Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension and worrying.
It can be so severe that it actually causes physical symptoms such as a racing heart, headaches and stomach pains.
According to beyond blue, over two million Australians experience anxiety, with the number scarily increasing every year.
The positive is, there are so many natural foods and food groups that have strong anti-anxiety or stress-reducing properties. There are also foods that should be avoided if you’re feeling anxious.
To help combat the symptoms of anxiety naturally, try embracing the following foods and food groups:
Lentils and eggs are both great vegetarian-friendly protein sources. Image: Unsplash.
Protein is the very first food group that should be introduced into your eating plan, in an attempt to reduce stress.
Amino acids are needed as they are the structural building blocks to many proteins including hormones and neurotransmitters such as serotonin.
Serotonin is known as the happy hormone, and higher levels of serotonin are known for improved mood and brain cognition, while lower levels are associated with depression and anxiety.
You can up your fatty acid intake simply with a few walnuts for breakfast, or adding smoked or tinned salmon to your toast. Image: Unsplash.
Fatty acids are crucial for the brain to function properly, especially omega 3 fatty acids. Increase your intake of foods like flaxseeds, fatty fish like salmon and walnuts – these will stimulate the neurotransmitters in the brain and help to keep it ‘happy’.
Foods high in magnesium can help prevent stress hormones from entering your brain, stopping them at the source. Image: Getty.
Magnesium deficiency can be an important factor to stress and anxiety. Magnesium is considered to be an extremely calming mineral and it can effectively induce relaxation in the human brain.
Magnesium acts as a very important blood-brain barrier that prevents the entry of the stress hormones into the brain, which can then reduces the amount of anxiety. Foods rich in magnesium like spinach, almonds, peanuts, cashews, and whole wheat must be incorporated in your daily diet.
There are so many animal and plant-based sources of Vitamin B. Take your pick. Image: Getty.
Vitamin B has a lot of functions, one of them being an essential part of regulating brain function which influences moods and emotions. Consuming foods rich in vitamin B complex like almonds, beef and avocado can be added to your regime to help combat everyday stress and anxiety.
If you’re prone to being anxious, try avoiding the following:
Make coffee a sometimes food, instead of a daily essential. Image: Unsplash.
Those who suffer from anxiety should avoid caffeine at all costs. Caffeine is a stimulant and psychoactive drug, which can make you feel jittery and gets your heart racing. This can effect sleep and your cortisol levels. Try swapping your daily cup of coffee with a calming cup of chamomile tea, or a warm turmeric latte before bed instead.
Listen to your mind and body when drinking alcohol. Image: Unsplash.
Some might think having that glass of wine in the evening can actually help you relax (which it can, if you’re in the right state of mind!), but for some people with an anxious tendency, alcohol can have a reverse effect and can also interrupt sleep.
Although diet is extremely important to managing anxiety naturally, lifestyle factors are just as important. Sleep is imperative for every single person and getting the recommended eight to 10 hours a night is crucial for overall health.
If you are struggling to sleep, I’d recommend taking magnesium before bed, and adding foods high in magnesium into your regime, like spinach and almonds, and reducing screen time before bed.
It may sound simple, but focusing on your breathing while you’re in bed and blocking out other thoughts will help you relax.
Anxiety is a real condition that must be taken seriously and under professional guidance, these food inclusions can help the severity of anxiety.
Jess Blair is a Naturopath, Nutritionist and Founder of holistic lifestyle education and consultation platform, Wellness by Blair. You can follow her on Instagram too, on @wellnessbyblair.
Originally published: https://www.mamamia.com.au/natural-anxiety-remedies/