Affecting roughly 40 million adults, anxiety disorders in America are not uncommon. And with anxiety diagnoses continuing to rise, many people are beginning to seek more holistic treatments. Medication and therapy have been the standard treatment options for decades. While these methods may help people find relief, others don’t achieve the results they’re seeking.
This discrepancy has prompted many experts to research other treatment options, and to take a broader look at mental health. One area of growing interest is diet. Recent research has suggested that our diets may play a bigger role in our mental health than we previously thought.
Research has shown that certain types of natural supplements found in various foods can help with anxiety. These natural remedies include:
Research has linked lower levels of magnesium to lower levels of serotonin – a naturally-occurring chemical linked to stabilizing mood. Magnesium is also thought to work at the cellular level to help block stress hormones from entering the brain. If you’re feeling anxious, try adding more magnesium-rich foods like eggs, spinach, and chard.
Foods rich in antioxidants work to protect the brain against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress contributes to inflammation, which in turn, can inhibit neurotransmitter production. Similar to magnesium, research has shown that lower levels of antioxidants have been linked to higher levels of anxiety, and antioxidants could even help stabilize mood. Try eating more blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach, to name a few.
Vitamin B is good for the nervous system and can help aide in the production of neurotransmitters (like serotonin). Vitamin B6, in particular, has been tied to serotonin production. One study even found a connection between depressed and anxious participants and an improved mood after taking a higher dose of B vitamins over a period of time. To increase your intake of vitamin B through your diet, try eating more foods like avocados, almonds, and eggs. Beef is high in B vitamins, but also comes with more cholesterol and saturated fats, so limit your intake of red meats.
The balance of gut bacteria may play a role in your mental health. While more research is still needed, some studies have found a connection between regular consumption of probiotic yogurt and lower levels of stress. Probiotics could inhibit free radicals and neurotoxins, both of which can be anxiety-inducing. If you don’t like yogurt, try other fermented foods like kombucha, pickles, or sauerkraut.
While research is still emerging about the importance of certain foods to lower anxiety, there is strong research supporting that certain foods can support brain health. So, if you’re looking for some extra help in managing your anxiety, diet changes may be an area to explore. And if you’d like to learn more about Neurocore’s anxiety disorder program, give us a call at 800.600.4096.
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