The National Institute of Health states that anxiety disorders are the most common illness in the US, affecting nearly 18% of the population. While there are various therapy and medication options, most people who suffer from anxiety don’t realize how their overall nutrition may be affecting their condition. If you find yourself feeling anxious, these are some nutritional strategies that may ease some of your symptoms.
The body metabolizes complex carbohydrates much slower than simple carbohydrates found in white sugars and processed foods. The slow metabolism of complex carbohydrates maintains a more even blood sugar level, leaving an overall calmer feeling. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as peas, beans, whole grains and vegetables.
Diets low in magnesium have been linked to an increase in anxiety-related behaviors. Increasing your magnesium level through your diet may help you feel more at ease. Magnesium is highly concentrated in green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, figs, avocado, bananas, raspberries and various seafood including salmon, mackerel and tuna.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are an especially important nutrient, most often found in fatty fish. A study completed by medical students at Harvard in 2011 revealed a negative relationship between Omega-3 intake and anxiety, meaning the more omega-3 one was consuming, the less reported anxiety. Sources of Omega-3’s include salmon, mackerel, oysters, chia seed, flax-seed, walnuts and soybeans.
Individuals with lower antioxidant states have reported increased levels of anxiety. Enhancing the diet with antioxidant-rich foods, such as beans, fruits, berries, nuts and vegetables, may reduce some anxiety-related symptoms.
Written by GUADS intern Lindsey with contributions from www.health.harvard.edu