The best foods to eat to manage anxiety
Words: Emma Vidgen // @emma_vee
Eggs are my number one superfood and when it comes to managing anxiety eggs works wonders due to their tryptophan and vitamin D content. Tryptophan is an amino acid that converts to serotonin our 'happy hormone'. Tryptophan together with vitamin D, which helps to improve mood due to the many vitamin D receptors in the brain, are undoubtedly going to support your body's ability to combat stress and anxiety. Providing our body with the building blocks (foods) so the endless ripple effects of hormonal and enzymatic processes can unfold is the absolute best you can do for your wellbeing.
green or white tea
Green and white tea (and to a lesser degree black tea). In particular, Gyokuro which is a unique green tea that is only grown in the shade. The reason for this is due to the content of L-Theanine. L-theanine is an anxiolytic amino acid that promotes a sense of calm. It has a fairly quick effect and induces alpha brain waves which are the state of being alert yet relaxed. Similar to the effects of meditation. Often Anxiety can be a bi-effect from poor sleep or poor sleep can be a bi-effect from anxiety and the great news is that l-theanine is also known to improve sleep by reducing night waking and thus offers a more restful sleep.
Sunflower Seeds are brilliant for anxiety as they offer several nutritional benefits that can help manage and reduce anxiety. Because of the perfect balance of protein, fats and magnesium sunflower seeds make for a perfect snack between meals or as an addition to your salad on a daily or weekly basis. Anyone suffering from anxiety will almost always benefit from increasing their magnesium intake because this mineral is a stepping stone for a wide array of enzymes and vitamins to do their job in our cells. If we lack magnesium, it can greatly reduce our body's ability to work effectively. A few examples that are specific to anxiety are that magnesium, plant-based protein and natural fats affect our body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation.
Passionflower is such a beautiful herb and can be enjoyed as a tea — ideal for anyone prone to stress and anxiety. This herb has proven helpful in the treatment of severe PTSD. This is due to the plant's active constituent contents that can relieve anxiety and insomnia and is calming to the nervous system. You can drink this daily between meals particularly if you are feeling 'highly strung' and unsettled.
Chickpeas offer several benefits to combat and prevent anxiety. Due to the importance of maintaining a healthy digestive system to encourage a positive brain-gut connection the soluble and insoluble fibres in chickpeas along with the almost complete protein content, these little golden nuggets are ideal for snacking, salads and stews as they will keep you fuller for longer and help balance your blood sugar levels. Lastly, B6 the ultimate anti-anxiety vitamin (because it is the cofactor for the important neurotransmitter GABA) is present in high amounts and that simply put makes them a perfect addition to the diet in the prevention of anxiety.