate and the heat destroys its healthy ingredients. Chocolate is not healthy and an industrial violated cacao product.

Cacao beans also contain PEA (Phenethylamin).

There is a healthy plants oil with proven anti-anxious effects but I dont want to infract rules to write its name. :-)