In May we’ve been exploring natural remedies to reduce anxiety. During the 21 Days to Less Anxiety Challenge we’ve focused on mindfulness, movement and whole food to help introduce a little more Zen into our lives. As the challenge comes to an end I wanted to share a few tips for using food to help manage your mood.
A few of my favorites from the list of anti-anxiety foods: quinoa, avocado, tomatoes, salmon, black beans, eggs, spinach, tomatoes, nuts, berries, Greek yogurt, chamomile tea.
1. Eat a high protein breakfast. Aim for at least 20 grams of protein to start your day. Think eggs, breakfast burritos, smoked salmon, cottage cheese, turkey, quinoa with honey and soy milk, Greek yogurt with berries, oatmeal with nuts. This list of 19 Vegetarian Ways To Eat More Protein For Breakfast is a great resource. Eating a high protein breakfast keeps you full longer and helps keep your blood sugar steady. You’ll feel more energized and hopefully less likely to experience mood swings related to hunger (hangriness).
Strawberries, homemade granola and Greek yogurt make a delicious high protein breakfast using 3 foods from the list.
2. Swap out coffee for tea. Caffeine can be a major trigger for anxiety in some people, myself included. Think about trading your coffee for a cup of green tea (naturally caffeinated) or chamomile tea (naturally decaf). Both have been shown to produce a calming effect in the body. If you absolutely can’t live without a cup of coffee to start your day, think about reducing your intake and switching to tea after 12pm.
A chamomile/mint blend is one of my favorite teas.
3. Reduce added sugar and preservatives. Of all the elimination diets I’ve tried – gluten free, meat free, dairy free, sugar free, juice fasting – I notice the single change that makes the biggest impact on my mood and energy is getting rid of preservatives. By default cutting out processed foods reduces your sugar intake, too. Preparing and eating meals made with whole foods doesn’t have to be complicated and time intensive. It just takes some additional planning. Be sure to stock your fridge and pantry with healthy foods and don’t bother keeping junk food at home. And remember fruit is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Smoothies can be a sweet treat packed with anti-anxiety foods. This one has frozen berries, a banana, soy milk, Greek yogurt, flaxseed and a little bit of honey.
Bonus Tip: These 3 supplements may help reduce anxiety naturally. I recently had the opportunity to spend a day with Michael Lara, MD and a group of health care professionals learning about medicinal properties of food. Based on that information my husband and I decided to start taking this combination of supplements to boost our mental health. It’s been about a month and we’re so happy with the results that we plan to continue the daily routine.
- Vitamin B12 – Found naturally in meat, fish and dairy, B12 boosts mood, concentration and energy.
- Probiotics – Found in yogurt and kefir, probiotics not only ease digestive issues, but recent studies have linked the levels of good bacteria in your gut to mental health. Look for a supplement with a diverse culture, not just 1 or 2 strains.
- 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) – This naturally occurring amino acid is a chemical precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin and sleep hormone melatonin. It helps regulate sleep, mood and appetite.
These are the supplements we take at my house daily.
***Please remember that I’m not a medical professional and this is only my opinion based on my personal experience. It’s alway best to consult your physician, a nutritionist or a holistic health care professional for advise about dietary changes and supplements.