12 Foods that Help Alleviate Anxiety and Depression
It’s a no-brainer, choosing healthy foods and living an active lifestyle is not only good for your body, it’s good for your mind too. In fact, past research has indicated that there is a definitive link between what individuals eat and how their brain functions, especially when it comes to mood and mental health.
There are many that deal with anxiety and depression on a daily basis, while others struggle with these mental health conditions at differing parts of the year. While some choose medication to help as a form of therapy, eating certain food items can also help with anxiety and depression symptoms, as well.
Below are 12 foods that can help alleviate depression and anxiety.
Everyone’s favorite breakfast side dish, or a side dish to any meal for that matter, hits this list thanks to the amino acids found within. These acids help decrease anxiety and depression as they change to neurotransmitters within brain function, which ultimately alter depression signals.
Bacon is a great source of amino acid, it’s just important to enjoy this food in moderation as it is also a high source of fat.
11. Sweet Potatoes
While sticking to a gluten-free diet is important for those who suffer from digestive issues and Celiac, links between gluten and mental health have been found within past research. The idea behind this theory is the gluten damage within your digestive system creates leakage that heads to the brain, resulting in depression. Sticking to a diet of organically gluten-free foods items like eggs, veggies, fruit, beans, as well as sweet potatoes, have been said to help with conditions like anxiety and depression.
10. Leafy Greens
We all know that green veggies like arugula, kale, and spinach are packed with all the vitamins and minerals one needs to attack a busy day. However, they are also filled with omega-3s and antioxidants which help with brain function and protection to help battle feelings around depression.
Yummy, healthy, and good for your mind too? Is there anything an avocado can’t do? In all seriousness, these fruits are packed with B vitamins, a nutrient that helps with brain and nerve maintenance. In fact, not eating enough of B vitamins can actually add to one’s anxiety. To boot, avocados give a boost of potassium, and can assist when it comes to lowering blood pressure.
Not just for major holidays, turkey can be bought in ground meat form and used as a substitute when cooking meat loaf, tacos, or any other beef-related meal options.
When it comes to depression this lean protein has an added power punch: increased amounts of tryptophan, an organic chemical that helps with serotonin production. Serotonin is not produced as much within individuals struggling with depression, so enhancing turkey consumption is a must for those who deal with this mental health condition.
7. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is an herb that has been used for ages now to help remedy insomnia and anxiety. With a light and lemony flavor (thus, the name), it can be placed in smoothies, chopped up and sprinkled on chicken, dried for tea, or even added to desserts and jams. The recipe options are literally endless with this herb.
There is nothing sweeter than a bowl full of strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries on a warm summer day. While they are an undeniably yummy fruit to snack on, berries are also filled with vitamins and minerals to keep you looking good and feeling good too!
They also happen to be packed with antioxidants that help to keep a person’s cells protected from toxins, as well as oxidative stress. Research has revealed that those who suffer from depression generally have lower levels of antioxidants within their blood, so adding more berries to your diet can help relieve signs of both anxiety and depression.
Rich in omega-3s, this fish is not only tasty, but also assists in controlling cortisol and adrenaline production — both huge factors in anxiety.
Speaking of omega-3, another great source of this fatty acid — which helps when it comes to brain health and function, as well as decreasing depression symptoms — is walnuts.
Savory and fun to snack on, walnuts are also packed with protein and magnesium. In fact, previous studies indicate that magnesium is a nutrient that can help to decrease an individual’s risk of getting depression in the first place. So, whether you are struggling with this condition or not, reaching for some walnuts is always a good option.
Whether you are talking sunflower seeds, hemp, chai, or flaxseeds, seeds in general are an excellent source of omega-3s. Also, they are the perfect alternative to reach for if you are battling depression or anxiety, and you are craving chips. Small, but mighty when it comes to the fatty acid, they are flavorful, add a nice crunch, and are quite salty too!
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but does this include a psychiatrist? Perhaps!
Apples are rich in antioxidants, which help decrease depression, but the they also are a good source of fiber, a nutrient that can help control blood sugar swings.
1. Red Wine
Time to reach for that bottle of merlot and have no regrets!
In all seriousness, a recent study coming out of Australia revealed that a group of individuals who suffered from major depression saw a tremendous improvement in their symptoms went they focused on healthy eating. The diet consisted of lean meats, veggies, fruit, whole grains, as well as consuming up to two glasses of red wine daily.
While red wine, along with eating a healthy diet, will no doubt help with depression, it’s important to note that moderation is a huge component of this concept. In fact, consuming an excessive amount of alcohol on a daily and weekly basis has proven to enhance symptoms of depression.
So, drink up, buttercup … but, not too much!