Anxiety is a common condition that can affect anyone at any time. We’ve all experienced that anxious, nervous feeling, but did you know that there are actually foods that can help lower your anxiety? Give yourself a break from overthinking and worrying, and have yourself a good snack!

We all know that foods have certain classifications of nutrients, and depending on what you eat, you may be able to better manage unwanted symptoms of many health conditions including generalized anxiety disorders. A person struggling with anxiety may experience:

  • Depression
  • Sluggishness
  • Generally feeling tired
  • Anger
  • Nervousness
  • Fearfulness
  • Irritability
  • Sleep issues
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irregular heartbeat or palpitations
  • Tightness in the chest

Foods that release dopamine, one of the “feel good” hormones, are helpful in making you feel happier and reducing anxiety. If you have a low amount of dopamine in your body, you might experience negative and disruptive symptoms that make your daily life harder. By adding foods that release hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, which are the hormones in charge of making us feel happy and elated, you can catch up and begin feeling your best again. Your body takes the nutrients from the food that we consume and turns them into the necessary hormones and nutrients it needs. Eating a healthy and balanced diet can greatly help to decrease unwanted symptoms such as mood fluctuations, and periods of irritability. Besides releasing dopamine, healthy foods that are geared toward lowering anxiety also contain healthy doses of vitamins B and D, zinc, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

For some, eating the following foods can help reduce feelings of anxiety. Foods that are high in dopamine and other helpful hormones include:

  • Nuts and seeds including almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and cashews
  • Fresh protein found in chicken, eggs, and meat
  • Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, oysters, and herring
  • Soya, legumes, beans, lima beans
  • Cheese, milk, yogurt
  • Chocolate
  • Strawberries, avocados, bananas, apples, watermelon, berries
  • Oatmeal
  • Wheat germ
  • Leafy greens like spinach, cabbage, kale, and lettuce
  • Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and Brussels sprouts

The food we eat has a great impact on how we feel. While there are plenty of good foods to add to your diet to help with anxiety, there are also foods that can make you feel more anxious. If you are feeling jittery or nervous, avoid the following:

  • Sugary foods, including soda and candy
  • Foods or drinks high in caffeine, like coffee or tea
  • Processed meats
  • Fried foods
  • High fat dairy products like ice cream

For some people, anxiety cannot be managed with diet alone – and that’s totally okay! In addition to changing your diet, there are medications that can be prescribed by your doctor to help better manage symptoms of anxiety. Speak with your health care provider, or visit any Patient First center.

We are here when you need us! Patient First is able to evaluate and treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries. You can visit any Patient First center from 8am to 8pm, every day of the year – no appointment is needed.

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