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5 Foods That Help Reduce Anxiety
5 Foods That Help Reduce Anxiety
Food & Entertaining | December 11, 2020
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While professional help is highly advised for those who deal with anxiety, here are some scientifically proven anxiety-reducing foods

Perhaps the most taxing parts of working in the middle of the pandemic are the debilitating psychological effects of working remotely. And among the multitude of mental effects induced by isolation and stress, anxiety has been one the most discussed problem during the pandemic. While there are many solutions to help you with your anxiety—with professional help being the most recommended, exercise, rest, and nutrition have proven to be useful as well. For those looking at cooking as a means of escape from anxiety, here are 5 healthy foods you might want to consider.

1. Salmon

Salmon has long been known as a good source of healthy fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Back in 2011, a completed study made on medical students showed that there was a significant reduction of anxiety levels through the help of omega-3 fatty acids (the study used supplements). The study also states how omega-3s also help reduce depression. Other foods rich in omega-3s include salmon, chia seeds, oysters, walnuts, and cold-pressed olive oil. 

Opt for some salmon sashimi to help reduce your worries. | Image by Valeria Boltneva

2. Yogurt

Study shows that consuming probiotic-rich food can significantly reduce social anxiety. This is additionally tied up with maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Do remember though that cooking these foods may kill probiotics. Fermented food such as miso, kombucha, kimchi, and Greek yogurt is rich in probiotics. For yogurt, opt for plain and unsweetened variants containing a minimum of five live and active culture strains—this works well as a snack, breakfast meal, or even dip.

Add nuts or fruit to pack more flavor with your yogurt. | Image by Nuruddin Bharmal

3. Dark Chocolate

While there are limited studies correlating chocolate with improving mental disorders, one study shares that people who eat dark chocolate are less likely to exhibit symptoms of depression. And while the bitter taste can be polarizing, dark chocolate is also a feel-good food for some people. And feel-good foods are proven to increase our serotonin and dopamine levels and combat negative mental effects—without the need for excessive amounts of sugar.

Bittersweet and healthy dark chocolate, anyone? | Image by Polina Tankilevitch

4. Cherries

Already packed with antioxidants, which include quercetin (linked with improved exercise performance and reduced blood pressure and blood sugar levels), cherries are widely known to be beneficial to our health. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), consuming five or more servings a day results in a more improved mood. Tart cherries, in particular, are also loaded with melatonin, which helps improve sleep, making you well-rested and ready for the next day’s set of stresses.

The tarter, the better. | Image by Engin Akyurt

5. Pumpkin Seeds

Magnesium plays a vital role in reducing stress, studies say. And an ounce of pumpkin seeds gives you 20% of your recommended daily allowance of magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral that our body can’t make. So make sure to have this in your diet. What’s also good is that roasting pumpkin seeds does not diminish their magnesium values. So feel free to experiment with recipes.

Pumpkin seeds are affordable and easy to eat. | Image by Karolina Grabowska

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With journalistic experience spanning just about three years, Pipo has been working in the communications industry for nearly a decade with tenure in various sectors such as global communications, retail, advertising, events, and marketing. He has served as Copy Chief and Newsroom Head for One Mega Group, and for the last couple of years, has been Lifestyle Asia's Managing Editor for its print publication.
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