Foods that Decrease Anxiety
One of the things someone suffering from anxiety can easily do – is eat foods that decrease anxiety.
You need to alter your daily habits to include the foods that decrease anxiety. That’s right – your daily habits. You can’t just eat the foods that decrease anxiety once or twice per month and give yourself a pat on the back. You need to find a way to eat these every day, as part of a daily routine.
The easiest daily strategy of eating the foods that decrease anxiety, is to make Superfood Smoothies that use these foods!
Superfood smoothies are very fast, affordable, and people enjoy them. Try making one as your breakfast and make that apart of your daily routine.
This article walks you through the real research on 8 different foods that decrease anxiety. All these foods can easily be added to smoothies.
Superfoods that Decrease Anxiety:
A blue-green algae that was a food source of the Aztecs, Spirulia can be found in many freshwater environments (like ponds, lakes, and rivers).
Spirulina contains protein, iron, vitamins A, K, B complex, chlorophyll, and antioxidants – such as beta carotene and yellow xanthophylls. It is considered a superfood.
This human study (link) concluded that chlorella (another form of algae): “improved physical and cognitive symptoms of depression and well as anxiety symptoms in patients who are receiving standard antidepressant therapy”.
A root native to southwest India, Turmeric has been used as medicine for thousands of years and is considered a superfood. It’s a key ingredient to many Asian dishes. In America – we recognize it as the “healthy stuff in curry powder”.
You may also have heard of a supplement called, “Curcumin”. “Curcumin” is a compound within turmeric.
There has been a lot of research about turmeric that links it to potential benefits related to:
- Brain health
- Kidney health
- Cardiovascular health
- Irritable bowel
- Other conditions
Here are links to 2 human studies (link 1) (link 2), 1 animal study (link), and 1 lab study (link) linking the benefits of Turmeric to Anxiety. The summary of the human studies concluded:
1.) Human Study 1: “There were significantly greater reductions in total HADS [Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale] score and subscales of anxiety and depression in the curcuminoids versus control group.
2.) Human Study 2: “Partial support is provided for the antidepressant effects of curcumin in people with major depressive disorder, evidenced by benefits occurring 4 to 8 weeks after treatment.”
Cacao (Dark Chocolate)
Cacao powder comes directly from cacao beans without all the processing that goes into creating “Cocoa” or chocolate. It comes from a tree that is native to the Americas, and believed to have been consumed since 1500 BC.
Cacao is loaded with antioxidants. Lets put into perspective at how loaded chocolate is. One way to measure antioxidant density is through something called an ORAC score. Cacao scores 95,500 mmol per 100g while blueberries (also known for antioxidants) scores 2,400. Many of the antioxidants in cacao are flavonoids, including anthocyanidin.
The other thing Cacao contains is Anandamide, (aka the “bliss chemical”) which is a neurotranmitter often produced in your brain. Anandamide has been associated with improving motivation and increasing pleasure. A human study (link) concluded that “Our results indicate that anandamide participates in the modulation of emotional states and point to fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibition as an innovative approach to anti-anxiety therapy.”
Ancient Greens Superfood Mix
Ancient Greens is a superfood mix that we designed with 9 different superfoods. 2 of those are spirulina and turmeric. If you want a very simple way to be adding spirulina and turmeric to your smoothies, you can buy this mix and just add 1 tablespoon to a 12oz smoothie! If you are also suffering from some sort of depression, 2 ingredients great for depression are Maca Root and Flax Seed. Ancient Greens also has these ingredients! Overall – this is a great product if you are looking to boost your smoothies with a few superfoods that will help target both anxiety and depression.
Ancient Chocolate Superfood Mix
Ancient Chocolate is a superfood mix that we designed with 9 different superfoods. 2 of those are cacao and turmeric. If you want a very simple way to be adding cacao and turmeric to your smoothies, you can buy this mix and just add 1 tablespoon to a 12oz smoothie! If you are also suffering from some sort of depression, 2 ingredients great for depression are Maca Root and Flax Seed. Ancient Chocolate also has these ingredients! Overall – this is a great product if you are looking to boost your smoothies with a few superfoods that will help target both anxiety and depression.
