Foods that can be beneficial for people suffering from Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Whole Grain Foods
Those that can tolerate gluten may benefit from foods with whole grains, like whole grain pasta and bread. Studies have shown that true whole grains (some “whole grain foods” still contain processed ingredients) have several benefits for those with anxiety:
- Whole grain is rich in magnesium, and magnesium deficiency may lead to anxiety.
- Whole grain contains tryptophan, which becomes serotonin – a calming neurotransmitter.
- Whole grains create healthy energy while reducing hunger – both important for anxiety.
Whole grain foods can have a powerful effect on anxiety, and contain nutrients that have been stripped out of modern day diets.
Seaweed has many of the same benefits as whole grains. Not only is it rich in nutrients – it also appears to have a high magnesium content, and kelp and other seaweed appear to be very high in tryptophan content. Seaweed is a good alternative to whole grains for those that are gluten sensitive.
Blueberries are more than a delicious fruit. Many consider it to be a superfood. It’s rich in vitamins and phytonutrients (plant nutrients), with a variety of antioxidants that are considered extremely beneficial for relieving stress. Many experts also believe that peaches fall into this category as well, because they have nutrients that appear to have a sedation (calming) effect.
Acai berry is essentially the newest super food, and one that has received a great deal of press recently. It may not be the weight loss fruit that many people claimed it was, but acai berries are still rich in phytonutrients like the blueberry, and the antioxidant levels are off the charts.
Almonds are an underrated food. They contain zinc, a key nutrient for maintaining a balanced mood – and have both iron and healthy fats. Healthy fats are an important part of a balanced diet, and low iron levels have been known to cause brain fatigue, which can contribute to both anxiety and a lack of energy.
Chocolate – especially pure dark chocolate without the added sugars or milks – is also a great food for those living with anxiety and stress. Chocolate reduces cortisol – the stress hormone that causes anxiety symptoms. There are also compounds inside dark chocolate that improve mood.
Maca root is not exactly a popular food item in grocery stores, but the powder can be added to several foods and beverages and is found in a variety of health food stores. It’s believed that this root has more phytonutrients than nearly every type of fruit and vegetable, including magnesium and iron – two important nutrients for controlling anxiety. It also is often used for healthy stamina and energy.
Other Foods for Anxiety and Stress
Healthy eating is one of the best ways to control anxiety and stress. In fact, one of the best things you can add to your diet is more water. Many studies have found that dehydration affects as many as 25% of those with persistent stress or more, and dehydration is known to cause more anxiety.
As for foods, anything with magnesium, vitamin B12 (and other B vitamins), zinc, and antioxidants can be beneficial for helping you deal with stress. There are also herbal supplements like kava and passionflower that may be valuable for anxiety.