Cope With Stress And Anxiety With These 5 Foods

Nature has provided us with specific foods that really can help us deal with stress and anxiety.

Nutritionists have long recognized that many of the foods we consume can alter our brain chemistry. Eating a healthy, natural foods based, balanced diet is the very best way to ensure the health of the nervous system. But when you are going through a period of particularly heightened stress or anxiety, just eating “healthy” may not be enough by itself. Focus on those foods that have a special affinity for calming down the mind, soothing the soul and relaxing the body.

Green Tea

Green tea is not just a beverage for hippies. It contains an abundance of the rare amino acid L-theanine. There is a good deal of scientific research being conducted into the therapeutic effects of L-theanine and its ability to create a calmer, more relaxed state of mind. Chemically, it seems to work in an almost opposite way to caffeine: it reduces anxiety, lowers blood pressure, slows the heart, and improves sleep.

Studies on sleep, ADHD, acute anxiety, chronic stress and memory show that it is an effective and safe addition to the human diet. Drink at least 2-3 cups of green tea per day, infusing the leaves for one minute, to get an optimum dose of L-theanine each day. L-Theanine works quickly, so you should feel the calming and soothing effects of it within half an hour after ingestion.

Almonds

Almonds are an easy and delicious snack that helps to calm the mind. In fact, almonds are one of the best sources of magnesium, a mineral that we require every day. It plays an important role in muscle relaxation, stress management, sleep patterns and bone density.

When you become deficient in this feel-good nutrient, you’re going to be more prone to experience insomnia, muscle tension, cramps, and anxiety. Just eating a small handful of almonds every day will provide all the magnesium you need, as well as essential fatty acids (mostly omega 6 and omega 9), protein, calcium, and vitamin E.

For optimal results, eat almonds at night during or after dinner, as your body will take magnesium and integrate it back into your cells while you are sleeping.

Deep Sea Fish

It is well known now in the health community that fish and omega-3 oils provide a variety of benefits for the human brain.

As the primary fat in the brain is omega-3, people need to consume omega-3 oils every day to maintain good brain health. Once you have increased omega-3 in the diet, studies show that memory, mood and cognitive performance all improve, and at least one double-blind clinical study on medical students has found that omega-3 reduces symptoms of anxiety.

You can just supplement with omega-3 oil capsules, but consuming deep sea fish — the primary food source of omega-3 — has a host of other benefits as well. Fish contain protein, vitamins and minerals. Some fish, such as sardines, tuna and salmon, contain excellent amounts of calcium and magnesium, which are minerals that are also important for calming and relaxing a stressed out and tense nervous system. (It’s best to eat tuna sparingly because of the possible accumulation of mercury in this fish.)

Eat 2 to 3 servings of deep sea oily fish each week, eating from a wide range of species to get the most health benefits out of your improved seafood diet.

Spinach

You don’t just eat spinach to be strong like Popeye. When you have had a long, difficult day, spinach may be just the thing to support your emotions and stress levels. We now know that spinach positively effects the body’s serotonin levels. Serotonin is helpful in keeping anxiety and stress in check.

In addition, spinach contains chemicals which appear to attach to opioid receptors throughout the body, creating a feel-good effect and reducing symptoms of pain or tension. These combined actions make spinach a useful antidepressant, anti-anxiety, pain reliever and mood-enhancer, which can be cheaply and effortlessly added to the daily diet.

Spinach leaves do contain high levels of oxalic acid, and an overdose of this acid may lead to the formation of kidney stones in some people, so spinach is best blanched in hot water before eating. This removes a good deal of oxalic acid from the plant, leaving other important nutrients intact.

Oats

Oats are a great way to start the day when you are feeling strained. Famous for their dietary fibres, called beta-glucans, which can reduce blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugars, scientists now know that oats also contain other chemicals which can support the nervous system.

Oats are a rich source of B-vitamins, which are necessary for the production of stress-reducing hormones and supporting adrenal gland function during stress, as well as a thousand other processes in the body. Studies have demonstrated that oats help with both short and long-term memory and overall cognitive function.

Oat bran in particular has some interesting ingredients. Gramine — a natural chemical found in oat bran — has been shown to have a beneficial, relaxing effect on the nervous system, reducing anxiety. Oat straw has similar alkaloids, which is likely the reason for its use in herbal medicine for stress and nervous exhaustion. Consuming oats, oat bran and oat straw tea on a regular basis is an excellent way to maintain brain health, calm the mind, and help manage stress levels.

Make sure you consume these 5 foods on a regular basis, and see how much better you can manage anxiety and stress.

Peter Field is a UK therapist, nutritionist, and counselor. Please visit his hypnotherapists in Birmingham website for more information. His self hypnosis anxiety MP3 recording is now available.

Cope With Stress And Anxiety With These 5 Foods