Anxiety is a prevalent medical disorder. In fact, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that roughly 40 million U.S. adults are currently being treated for an anxiety disorder. And while medication is the most common treatment to calm symptoms of nervousness, social anxiety, and overwhelming worry, several additional strategies like diet an exercise can offer additional anxiety relief.
Here are some anxiety-calming foods you can likely find in your kitchen:
While many fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, such as flavonoids and vitamin C, blueberries in particular have been studied by scientists for their ability to boost brain health while calming anxiety. For instance a 2014 study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine noted that foods rich in antioxidants naturally suppress the oxidative stress (OS) pathway to protect the brain from neuronal damage caused by oxidative stress, and lesson symptoms of both depression and anxiety.
Turmeric spice is well known for its distinctive orange-yellow hue. However, this spice is extremely rich in curcumin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that’s linked to boosting brain health and anxiety relief. According to a 2014 animal and test tube study from the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, curcumin increased levels of DHA (a beneficial omega-3 fatty acid) in the brain producing significant anxiety calming effects in test mice.
While you assume the probiotics from yogurt are good for your gut; they are also able to calm anxiety levels, according to 2014 research published by the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. The research claimed yogurt with healthy bacteria (or probiotics) positively boosted feelings of well-being while promoting brain function, positive mental health and inhibiting free radical nerve damage within the brain, which is believed to contribute to anxiety.
- Chia seeds
While many seeds and nuts are considered rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds in particular are loaded with the brain-promoting fatty acids. A 2015 Korean study published by the Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience Scientific Journal linked foods rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, like chia seeds, with the prevention of mood and anxiety disorders.
- Dark chocolate
Many will rejoice at the idea of incorporating dark chocolate into their diets, especially when it calms anxiety symptoms. Thanks to the antioxidant rich flavanols within, dark chocolate is credited for improving blood flow to the brain, which lets the brain better adjust and cope with stress. Dark chocolate is also linked to increasing serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps to significantly lower anxiety and create feelings of comfort.