About 30% of Americans suffer from anxiety.1 But only about a third of people with it are getting help. It comes mainly from medications that carry serious side effects…like depression and hallucinations.2
The good news is it’s easy to treat naturally. And it all starts with your diet.
Here are five foods that help reduce anxiety:
1. Blueberries: These have a higher score on the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) scale than almost any other fruit.3 This means more antioxidants to fight off free radicals. One study found patients reduced their anxiety in just six weeks by eating blueberries.4
They also help lower blood sugar. This is important. An imbalance of blood sugar levels disrupts your brain’s neurotransmitters. A study found diabetics had up to 20% more anxiety.5 Researchers also found anxiety to be a symptom of hypoglycemia.6
Just make sure to buy them organic whenever possible. You may be able to find them frozen if your grocer doesn’t carry them fresh.
2. Turkey: You’re aware of the infamous sleep aid tryptophan… But it doesn’t just make us sleepy. It keeps us calm by releasing serotonin. That’s the “feel good” chemical.7 A two-week study concluded tryptophan can help reduce social anxiety.8
It’s also a good source of B vitamins and protein. Not having enough vitamin B prevents neurotransmitters from regulating your mood.9 And a lack of protein stops the development of neurotransmitters.10 Both can lead to nervous disorders like anxiety.
Look for pastured varieties of turkey. If you can’t find it in stores, try your local farmer’s market. Free-range organic turkey is a great second choice.
3. Spinach: It’s high in magnesium—a mineral most people aren’t getting enough of. A deficiency can cause anxiety. In fact, several studies found getting more magnesium can help reduce anxiety.11 It also helps fight depression. About 50% of people suffering from depression are also diagnosed with anxiety.12
Spinach contains a high dose of folic acid. It helps with the synthesis of homocysteine. This process aids in mood regulation.13 Some studies show up to 38% of people with depression have low levels of folic acid.14 And another study found that when patients received this compound, their depression decreased by 93%.15 Be sure to buy organic spinach whenever possible.
4. Almonds: This is another great source of protein. They’re also rich in magnesium and calcium. These two important chemicals work together to support the nervous system. If you’re short on one, your mood can drop.
Almonds also give you high amounts of vitamin B2, iron, potassium, and zinc. They help regulate mood and lower the risks of anxiety. Your best bet is to try snacking on raw, organic almonds. You can also try adding them to a salad for extra texture and flavor.
5. Salmon: This freshwater fish is known for its omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers found high levels of omega-3 reduced depression symptoms by 53%.16 Salmon is another food packed with B vitamins, like niacin. It helps nerves to function properly.17
This fish is also a good source of vitamin D3. Having adequate levels may help you fight off feelings depression that can come with anxiety. Aim for fresh, wild-caught salmon whenever you can. Avoid the farmed varieties.
Getting more of these foods into your diet may help calm your nerves—without the worry of harmful side effects. Try starting your day with a serving of blueberries. Almonds make a great mid-afternoon snack. Serving spinach along with turkey or salmon for dinner is a good way to double-down on natural antianxiety power.
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