• Maria Cecilia Pfund, FRHC Nutrition Specialist

Foods to Reduce Anxiety

In times of pandemic and holiday season, many people experience anxiety. Also, anxiety is prevalent when depression is present, approximately half of those with depression also experience anxiety. The good news is that something we do every day: eat, can make a positive impact in managing anxiety. In addition to general recommendations, such as eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine, other dietary considerations can help reduce anxiety. For example, complex carbohydrates (food rich in fiber) are metabolized slowly, helping maintain an even blood sugar level, creating a calmer feeling.


Having meal schedule, eating throughout the day, is also important. If one skips meals blood sugar may drop, which may worsen anxiety.

Animal studies have shown diets low in magnesium increase anxiety-related behaviors. Therefore, adding magnesium rich foods may help to feel calmer. Examples include leafy greens, such as spinach and Swiss chard. Other sources include legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

Many studies have shown omega-3’s effect on reducing anxiety and depression. Foods such as fatty fish, and walnuts are good sources of omega 3.


Take-Home Message: Food may help manage anxiety. In addition to eating balanced meals and avoiding sugary drinks; increasing the intake of fiber-rich, magnesium and omega 3 foods can have positive impacts on one’s mental health.

Reference


Naidoo, U. (2019, August 29). Nutritional strategies to ease anxiety. Harvard Health Blog. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-strategies-to-ease-anxiety-201604139441

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