NEWS

Health 101: Foods that can help reduce anxiety and stress

by: Cherie Law, Eatology Nutritionist
16 Apr 2020

Living in a fast-paced city such as Hong Kong, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’re constantly under duress from things that we have no control over. However, research shows that diet has an effect on your current mood and a change in your diet or lifestyle could help reduce anxiety and stress. Food therapy can be the healthiest, most natural, and most convenient treatment. Here are seven foods that can be very easily incorporated in your daily diet to combat stress. 

Read more: Feeling stressed? Here's why you should take a look at your diet

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1. Salmon 

Salmons have a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids which prevents anxiety. A 3-ounce cooked Atlantic salmon contains 1.22 g DHA and 0.35g EPA (according to USDA) which helps to increase the levels of serotonin released in our body that effectively reduces stress and inflammation. It’s advised to consume salmon twice a week to reap the benefits.

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2. Turkey 

Turkeys are good sources of the amino acid tryptophan which is later converted to a neurotransmitter like serotonin in our body. High levels of serotonin relax our state of mind and reduce anxiety. Many studies have also shown that tryptophan is an important determinant of mood, cognition, and behaviour. A turkey sandwich (or two) could instantly better your mood.

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3. Avocado 

If you’re feeling down, a serving of avocado can be a good stress reliever. Loaded with vitamins B,B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6 folate, avocado slices can adjust our endocrine system which causes our brain to relax. It’s proven that a lack of vitamin B group could lead to lethargy and fatigue which causes physical stress in the long run. Also rich in fibre and healthy fats, this superfood is good for your taste buds and gut.

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4. Egg 

Rich in high-quality protein, eggs are high in amino acids needed which stimulates growth and development of our mind and body. Some studies have found that eggs can help relieve tension and relax muscles as it contains tryptophan which causes people to relax and fall asleep easily. It is also an excellent source of vitamins B12, B2, B5 and D which have the potential to improve mental health. Start your day right by having boiled eggs for breakfast.

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5. Almond 

Almonds contain magnesium which plays a significant role in anxiety prevention. A daily intake of magnesium is also proven to combat mental and physical stress. To stabilize your mood and boost your serotonin levels, snacks such almonds and pumpkin seeds are best.

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6. Dark Chocolate 

Loaded with dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, dark chocolates are one of the best mood boosters in the market. It also contains Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) that helps to reduce anxiety. Furthermore, the antioxidants in the cocoa called flavonoids not only help protect your cells but also lower your blood pressure and boost blood flow to your brain and heart, lowering your anxiety levels. Make sure to select bars that contain at least with 70% cocoa and consume in moderation as too much caffeine could easily increase your anxiety.

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7. Chamomile 

Known for its soothing properties, chamomile is rich in antioxidants which is proven to lower inflammation and stress levels. Chamomile has also been shown to help treat patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and reduce symptoms after two months of constant consumption. For a little R&R, sip on some warm chamomile tea.

Reference: 

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150225094109.htm 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908021/#b103-ijtr-2-2009-045 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11110013 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22814704 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/da.22950 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/