Author- Kurt LaCapruccia, D.S.S. (Diploma in Dietary Supplement Science)
Published- October 16, 2018
Natural Foods: The World-Changing Alternative
Organic diets are becoming increasingly popular as more people are experiencing health benefits from the use of nutrient-packed foods over pharmaceutical drugs. Health can be freedom from fast foods, soft drinks or using specific foods to balance your mood. Organic food is powerful.
But will these foods for anxiety one day rule the world?
I have a good feeling about it.
The first place to begin is to educate the world that symptoms of anxiety can be reduced through organic foods for anxiety. These nutrient-packed foods for anxiety contain essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to balance your mood, lower your blood sugar and decrease your risk of depression.
Discover these 8 Foods for Anxiety that could help you achieve a healthier body and mind!
1. Salmon- Healthy Fats and Vitamin D
Your brain loves good fat! And yes, there is such thing as healthy fats.
Salmon naturally promotes brain health through two healthy Omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA. The benefits of DHA and EPA include regulation of the neurotransmitters Dopamine and Serotonin.
When these neurotransmitters are regulating and decreasing oxidative stress in the body, the brain is ready to adapt to changes and will promote calming effects.
Salmon is also dense in Vitamin D. Studies have shown Vitamin D should be supplied through dietary sources rather than sunlight. (1)
Diets high in Vitamin D have been shown to promote anxiety relief. (2) Salmon promotes weight loss as an additional benefit.
To absorb salmon health benefits of EPA and DHA, we recommend purchasing wild salmon. Wild Salmon such as Wild King Salmon and Alaskan Salmon have the highest nutrient content without the harmful antibiotics of farmed salmon.
Baked or Grilled Salmon with an organic salmon seasoning is the best option to feel the EPA and DHA benefits. We do not recommend fried Salmon as the Vitamin D and Omega fat levels are depleted.
I did not care for the taste of Salmon until I tried Wild Salmon. The difference in taste and digestion have made me a Salmon-lover and Wild-Caught enthusiast.
Summary- Wild Salmon is a dense source Vitamin D, EPA and DHA to boost your levels of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Avoid fried Salmon or farmed Salmon.
2. Chia Seeds- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Why are Chia Seeds a food for anxiety? Chia seeds are ancient powerhouses of Omega 3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAS). These fats have been shown to reduce inflammation and lower blood sugar.
The benefits of Chia Seeds include reduction in three categories: inflammation, oxidative stress and overactive brain cells. Studies have shown overactive brain cells paired with low levels of GABA as a possible source of anxiety and depression.
Unlike mainstream pharmaceuticals, Chia Seeds naturally stimulate GABA receptors which could reduce symptoms of anxiety. (3)
Studies have shown the high fiber content in Chia Seeds can boost metabolism and digestive system. (4)
Incorporating the benefits of Chia Seeds into your healthy lifestyle is simple and easy. I began introducing Chia Seeds to my healthy diet five years ago, they have become the staple of my oatmeal breakfast bowls.
Chia Seeds are perfect for bowls, smoothies and salads! One half cup of Chia Seeds in water or organic juice is a convenient “Chia Seed Drink” to make sure you are boosting your levels of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Most health food grocery stores are suppliers of where to buy Chia Seeds.
Summary- Chia Seeds naturally stimulate GABA receptors which reduce overactive brain cells in the brain.
3. Green Tea- L-Theanine
Green Tea is a good source of two neurotransmitters that have anti-anxiety effects: L-Theanine and Epigallocatechin Gallate (ECGC).
L-Theanine is an amino acid that inhibits neurons in the brain from causing anxiety through over-excitement. It calms these nerves by activating GABA receptors that decreases levels of cortisol. (5)
Additional benefits of L-Theanine include synthesis of Serotonin and Dopamine which could ease anxiety symptoms.
Epigallocatechin Gallate (ECGC) is an important antioxidant that promotes brain health by increasing levels of GABA in the brain.
Studies have shown people who drink two to three cups of green tea daily experience lower psychological stress. (4)
Summary- L-Theanine in Green Tea promotes calmness in the brain.
