7 Foods That Can Help Manage Anxiety

by Chelsey Grasso

Food can be a powerful tool when it comes to maintaining both physical and mental health. Case in point? These seven foods that help manage anxiety are a great place to start if you are looking to learn how your diet can and is affecting how you feel.

From getting enough nutrients for your neurotransmitters to work properly to lowering your blood pressure, these foods (and beverages!) can work wonders. While many people who suffer from anxiety know what kinds of things to avoid in their diet (alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods), what is less commonly talked about is what kinds of foods should be embraced with open arms... and mouths.

While food likely won't "solve" all of your anxiety issues, it will definitely have an impact, and that really shouldn't come as much of a surprise. After all, if certain foods can make us feel tired, panicked, or stressed, why wouldn't other foods be able to make us feel energized, refreshed, and calm? Anxiety is a battle that has many faces, and subsequently, there are many tactics that you can use to fight it. Therapy is one, medication is another, and diet is an important and influential third. Here are seven delicious places to start.

1. Almonds

Almonds have huge amounts of health benefits, especially when it comes to anxiety. They contain zinc, which helps to keep the mood balanced, as well as healthy fats for neurotransmitters and iron for brain activity. While a tired brain may not seem like an immediate link to anxiety, a lack of mental energy can actually cause you to become more anxious while in your fatigued state of mind.

2. Turkey

You know how everybody wants to take a nice, long nap after Thanksgiving dinner? That same tryptophan that puts everyone to sleep also serves as a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that's believed to act as a mood stabilizer. If you want to calm yourself down, then turkey can be a great go-to.

3. Avocados

Avocados really are a super food. Not only are they insanely good for your overall health (they contain fiber, heart-healthy fatty acids, potassium, and vitamins galore!), but they can do wonders for your brain as well. Containing more potassium than bananas, these mean greens can help lower blood pressure while also providing nutrients for your neurotransmitters in the form of B vitamins and monounsaturated fats.

4. Chamomile Tea

There's a reason chamomile tea is known as the bedtime tea, and that's because the effects of chamomile on the body are remarkably soothing. As it turns out, chamomile relaxes blood vessels while also smoothing muscle fibers through its hydroxylates content. A calmed physical system can no doubt lead to a more calming mental state of being.

5. Salmon

Salmon, along with any other fish that are high in fatty acids (think tuna, trout, and sardines), has been shown to help improve general mood, including assisting the brain with dealing with stress. It's the omega-3 fatty acids that are responsible for the reduction in anxiety and overall mood improvement.

6. Eggs

Breakfast is not the meal to skip, especially if you're a morning egg eater. Loaded with B vitamins, this delicious yet simple food keeps the brain operating at its best. Specifically high in choline, eggs can help keep the brain from becoming confused, irritable, or exhausted.

7. Water

Hydration is everything. Even the slightest bit of dehydration (did you know that if you're thirsty you can already be considered dehydrated?) can have a giant effect on your energy levels and general mood. Staying hydrated helps keep your body feeling regulated, and subsequently, may lead to lower levels of anxiety.

Images: David Di Veroli, Juan Jose Valencia Antia, Nur Afni Setiyaningrum, Monstruo Estudio/Unsplash; Pixabay