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Thursday, September 12, 2024

Five Unexpected Foods that Will Help You Relax

We all have sources of anxiety in our everyday lives. Pick something you’re anxious about: health, money, work, family members, relationships. Chances are one or more of those items cause at least occasional moments of worry or concern. When it comes to managing anxiety, one of the simplest things you can do is to take care of yourself with the right foods.


According to Dr. Drew Ramsey, coauthor of The Happiness Diet, anxiety increases in the presence of hunger. In his book, he writes, “When you get an anxiety attack, it may mean your blood sugar level is dropping. The best thing to do is to have a quick sustaining snack, like a handful of walnuts or a piece of dark chocolate, along with a glass of water or a nice cup of hot tea.” Diet is key when it comes to reducing anxiety, and these five foods can help.


Often recognized as an ingredient in beer, hops is a plant that helps with anxiety and insomnia. You can find hops in a number of teas, such as chamomile and mint. The herb alone is very bitter, making it the perfect supplement to pair with something else. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding hops to spice up ice cream or pudding and create a bittersweet taste.


Flax is a plant source of Omega-3. These fatty acids work to reduce inflammation in the brain, allowing your body to relax. To reap their benefits successfully, take one to three tablespoons of fresh ground flaxseeds daily. For best results, try mixing them into a homemade smoothie or sprinkle them in your morning oatmeal. Most times, you won’t even realize you’re eating them, but you will notice a difference in your mood!


Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries all contain natural antioxidants and Vitamin C. Studies have shown that Vitamin C-rich foods regulate your body’s Cortisol levels – a stress hormone produced by your adrenal glands. While increased Cortisol levels activate your heart rate and blood pressure, berries work to lower these levels, making it easier for your body to neutralize your response to stress.  


When your body feels anxious or depressed, it can be because of a folic acid deficiency. Asparagus is a vegetable that is rich in folate, a source of Vitamin B that converts to folic acid in the body. Asparagus is also rich in Vitamin C, which helps reduce your body’s blood pressure. One cup of asparagus offers two-thirds of your daily value. Luckily, asparagus is delicious and easy to incorporate into a number of meals. Simply sautéing it with salt and lemon juice makes for a tasty addition to any meal.


Almonds are a great source of Vitamin B2 and E, both of which work to boost your immune system. Eat them alone, incorporate them into yogurt or sprinkle them on top of ice cream to help reduce stress levels.

Information taken from: 

Melanie Marzillo
Research & Community Education
Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living

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