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Edible Relaxation | 16 Foods To Ease Anxiety

Posted on: January 18th, 2017 by Taryn Jeffries No Comments

Last week I shared a post about anxiety on my personal Facebook page and was astonished to find how many individuals in my sphere of friends felt that it resonated with them. It got me thinking a lot about my own trials and I wanted to share some of them with you and ways that you can combat any issues that you may experience. Now, please realize that I am not a physician and any knowledge that I share is a part of my own personal journey and experience. I have grappled with anxiety for many years and was diagnosed with a severe disorder a few years back. I chalked it up to a high-stress job and trying to push myself too hard in particular situations.

Time To Freak Out About Always Freaking Out

I stepped away from my doctor’s office with a few prescriptions and a compelling need to do a ton of research. I looked up anxiety disorders, the medication that I was given and various methods of coping. Once I resigned from my job back in August of 2015, I felt like since that was the cause of my anxiety and panic attacks I could gradually wean myself off my medications. This worked for a short time, likely because the main stressors in my life were either eliminated or substantially reduced. But it came back. It always comes back.

Edible Relaxation | 16 Foods To Ease AnxietyI have come to find in the last few years that there are certain stressors that can exacerbate a condition, but it never fully subsides. I have good days and bad days. On good days, I can go out in the world and no one is the wiser. I smile and play the role of a social butterfly; shake all the hands, kiss all the babies. On bad days, I can’t leave the house. The idea of looking at my email or social media accounts is absolutely overwhelming and almost incapacitating. I replay conversations in my head, try to redo circumstances in my head, glom onto idea or thought and my brain just cannot shut it off. It’s a lot of fun, if you’re into that sort of thing.

No Laughing Matter, Unless You’re Me

Now, don’t get me wrong, mental disorders are nothing to laugh about. They are very serious and I can attest that the struggles that go along with a diagnosis and disorder can be life-altering. There is something to be said, however, for knowing who you are and what is going on in your brain. I know now that I will always be impulsive, sometimes reckless and lean towards depression. I know that I am incredibly empathetic, which makes me a great friend and on a certain level suited my previous career quite well. My impulsiveness makes me the fun mom and an up for anything co-hort. My brain moves at a fast pace and when in a positive place can be invigorating (and potentially exhausting – sorry Amanda) to my close friends. I realize that calling myself out for what some may see as shortcomings may become fodder for some, but to quote T-Swift (yeah, that just happened), “people throw rocks at things that shine.” I know who I am and I own every bit of it, without making excuses for it. While having a diagnosis or disorder may not seem high on others’ lists, its not the worst thing that could happen to you. It makes me unique and while it comes with a great number of negatives, it makes me unique and it is an intrinsic part of my personality and who I am.

Eastern, Western or Homeopathic?

Medication is clearly a way to go and has helped me a great deal. It’s not a cure-all, because I still have my good and bad days, but it definitely makes them to a less degree. I have also found, through research, that there are certain foods to ease anxiety if you are looking for a more natural remedy of sorts. These foods should be incorporated into your daily diet to really have a lasting effect, especially because they hold a variety of health properties outside of helping with anxiety. There are certain foods that I have eaten in a pinch to try to settle myself down in difficult moments.

These are foods that I have found to work for me and I hope that if you have issues with anxiety and panic attacks that they work for you as well. (But! If you do feel that you have issues with these things, you really should speak with your doctor. Seriously.)

16 Foods that can help to relieve anxiety

Almonds | Almonds are really great in a pinch. They are rich in B2 and vitamin E, both of which help to bolster the immune system during times of stress.

Almonds: Foods that help to ease anxietyAsparagus | Asparagus is high in folic acid and research shows that individuals with low levels of folic acid can be more prone to bouts or occurrences of depression.

Asparagus: Foods that help to ease anxietyAvocado | Besides being full of that deliciously good fat, avocados are also rich in Vitamin B which is believed to relieve stress. The high levels of monounsaturated fat and potassium in avocados are also believed to help lower blood pressure

Avocado: Foods that help to ease anxietyBeans | Beans and legumes are rich in magnesium. Magnesium has been found to have a positive effect on depression and anxiety. A depletion in magnesium can result in fatigue and disaster thinking.

Beans: Foods that help to ease anxietyBlueberries | Blueberries are packed full of antioxidants and Vitamin C which helps to repair and protect your cells.

Blueberries: Foods that help to ease anxietyDark Chocolate | Reduces cortisol and improves your mood.

Dark Chocolate: Foods that help to ease anxietyMilk | Milk contains the protein Lactium, which has a calming effect and helps to lower blood pressure.

Milk: Foods that help to ease anxietyOatmeal | Gets the calm-inducing  chemical serotonin flowing. Thick cut oats are higher in fiber and take longer to digest which means that calming effect lasts longer.

Oatmeal: Foods that help to ease anxietyOranges | Vitamin C helps to lower blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol, and oranges are a delicious delivery system of Vitamin C.

Oranges: Foods that help to ease anxietyOrgan Meats | Zinc, Vitamin D and large levels of choline are needed for the synthesis of neurotransmitters and organ meats are high in these specific vitamins and minerals.

Organ Meats: Foods that help to ease anxietyOysters | Research has shown that an imbalance in the ratio of zinc to copper in the body could be responsible for some anxiety. Oysters are packed with zinc and can easily help to balance your internal ratio.

Oysters: Foods that help to ease anxietySalmon | Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, this fish helps keep cortisol and adrenaline levels from spiking.

Salmon: Foods that help to ease anxietySeaweed | Seaweed is rich in nutrients, with a high magnesium and tryptophan content. This is a great alternative for individuals with gluten sensitivities.

Seaweed: Foods that help to ease anxietySpinach | Packed with magnesium, this green helps to regulate cortisol levels and promotes a feeling of well being.

Spinach: Foods that help to ease anxietyTurkey | Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan signals the brain to release the feel good chemical serotonin which promotes calmness.

Turkey: Foods that help to ease anxietyWhole Grain Foods | Rich in magnesium (a deficiency can lead to anxiety) and contains tryptophan and whole grains create a healthy energy while reducing hunger, another important factor in reducing anxiety

Whole Grains: Foods that help to ease anxietyFoods to avoid

Caffeine, alcohol and foods high in sugar | These all contain stimulants that deplete your serotonin. Not only does this increase the likelihood for an anxiety episode but it also makes you crave high carb foods that contribute to weight gain and inflammation which can further mood alteration.

*Now, it’s important to note again that I am not a doctor. The above information is based solely on my own personal experiences and research. If you feel that you have an anxiety disorder, please reach out to a medical professional for the best advice and course of treatment.

Do you have anxiety? What methods have you found help you cope?

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© Taryn Jeffries 2017

About the Author - Taryn Jeffries

Editor and Chief Eating Officer of PhoenixBites, 2017 Food Writer of the Year (Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame) Taryn grew up in a small town in Illinois with a doting Grandmother who taught her the way around a kitchen and that food is representative of love. Her current quest is to find the love in local dishes and the chefs behind them. In addition to running all things PhoenixBites, Taryn is also a freelance writer, sharing her insight on the best dishes and where to get them each and every month.

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