Anxiety is the most common disorder in the United States, affecting 40 million adults every year, and it is a common thing for someone with anxiety to have a diagnosis of depression. In fact, over 18 million adults are diagnosed with depression each year.
There are ways to prevent and fight anxiety and depression, like getting a healthy amount of sleep and drinking calming teas (like green tea and chamomile).
One of the most common ways to ease your symptoms is by changing your nutrition and diet, as food and nutrition play a big role in our physical and mental health. With that in mind, here are eight foods that fight anxiety and depression and that will help you on your path of self-care.
Help fight anxiety and depression by changing your nutrition and diet, as they play a big role in our physical and mental health. Try these 8 foods to ease your symptoms.
There are many foods that will help you on the path to self-care. When you order your groceries from your local grocery store, be sure to put some avocados on your list. This fruit is chock full of Vitamin B6, which aids in the production of serotonin (a nifty little chemical that helps influence your mood and may help relieve your anxiety and depression symptoms). And avocados aren’t just for guacamole! You can eat avocados sliced or smashed and spread on toast. You can even drink them in delicious smoothies.
In 2018, the Antidepressant Food Rankings List analyzed foods high in such nutrients like folate, iron, and potassium (said to be antidepressant nutrients). Leafy greens such as watercress, spinach, kale, dandelion greens, swiss chard, and chicory all made it onto this list because they contain a high amount of folate, a type of Vitamin B shown to help symptoms of depression. Leafy greens are not only foods that fight anxiety and depression, but they’re also awesome in a salad. You can also drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle them with salt, and bake them in the oven to make chips.
There are so many types of chocolate out there, and you may be tempted to grab the first candy bar you see. But when it comes to chocolate and to treating yourself, say yes to dark chocolate, no matter how you choose to consume it! The cocoa beans in dark chocolate have things called flavonoids, plant-based antioxidants linked to improving mood. So grab a dark chocolate bar, or mix up a tasty treat with cacao powder (the raw, natural form of chocolate)!
Studies going all the way back to the 1960s suggest people who suffer from anxiety and depression tend to have low levels of folate in their bodies. Much like leafy greens, asparagus is a vegetable high in folate, and versatile in cooking! Saute, steam, or grill it to serve as a side dish. If you’re a french fry lover, skip the salty greasy fries and cook asparagus to dip in hummus or bean dip instead.
Besides being a superfood, blueberries are a naturally sweet fruit chock full of Vitamin C (a vitamin our bodies naturally crave when we feel anxious or ). They can also help maintain healthy brain function and improve your memory! Grab a handful and eat them straight from the carton, or use them in a drink or delicious dessert.
Do you want something that has a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids (which are good for your heart) and is high in magnesium (which can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety)? Almonds are nuts with natural calming properties, and including them on your grocery list of foods that fight anxiety and depression will also help you fight your fatigue and help you
Pumpkins are associated with lattes and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. But there’s a little known part of the pumpkin that often gets neglected…the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are high in potassium, a mineral that balances electrolytes and regulates blood pressure. Potassium may also help reduce symptoms of anxiety, so grab some roasted pumpkin seeds and snack away!
Some studies have shown anxiety may be linked to your body not having enough antioxidants, or substances that can lessen cell damage. In addition to berries, fruits like apples, prunes, sweet cherries, and plums are all high in antioxidants. The best way to eat your fruit? Eat it fresh, or cut it up and sprinkle it on top of your cereal.
Especially in times of self-isolation and social distancing, self-care is more important than ever. Part of self-care is making sure you do your best to take care of your physical and mental health, and these foods will help you down that path.
What are some of your favorite foods from this list? How do you like to eat those foods?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.
About the Author
Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the fashion industry, collaborating with industry insiders and designers, getting insight on the latest trends.