Can healthy foods better and brighten your mood? Yes, some of them can treat mood disorders too.
Stress kills you silently by destroying your confidence, mental strength and power of judgment. Yoga and Meditation alone or as an adjunct to traditional treatment (in acute cases) are effective to ease and eliminate anxiety. Stress being an invisible monster callous to tackle and tame, stress management is now considered an art, mastering which is a way to wade through the murk of troubles. If stress becomes overpowering, you need to consult a psychiatrist and might have to take medicines for a long time.
There are some wonder foods to help you manage anxiety. You can experience some good relief from stress by incorporating a few changes in your daily diet. This article is intended to give you an idea about which foods are rich in anti-stress agents.
Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium. It is a powerful mineral that does a variety of functions in your body. Apart from playing an essential role in thyroid function and metabolism, selenium also protects your body from oxidative stress-induced damages. It reduces inflammation that usually springs up to a high level when someone suffers from a mood disorder.
This antioxidant agent also prevents health damage. It also boasts of anti-carcinogenic properties. Other nuts, soybeans, mushrooms and animal products are rich in selenium. All types of nuts are rich in Vitamin E that helps treat anxiety and depression.
Excessive consumption of selenium can cause several side effects. For an adult, the recommended cap for selenium intake is 400 micrograms. Limit your intake to only 3-4 Brazil Nuts every day.
Researchers are increasingly establishing an intimate link between vitamin D deficiency and depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. An article in the Journal of Affective Disorders suggests that increasingly glowing evidence establishes it beyond doubt that vitamin D helps fight frequent mood swings and depression.
Several studies on older adults and pregnant women have emphasized on how vitamin D might help to improve mood and seasonal disaffected disorder or SAD, a common problem in winter.
Egg yolks are rich in vitamin D. Eggs are known as a great source of protein. In fact, experts consider it a complete protein, which means it has all the essential amino acids a human body needs for proper growth and development.
Eggs contain tryptophan. It is a type of amino acid that plays a role in the secretion of serotonin, a chemical neurotransmitter that helps control mood, memory, sleep and other behaviors. Serotonin also relieves anxiety and improves brain function.
Fatty fishes are an excellent source of omega-3. Salmon, sardines, herring, trout and mackerel are some common examples of fatty fish. Deficiency of Omega-3 fatty acid is strongly linked to disorder in cognitive functions (for example, mental health).
However, consuming too much of omega-6 fatty acid and not enough of omega-3, might contribute to the risk of developing multiple mood disorders.
According to current recommendations, everybody should eat at least two servings of fatty fish a week. A recent study on men concludes that eating salmon three times a week lessens self-reported anxiety. Sardines and salmons are also high in vitamin D.
Dark fantasy and bright mood? Yes, experts have long guessed a positive correlation between dark chocolate and mood disorder. According to a 2014 study on female students, 40gm of dark chocolate helped ease off perceived stress in the participants.
Though it is still not clear how dark chocolates work towards relieving stress, it is believed that flavonoids, one of many polyphenols present in dark chocolate, reduce brain cell death and neuro-inflammation as well as promote blood circulation. Chocolate is also high in magnesium that helps to relieve symptoms of depression.
It is now an open secret that cocoa improves mood. However, more researchers are needed in this aspect as most of the studies performed till date is observational. Keep in mind, dark chocolates contain added fats and sugar and so make sure to limit your intake to only a small serving (1-3 grams).
Turmeric is increasingly becoming a ‘Spicy’ Medicine for Multiple Maladies. Extensively used in Indian and South-East Asian regions for cooking, turmeric contains an active ingredient called curcumin. Carcumin is an anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory agent that works towards lessening stress and anxiety responsible for mood disorders. The agent also reduces anxiety in obese adults. Carcumin also helps fight against different types of cancer.
Lactobaccilus and Bifidobacteria, two beneficial bacteria, are present in yoghurt. Emerging evidences are increasingly making it clear that fermented products and these bacteria have long-time positive impact on our brain health.
Yogurt and other dairy items have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is believed to partially contribute to stress, anxiety and depression.
A 2015 study found a close link between fermented foods such as, cheese, kimchi, cheese, fermented soya products etc and happiness in young people.
Theanine, a type of amino acid present in green tea, is receiving increasing attention for its potentially beneficial and balmy touch on mood disorders. Theanine boosts the production of dopamine and serotonin to produce calming effects on stress and anxiety.
A 2017 review showed that 200mg of theannine could reduce tension in human trials and thus, improve calmness and self-reported relaxation.
Green tea is a smart replacement for coffee, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Enjoy a cup of green tea daily and experience calmness and happiness in you.
Potassium helps control blood pressure and regulate electrolyte balance. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of potassium. Incorporate potassium-rich foods (for example, bananas and pumpkin seeds) in your daily diet to reduce stress and anxiety.
Pumpkin seeds are also high in zinc, deficiency of which might adversely affect your mood. Zinc is an essential mineral for both nerve health and brain development. Brain regions, which are strongly associated with emotions, are the largest site to store zinc in your body.
In addition to whatever is mentioned above, there are several other foods to ease your anxiety.
Here are those for your quick read:
- Turkey, oats, tofu, pineapple and other foods containing tryptophan
- Lean meat and fishes high in amino acids that the human body can convert into mood-improving neurotransmitters, such as serotonin
- Magnesium-rich Swiss chard and spinach
- Cinnamon for its anti-inflammatory properties
- Chia seeds rich in omega-3s
Anxiety is a widespread mental disorder affecting millions of people throughout the globe. Symptoms are various and vary from one person to another. In the nascent stage, the symptoms are silent or subtle and so are easily ignored. However, if symptoms persist for six months or more, it is called a Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD, and in that case, consultation with an experienced psychiatrist is imperative. However, when eating some healthy foods and avoiding processed foods can help you keep anxiety at bay, why not give it a try?