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10 Foods That Help Tame Anxiety

Nutrition can have a powerful impact on anxiety. Learn how to incorporate foods that help with anxiety into your diet to help ease your mind.

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Depressed businesswomanPhoto: Shutterstock/KieferPix

In this fast-paced society it’s no surprise that anxiety disorder tops the chart as the most common mental illness in the United States. A daily dose of these top anti-anxiety foods can help tame those anxious feelings and focus your mind on more positive thoughts.

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green and purple cabbage, leek on market for saleM DOGAN/Shutterstock

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are packed with the amino acid, glutamine. Although glutamine is considered a non-essential amino acid, it actually becomes essential when our body is in a state of stress. Anxiety sends our body into a fight or flight mode. Combat the emotions by topping your favorite sandwich with this cruciferous-packed Giardiniera. Or, try one of these broccoli recipes that even picky eaters will love or learn new, delicious ways to cook cauliflower.

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Bone Broth in Small Soup Bowl Served with Fresh Herbs, Garlic and SpicesPhoto: Shutterstock/Anna Hoychuk

Bone Broth

Sipping a cup of bone broth serves up a healthy dose of essential minerals, and also two amino acids, proline and glycine. Did you know that stress breaks down our skin, as well? Proline and glycine are part of collagen synthesis which keeps our skin healthy, and are also related to brain health. Here’s a classic recipe for bone broth to get you started.

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Sources of omega 3 fatty acids: flaxseeds, avocado, walnuts and sunflowerPhoto: Shutterstock/morisfoto

Monounsaturated Fats

Avocados, nuts and seeds have the healthy monounsaturated fats, which promote brain and gut health, and have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders. Kick anxiety to the curb by snacking on a handful of nuts each day or try one of these addicting avocado recipes for a dose of healthy fats.

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Dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate

Rich, creamy chocolate absolutely has a place in a healthy diet. In fact, dark chocolate is a good source of magnesium, and diets low in magnesium have been found to worsen anxiety. Fight the anxiousness with a steamy cup of Landmark Hot Chocolate or serve up a slice of this decadent Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake.

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Fresh salmon with spices

Omega-3 Rich Foods

Salmon, sardines, chia seeds and flaxseeds are all stout sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and these healthy fats have a hand in our emotional well-being and have been used in the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders. Learn how to add flaxseeds to recipes or try one of these quick and easy top 10 salmon recipes.

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berries on a wooden cutting boardPhoto: Shutterstock / iravgustin

Antioxidant-Rich Fruit

The bold, rich colors of blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, acai berry, and currants have their place in the anti-anxiety diet list. They are loaded with potent polyphenols, which are trending in treatments for mental health disorders. Jump start your mornings with these berry-filled breakfasts or serve up this Berry Nectarine Salad at your next meal.

 

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Huge carton of eggsPhoto: Shutterstock / Nutthawutphoto

Eggs

Stress and anxiety can also cause damage inside our bodies. The golden yolks of eggs boast zinc and selenium, both of which are potent antioxidants that help heal oxidative stress in our bodies. Did you know eggs are also an egg-cellent source of Vitamin D? Vitamin D is also used in the treatment and care of mental health disorders. Eggs aren’t just for breakfast, they’re fast, easy and inexpensive for lunch and dinner, too.

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Fresh cherry juicePhoto: Shutterstokck/Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH

Tart Cherry Juice

Lack of sleep is a trigger for anxiety, and sipping on tart cherry juice will help you get more zzzzz’s. A recent study suggests that drinking one cup of tart cherry juice in the morning and another in the evening can help ease insomnia. Want to know more about cherries? Here are some fun facts to get you started.

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chicken pot piePhoto: Taste of Home

Comfort Foods

What foods do you crave when you’re feeling blue? There’s actual science to support the healing effects of comfort foods on our emotional well-being. Dish up your favorite chicken pot pie with steamed broccoli, shepherd’s pie with an arugula salad or another classic comfort food recipe to boost your mood.

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Fermented vegetables in jars. Vegetarian food conceptPhoto: Shutterstock/bitt24

Fermented Foods

Have you heard that your gut is your second brain? Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, tempeh and fermented pickles can help fight the blues by improving gut health and absorbing essential nutrients to regulate hormones. Kick off your morning with a yogurt parfait or glass of kefir. Check out this article to learn all about the health benefits of fermented foods.

Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RDN
As a registered dietitian Wendy Jo touches on the science and facts behind food, but as a gardener and world traveler she savors the classical dishes our great-grandmothers once made. When she’s not in her kitchen, you can find her and her family exploring the US in their campervan, Olaf!

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