Anxiety and stress disorders affect roughly 18 percent of the American adult population, and research suggests that nearly 30 percent of all American adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. While it’s been proven that a healthy diet and regular exercise can help treat and relieve stress and anxiety, many Americans still end up working with their physicians to go on medications to treat their disorders.
While medications may certainly help some Americans treat stress and anxiety, some medications are associated with side effects that can result in other health problems, such as regular nausea, sexual dysfunction, and weight gain. If you’re trying to lose weight, taking certain anxiety medications could be counterproductive, even if you’ve had weight-loss surgery.
Here are seven superfoods that contain natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other healthy compounds that can help you relieve stress and anxiety, while also helping you meet your weight-loss goals.
You probably already know that turkey contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid that triggers the release of feel-good chemical serotonin. Tryptophan is the main reason people feel calm, relaxed, and even sleepy after eating Thanksgiving dinner, and can help naturally relieve anxiety.
2. Herbal teas
Chamomile tea has the ability to soothe and calm your nerves, whereas Rooibos tea may have the ability to balance your body’s cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that’s triggered in times of anxiety. Drink chamomile and Rooibos teas on a regular basis to maintain a healthy and calm mood as much as possible.
In addition to helping fight and reduce inflammation, turmeric contains antioxidants known as curcuminoids, which help enhance your mood and relieve anxiety. Turmeric can be taken daily in the form of a nutritional supplement, and can also help fight inflammation that could be contributing to your being overweight or obese.
Lack of folic acid in your body can impair your neurotransmitters, which eventually leads to anxiety. Just 5.3 ounces of asparagus contains 60 percent of the daily recommended allotment for folic acid. Additionally, asparagus is rich in potassium, which can help lower blood pressure levels and is helpful if you frequently experience stress and anxiety.
5. Dark, leafy greens
Dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are abundant in magnesium, which helps regulate the chemicals in your brain responsible for controlling your mood. Adding dark, leafy greens to salads is one of the easiest ways to make sure you’re consuming more of these powerhouse vegetables.
Like asparagus, avocados are rich in potassium, which helps naturally lower blood pressure and calm your mood. Avocados also contain a series of B vitamins and monounsaturated fats, all of which improve brain health and can contribute to improved mood, stress, and anxiety control.
7. Fatty meats
Healthy fatty meats such as wild-caught salmon and grass-fed organic beef are rich in omega-3 fats, which research has shown can decrease both anxiety and inflammation — the latter of which can negatively impact brain health.
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