4. Kombucha- Probiotics
Fermented foods are the trend these days, and for good reason.
Gut health directly affects mental health. The “Gut-Brain Axis” describes the relationship between the gut and the central nervous system. (5)
The Gut-Brain Axis explains how positive mental health is the result of a healthy gut. When the gut is non-toxic and is actively purging itself of heavy metals, the mind is purified, calm and clear.
Probiotics are defined as any substance which promotes the healthy growth of good bacteria, or probiotics, in the gut. Evidence has shown Probiotics decrease levels of Cortisol, the hormone that regulates stress, mood and brain function. (6) My journey with Kombucha began in my college days when I first understood the positive effects of Probiotics.
The fermented taste of Kombucha is a hit or miss. I was not impressed with the taste right off the bat. But I understood the power of Probiotics and new flavors have made Kombucha a better tasting experience.
High levels of cortisol is evidenced to raise levels of anxiety and depression. Incorporating Probiotics through Probiotic foods like Kombucha is a safe and natural direction toward reducing anxiety and depression.
Kombucha is a trending “super-tea” for good reason. It is also becoming a community where you can get encouragement and new ideas on your health journey. Support groups like Kombucha KommUnity are great sources to meet other like-minded health enthusiasts.
Naturally fermented with billions of Prebiotic stands, Kombucha is an organic solution to decrease levels of cortisol.
Kombucha can either be brewed at home or purchased at your local health supplier. Being loaded with Vitamin B is an additional reason why Kombucha belongs in your diet.
Summary- Kombucha is a fermented food that has positive effects on gut health. When you fix your gut, your mental health benefits as well.
5. Cashews- Zinc
Studies have now established a link between Zinc deficiencies and symptoms of depression. (7)
Animal studies show rodents with lower Zinc levels as unable to absorb antidepressants. (8) This could show how higher levels of Zinc impact anxiety and depression.
Described as the “Worlds Healthiest Food” Cashews are powerhouses of zinc, fiber and healthy fats that provide our body with essential vitamins and minerals. (9)
Cashews have a low G.I. Index, making them easy for absorption. They contain up to 20% Zinc for one quarter cup. Adding Cashews as an afternoon snack is an easy way to boost your levels of Zinc.
Summary- Cashews are Zinc dense with a low G.I. Index making them easily absorbed.
6. Dark Chocolate- Nitric Oxide
Chocolate for anxiety relief? You got that right. Dark Chocolate is an important food for anxiety.
Dark Chocolate relaxes blood vessels by sending Nitric Oxide to the inner lining of the blood vessel, the Endolethium. (10) Relaxed blood vessels improves both blood flow and blood pressure.
The brain significantly benefits from relaxed blood vessels. Improvements in blood flow and decreased blood pressure increases the cognitive performance of the brain. (11) When the brain comfortably adapts to new or stressful situations, feelings of anxiety decrease. (12)
Antioxidants are important for reducing anxiety because they decrease pressure on blood vessels. When I began experimenting with Dark Chocolate to reduce my anxiety in 2013, I did not think I would feel the difference as quickly as I did.
Dark Chocolate might be bitter to the taste. Not many people will disagree with Dark Chocolate being an acquired taste. When you begin introducing Dark Chocolate to your healthy lifestyle it could be paired with a drizzle of honey to make it palatable.
Beginning with 30% Dark Chocolate is one step toward reaching your goal of being comfortable with 70-80% Dark Chocolate. I would not recommend beginning with 70-80% as this could discourage you from believing you could add such a bitter taste to your diet.
Remember, Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate are two different subjects in the health world. The vital Flavanols have been depleted in Milk Chocolate as heavy processing and added sugar render little health benefits. Milk Chocolate is undeniably delicious, but is relatively unprofitable for your fight with Anxiety.
Summary- Flavanols decrease blood pressure and increase blood flow. Dark Chocolate is a Flavanol dense antioxidant that reduces pressure on the blood vessel.
7. Turkey- Tryptophan
Serotonin production could be the most important subject in naturally reducing anxiety as it is considered a major antidepressant. Researchers believe increased levels of Serotonin could reduce feelings of depression.
