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Tips for Reducing Anxiety Through Diet

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 40 million adults—18% of the population—struggle with anxiety. Anxiety is normal; job interviews, public speaking and other everyday occurrences can cause anxiety.  It only becomes a problem when it extends beyond worry in an unreasonable, uncontrollable way. Anxiety can be a symptom of another mental illness, such as panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  Anxiety and anxiety disorders are the most common behavioral health issues in the U.S.

There are some important health habits that can help you manage anxiety. Eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine can help relieve anxiety.  Eating complex carbohydrates, which metabolize more slowly, help maintain a more even blood sugar level, creating a calmer feeling. A diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is a healthier option than eating a lot of simple carbohydrates found in processed foods. Here is a list of foods that can help you manage your anxiety.

Probiotics.  A recent study in the journal Psychiatry Research suggested a link between probiotic foods and a lowering of social anxiety. Pickles, sauerkraut, and kefir are great food sources of probiotics.  Serotonin is a complex chemical, modulating cognition, reward, learning, memory, and numerous physiological processes. It is also a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. A large percentage (about 95%) of serotonin receptors are found in the lining of the gut, and eating probiotic-rich foods is potentially a treatment for anxiety and depression.

Asparagus is high in the B-complex vitamin folate. Folate has been proven to produce dopamine in the brain, which not only makes one feel happier, but also reduces feelings of stress and anxiety.

Avocado is a good source of vitamin B6, which helps the body make several neurotransmitters, including serotonin. B6 deficiencies have been linked to increased anxiety in some people.

Almonds have natural calming properties and are great for people suffering from non-clinical depression, stress, or moderate levels of anxiety.  Almonds are rich in stress-reducing vitamins and minerals like magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E.

Andrea Groth Wellbeing Detective

Andrea wants to live in a world where the neighborhoods are walkable, bike lanes are plentiful, and the food is fresh, delicious and readily available.

A 20-year veteran of the health and wellness industry, she started her career in the fitness industry while earning a master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, and then on to the burgeoning field of worksite wellness. Andrea has competed in collegiate level soccer, worked as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, wellness coach, and master trainer, climbed 14ers, and completed cycling centuries and metric centuries. All of these experiences give her the opportunity to view well-being from many different perspectives.
When she’s not helping others to be their healthiest self, you can find her at a farm to table restaurant, down dogging at the yoga studio, or experiencing the Colorado landscape on a bicycle, snowshoes, cross country skis or on foot.