Have you ever felt good after eating a piece of chocolate, when you were stressed? Well, chocolate has those properties of making you feel good, there are certain compounds that have a positive effect on your mind and change your mood.
Stress or anxiety is not new to anybody these days. Almost every other person has anxiety issues and there would rarely be anyone who lives a stress-free life. We live a life of constant struggle and workload, which naturally gives rise to mental health issues. There are several other personal factors as well which lead to these issues. Many people do not even notice these issues, it becomes a concern when things go wrong with your health. So watch our of symptoms such as
● Sweating for no reason
● Trembling hands
● Blacking out often
● Difficulty concentrating
● Irritability and mood swings
● Muscle tightness and clenching muscles
Want to know how that happens?
There are two main ways that food helps reduce anxiety or stress –
A. By balancing hormones – Hormones are chemical messengers in the body that have a wide array of functions. They control multiple factors from your mood, to your overall wellbeing. There are certain foods that reduce the levels of stress hormone – cortisol and make you feel good.
B. By reducing internal inflammation and correcting nutrient deficiencies – these are two main factors that can cause anxiety, stress, and other mental health disorders. Deficiencies such as vitamin D, vitamin E contribute to it. Antioxidants from certain foods help reduce inflammation as well as cell damage, reducing or preventing anxiety and stress.
Here is a list of 7 foods that actually help you reduce anxiety and stress
Dark chocolate –
Dark chocolate is one of the favorites and the most loved option of all. It is a rich source of antioxidants and helps to reduce and prevent free radical or oxidative damage. It helps in protecting your body from cell damage. Apart from antioxidants, it is a good source of flavonoids. These are said to reduce neuroinflammation and improve blood supply to the brain. Dark chocolate is said to stimulate one of the happiness hormones – serotonin. It is also beneficial because it is a good source of magnesium. The deficiency of this mineral has been associated with mental health issues such as depression.
2. Green tea –
You must have come across people who swear by green tea for weight loss. But that is not the only benefit that green tea offers. Since we are talking about flavonoids, green tea is also a rich source and helps in reducing neuroinflammation. It is a rich source of antioxidants and protects the body from oxidative damage, meaning cell damage. Green tea also contains an amino acid called theanine which is said to stimulate the production of hormones serotonin and dopamine. These hormones have an anti-anxiety effect and they induce a sense of calmness.
3. Chamomile tea
It is a variety of herbal teas that is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Chamomile tea is known for its effect on your mood and hormones. It is widely used to correct hormonal imbalance, but it plays an equally important role in reducing stress. It is a good source of flavonoinds which helps in improving the blood supply to the brain and helps with mood swings. It is also beneficial for better sleep at night.
It is a spice that is widely used in India in almost all food preparations. It has many vital medicinal properties such as, is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. It is used topically as well as internally. Turmeric contains a functional component called curcumin, which helps in reducing stress and anxiety. It has an antidepressant and anti-anxiety effect. It stimulates the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. These hormones calm you down and have proven to reduce psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, etc., are good sources of good bacteria. Good bacteria are the bacteria that are crucial for good gut health. These bacteria are responsible for better digestion, stronger immunity, and reduced internal inflammation. Internal inflammation is one of the causes of psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety, Probiotic foods help in preventing and reducing the symptoms and these disorders.
6. Fatty fish
Fatty fish such as mackerel, sardines, and herring are a rich source of healthy fats or omega-3 fatty acids. These fats play an important role in developing cognitive functions as well as mental health. The two types of omega-3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA are said to promote healthy brain function by regulating neurotransmitters and reducing inflammation. The deficiency of these fats is associated with psychological disorders. Changes in diet or supplementation are said to be beneficial in reducing the symptoms and controlling the severity.
Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and brazil nuts are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients like vitamin E, selenium, etc. Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in mental health. Nuts are rich sources of antioxidants as well. Antioxidants help in reducing or preventing your body from cell damage and minerals such as selenium also help in reducing internal inflammation. The deficiency of vitamin E is also associated with stress and anxiety.
Mental health is as important as physical health for a healthy life. Maintaining a healthy diet, working out regularly contribute to your mental health. Consider consulting a psychologist if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above too frequently.