Additional Foods that Decrease Anxiety:
The following foods listed are not in our superfood mixes, but are foods that you can add fresh/frozen/dry to your smoothies. They are generally more common foods that you can easily find in your grocery store.
An herb, likely native to India, which has been grown for over 5,000 years. There are roughly 60 different varieties of basil, but they all fall into 3 categories: sweet, purple, and bush.
Basil is considered one of the healthiest herbs. It is a good source of Vitamin K and has also had some various research studies conducted that show other beneficial properties. Basil has a unique array of flavonoids (a category of antioxidants). Some studies have shown anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and cardiovascular benefits associated with Basil.
A study conducted on humans (link) concluded that ” it may be concluded that O. sanctum [Holy Basil] may be useful in the treatment of GAD [General Anxiety Disorder] in human and may be a promising anxiolytic [medication that inhibits anxiety] agent in near future.
First mentioned in Chinese literature ~300 BC, most of the oranges today are cultivated in Brazil and the United States.
Oranges are well known as a good source of Vitamin C. They also contain a wide range of phytochemicals (antioxidants) including beta-carotene, lutein, flavonoids, anthocyanins, polyphenols, and others.
Some additional research has been linking oranges to lowing blood pressure and cholesterol. This research is based on a phytonutrient called, “herperidin”, which is found in the peel and white pulp of the orange. Orange Juice essentially removes all the herperidin from the orange during processing.
Other research has shown some links between oranges and ulcer prevention, anti-cancer, kidney stone prevention, respiratory health, and rheumatoid arthritis.
We found 2 different human studies (link 1) (link 2) linking the benefits of Oranges to Anxiety. The summary of the human studies concluded:
Human Study 1: “Women who were exposed to orange odor had a lower level of state anxiety, a more positive mood, and a higher level of calmness.”
Human Study 2: “Statistical analyses revealed that compared to control condition both ambient odors of orange and lavender reduced anxiety and improved mood in patients waiting for dental treatment.”
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with magnesium, zinc, manganese, copper, and protein. They also have a very diverse set of unique antioxidants including many different forms of vitamin E. They also contain Omega 3’s.
Pumpkin seed benefits have been linked to:
- Diabetes support (insulin regulation)
- antimicrobial benefits
- cancer benefits
- heart health (from the magnesium)
- immune system benefits (from the zinc)
- prostate benefits (from the zinc)
- liver health
- sleep (from tryptophan that gets converted into melatonin)
- Anti-inflammatory benefits
A human study concluded that “Protein-source tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for social anxiety disorder” (link).
Lemons are rich in Vitamin C, which is why they (and lemons) were the first well known cure for scurvy (a disease caused from a deficiency of vitamin C).
You may have seen a lot of buzz around drinking warm lemon (or lime) water every morning. The basic premise behind this is that it is supposed to help:
- Skin health
- Boosts energy
- Boosts mood
- Promotes weight loss.
- In our experience, we have seen a noticeable improvement in our health from incorporating lemon (or lime) water into our daily routine.
One animal study (link) concluded that “limon at moderate dose have anxiolytic [drug to reduce anxiety] effect.”
The most popular fruit in the world with over 1,000 different varieties, grown in over 150 countries. They have been used as a food source since at least 500 BC. It is thought there original origin comes from Southeast Asia. The word “Banana” itself comes from Africa as derived from the Arabic word for “finger”. An interesting fact – the banana plant is not a tree, it’s the world’s largest herb!
Bananas contain a protein called tryptophan, which convert in your body to serotonin. Serotonin is known to promote relaxation and improve mood.
For our dedicated Anxiety page that lists the foods that decrease anxiety as well as smoothie recipes, click here
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