The evidence to support this claim is unsubstantiated. The link between low Serotonin levels and Depression is an ongoing conversation in the health world.
Turkey is a food naturally dense in Tryptophan, an amino acid that produces Niacin and Serotonin. The body needs Serotonin to regulate mood and social behavior. Studies have shown low levels of Serotonin being a possible cause of depression and anxiety. (14)
It is theorized low-levels of Serotonin is the cause of Depression. While studies show Serotonin increasing to combat states of depression, researchers have discovered that SSRIS have only moderate benefits over placebo experiments. (12)
Mainstream pharmaceuticals like XANAX are designed to stimulate and increase Serotonin by triggering GABA receptors in the brain. Drugs like XANAX should be carefully considered as it requires long term usage before your body becomes unable to kill XANAX cells. In adult rodents, SSRIS like Xanax have been found to increase depression. (13)
Summary- Tryptophan found in Turkey is a safe and natural source to promote levels of Serotonin.
8. Avocado- Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid
In the case of Avocado, one Avocado a day could keep the psychiatrist away. Avocado is the most versatile food for anxiety.
Avocado boasts an impressive resume of anti-anxiety nutrients including Tryptophan, Vitamin B12, Folate, Fiber and Omega 3.
Maintaining levels of Vitamin B12 is essential to stabilize your mood and brain function. It is becoming accepted in the medical community that Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety symptoms. (14) Avocado contains both Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid which studies have shown to be a powerful combination to stabilize mood.
Summary- Avocado is a “wonder food” containing two powerful nutrients for anxiety reduction: Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid.
4 Foods to Avoid at All Cost
To naturally ease anxiety, you need to build a diet consisting of good sources that reduce inflammation. These four foods are sources of inflammation which should be avoided at all cost. Save your money for good sources of food like wild caught Salmon, Avocados and fermented foods and drinks like Kombucha.
These 4 Foods may ruin your health goals and put you at risk of depression.
- Candy and Sodas- Sugar spikes cortisol levels causing hormonal imbalance. (15)
- Milk- Studies have shown casein, the protein in Dairy products, causes inflammation. (16)
- Processed Breads- Interferes with digestion causing inflammation. (17)
- Canola Oil- Processed, GMO foods are unrecognizable by the body.
As much as I wish such a food existed, there is no “one food cure-all” to naturally ease anxiety and lower the risk of depression. No food is made exclusively for anxiety, that is why it is important to understand the nutrients which can promote calming effects and ease anxiety symptoms. Although this could be discouraging, there is something exciting about doing your research to create your own personalized diet consisting of raw fruits and vegetables to reduce social anxiety.
Reducing anxiety is complex, and can be discouraging from time to time. But the natural path is the safest path to mental freedom. It may be a longer route to wellness, but it disciplines in us a sustainable model that we can trust as we learn what foods for anxiety can naturally reduce inflammation.
Incorporating these eight foods is a safe starting point to reduce inflammation and promote strong mental health. Included is the specific nutrient your body needs to reduce inflammation.
- Salmon- Healthy Fats and Vitamin D
- Chia Seeds- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Green Tea- L-Theanine
- Kombucha- Probiotics
- Cashews- Zinc
- Dark Chocolate- Nitric Oxide
- Turkey- Tryptophan
- Avocado- Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid
For those who might struggle to integrate such foods for anxiety in their diet due to issues of finance or convenience, we recommend our Life Vitality MultiMax Advanced. This daily multiple contains most of the above mentioned foods and nutrients, and much more – all for a very reasonable price!
Mention in the comments if you have experienced the benefits of these foods for anxiety!
Thank you for taking the time to read Will These 8 Foods for Anxiety Ever Rule the World?
Your success is our passion. If you have any questions or contributions, please contact us via email or phone-call. We are constantly looking for new information to promote wellness – and hearing from you would make our day! Feel free to reach out to our free Health and Wellness Consultation headed by our Certified Health Consultant, Kurt LaCapruccia, D.S.S. (Diploma in Dietary Supplement Science).
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