OVERVIEW

It’s normal to feel anxious from time to time, especially when faced with stressful situations. However, some people feel permanently anxious for no apparent reason, and these chronic feelings of anxiety can often escalate to panic attacks. Anxiety disorders take several forms, but the most common one is generalized anxiety disorder, (GAD) a chronic anxiety disorder that involves intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations, often accompanied by physical symptoms such as palpitations and digestive upsets.

Anxiety may begin with a stressful event such as illness, death, divorce, or loss of a job. It may also have no identifiable cause, or have a biochemical basis. Whatever the cause, always consult your doctor if you are experiencing chronic anxiety. After that, there are many tools to help one cope, such as meditation, exercise, and foods that reduce stress and can significantly help to relieve symptoms. Below are some of the best foods that help with anxiety.

Valerian Tea

Valerian has been used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness for millennia. Researchers are unsure exactly how valerian functions in the brain, but they speculate that it may work similarly to valium, increasing levels of GABA in the brain that regulates nerve cells and accounts for the calming effect. Valerian root is well known for its sedative properties and is often taken to promote good sleep, but it may also help ease physical and emotional tension, so may help to alleviate anxiety and depression.

Liz Gale Nutritional Therapist

Liz Gale

Nutritional Therapist

Liz Gale Nutrition

Ireland

Avocados

Avocados

Avocados contain several valuable nutritional properties for reducing stress. They stabilize blood sugar, which stabilizes mood. Anxiety and depression are associated with an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokine, and avocados are a great source of anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Avocados also contain antioxidants like vitamin E and C, folate and other B vitamins that support cognitive health.

Liz Gale Nutritional Therapist

Liz Gale

Nutritional Therapist

Liz Gale Nutrition

Ireland

Coconut Oil

A published study in 2004 found that the supplementation of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), the chief lipid type found in coconut oil, almost immediately increased cognitive function in older adults with diagnosed memory disorders. Coconut oil’s impressive ability to support healthy overall cognitive function can result in lowered anxiety and depression symptoms.

Liz Gale Nutritional Therapist

Liz Gale

Nutritional Therapist

Liz Gale Nutrition

Ireland

Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens contain a rich supply of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Per calorie, they have the highest concentration of health promoting nutrients in any food. They are very high in B vitamins, which are important for the proper functioning of the nervous system and are also known to combat stress. Collard greens, along with cruciferous greens such as kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage also contain magnesium and tryptophan, which promote relaxation and increased levels of serotonin in the brain.

Liz Gale Nutritional Therapist

Liz Gale

Nutritional Therapist

Liz Gale Nutrition

Ireland

Cook + Cure - The Health App Tailored to You
Cook + Cure - The Health App Tailored to You

The health app tailored to you

Find more foods, remedies, recipes, and lifestyle practices recommended by experts to help with anxiety and much more. We’re all different. Find information tailored to your unique combination of health problems, goals + diet preferences.

Cook + Cure - The Health App Tailored to You

Oats

Choose slow release carbohydrates – Carbohydrates allow your brain to produce serotonin. Fast release carbohydrates will give you a quick serotonin boost but will also wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels. Slow release carbohydrates on the other hand (e.g. oats, brown rice, legumes and vegetables) will encourage slow and steady serotonin production without the blood sugar highs and lows. They are also excellent sources of B vitamins and magnesium, both of which enhance serotonin production and support the body during times of stress. Prolonged stress or anxiety can easily deplete our body stores of these vitamins leaving us open to low mood and anxiety.

Elsa Jones Nutritional Therapist

Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which naturally increase a potent mood lifting, anti-depressant neurotransmitter in our brain, called dopamine. Omega-3 fatty acids are also hypothesized to affect the functionality of serotonin in the brain by slowing its breakdown. People with low serotonin levels commonly have low DHA levels, which is an essential building block in the brain, and which needs to be replenished with foods such as oily fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and certain seeds, such as flaxseeds.

Elsa Jones Nutritional Therapist

Sardines

Sardines contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which naturally increase a potent mood lifting, anti-depressant neurotransmitter in our brain, called dopamine. Omega-3 fatty acids are also hypothesized to affect the functionality of serotonin in the brain by slowing its breakdown. People with low serotonin levels commonly have low DHA levels, which is an essential building block in the brain, and which needs to be replenished with foods such as oily fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Elsa Jones Nutritional Therapist

Walnuts

Walnuts contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which naturally increase a potent mood lifting, anti-depressant neurotransmitter in our brain, called dopamine. Omega-3 fatty acids are also hypothesized to affect the functionality of serotonin in the brain by slowing its breakdown. People with low serotonin levels commonly have low DHA levels, which is an essential building block in the brain, and which needs to be replenished with foods such as oily fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and certain nuts and seeds, such as walnuts.

Elsa Jones Nutritional Therapist

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile contains sweet bright blue essential oils that soothe and restore the nervous system. Chamomile also contains a level of calcium which will feed the nervous system and help it to restore itself and re-balance when under stress. Chamomile is also an excellent anti-spasmodic and can be highly beneficial in anxiety related stomach cramps. Chamomile is another herb that is beneficial and safe for use with children.

Sebastian Pole

Kava

Kava is a profoundly relaxing herb without sedating effects. Great for clearing the mind of worries and tension. Kava will also have a strong action on releasing muscular tension.

Chris Gambatese

Chris Gambatese

Medical Herbalist

Wild Plant Medicine

Ireland

Pasque Flower

Pasque Flower is a very low dose herb (try a drop or two to start and take no more than 5 drops at a time) for alleviating nervous irritation in debilitated individuals. One of the best herbs for panic attacks (mild or severe) that come on suddenly. It can have a relaxing effect in less than 15 minutes.

Chris Gambatese

Chris Gambatese

Medical Herbalist

Wild Plant Medicine

Ireland

Passion Flower

Passionflower is a strong hypnotic and sedative. Particularly useful at alleviating restlessness and insomnia in individuals suffering from nervous exhaustion and debility. It’s also effective in easing spasms, convulsions and neuralgic pain. Passionflower works very well as a single herb tincture.

Chris Gambatese

Chris Gambatese

Medical Herbalist

Wild Plant Medicine

Ireland