September 10, 2020 4 min read
Anxiety is a common problem for many people, but these 3 foods could help to reduce it.
It’s a disorder characterized by constant worry and nervousness, and is sometimes related to poor brain health. Medication is often required as treatment.
Aside from medication, there are alternative approaches you can use to help reduce anxiety symptoms, from exercising to deep breathing.
Additionally, there are some foods you can eat that may help lower the severity of your symptoms, mostly due to their brain-boosting properties.
Here are 3 science-backed foods and beverages that may provide some anxiety relief.
Salmon may be beneficial for reducing anxiety.
It contains nutrients that promote brain health, including vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (source 1, source 2, source 3, source 4).
EPA and DHA may help regulate the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which can have calming and relaxing properties.
Additionally, studies show these fatty acids can reduce inflammation and prevent brain cell dysfunction that leads to the development of mental disorders like anxiety.
Consuming adequate amounts of EPA and DHA may also promote your brain’s ability to adapt to changes, allowing you to better handle stressors that trigger anxiety symptoms (source 5).
Vitamin D has also been studied for the positive effects it may have on improving levels of calming neurotransmitters (source 6, source 7).
Even a few servings of salmon a week may be enough to promote anxiety relief.
In one study, men who ate Atlantic salmon three times per week for five months reported less anxiety than those who ate chicken, pork or beef. Moreover, they had improved anxiety-related symptoms, such as heart rate and heart rate variability (source 8).
Try these two Balanced Foods meals featuring Salmon:
Omega Salmon & Roasted Veggies & Salmon
Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that has been studied for the positive effects it may have on brain health and anxiety reduction (source 9).
In one small study, people who consumed L-theanine experienced a reduction in psychological stress responses that are commonly associated with anxiety, such as increased heart rate (source 10).
Another study found that those who drank a beverage that contained L-theanine had decreased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone linked with anxiety (source 11).
These effects may be due to L-theanine’s potential to prevent nerves from becoming overexcited. Additionally, L-theanine may increase GABA, dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that have been shown to have anti-anxiety effects (source 12).
Moreover, green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant suggested to promote brain health. It may play a role in reducing certain symptoms by also increasing GABA in the brain (source 13).
One mouse study found that EGCG produced anti-anxiety effects similar to those of common anxiety medications (source 14).
The beneficial properties of L-theanine and EGCG may be a major reason why drinking several cups of green tea daily is associated with less psychological distress (source 15).
While all of these findings are promising, it is worth mentioning that most of the research on green tea and anxiety has been conducted in animals and test tubes. More human research is needed to confirm its anti-anxiety effects.
While some of the foods listed below have not been studied specifically for their anti-anxiety effects, they are rich in nutrients thought to improve related symptoms.
Overall, research is sparse on the topic of specific foods and anxiety prevention.
Most studies have been conducted on animals or in laboratories, and more high-quality human studies are needed.
However, there are several foods and beverages that may help you deal with your anxiety symptoms, as they may reduce inflammation and boost brain health.
At Balanced Foods, our goal is to help our communities have a better, easier way to add healthy, nutritious meals to their daily intake.
Because when you eat better, you feel better. And when you feel better, you live better!
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