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We got a nutritionist to share a simple diet that can help reduce your anxiety

Published on:29 December 2020, 13:00pm IST
Anxiety is a part and parcel of 2020. And if the unsettling feeling refuses to let you go, here are some anxiety-reducing foods that can help.
Vaibhav Garg
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These foods will help you get an upper hand over your anxiety. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Anxiety is more like a plague in the current scenario. Almost every adult is constantly worried or nervous about what will happen next. This could be in relation to their personal health, their careers, or just in general since the pandemic does not seem to be going away. Life hasn’t been normal for quite some time now and this constant state of nervousness can eventually lead to poor brain health. In extreme cases, this situation may require medication as well. 

When it comes to holistic medicine—or more simply put, natural remedies—there are several tried and tested ways that can help reduce anxiety symptoms. While exercising and deep breathing have been known to help, there are a lot of scientifically proven foods as well that can help reduce the symptoms and improve brain health. Here are a few of them:

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1. Nuts and seeds

Did you know that your brain is the fattiest organ in the human body? Yes, it comprises 60% fat, which is quite remarkable. Nuts aren’t just amazing sources of fibre, but they contain vital fatty acids called omega 3 fatty acids in the form of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These are essential in regulating neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which have calming and relaxing properties.

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Omega 3s also reduces inflammation and has a boosting effect on the brain, and in general, on the body’s overall immune system owing to a host of other benefits attached with it.

If we dwell deeper into the research, we have evidence that pregnant mothers who consume adequate amounts of omega 3 in their diet during their third trimester have smarter off-spring as a result. So, what are you waiting for, get your omega 3 today! You can also get these fatty acids from walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and flaxseeds.

2. Turmeric or haldi

For centuries, turmeric has been known to be a powerful herb when it comes to healing. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a vital ingredient in our daily diet. The active compound in turmeric is called curcumin and it has been proven to promote brain health, prevent anxiety issues, and even aid in quality sleep.
Studies have also suggested that curcumin helps synthesise the DHA omega 3 in the brain better, thereby enhancing its overall outcome.

The curcumin helps lower inflammatory markers such as cytokines that are often linked with anxiety development. As it naturally increases the blood’s antioxidant levels, it lowers other risks like cancer(which is a result of inflammatory agents and build up of free radicals), diabetes, and greatly aids in joint problems and digestive issues as well.

3. Ashwagandha

Another powerful indian herb is the mighty ashwagandha. It is known for its adaptogen qualities. An adaptogen helps restore the body back to its normal condition when it’s in a stressful state. Owing to the overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol during anxiety and stressful situations, ashwagandha has been proven to naturally lower cortisol levels.

Ashwagandha can combat the ill effects of high cortisol levels like weight gain, low energy and more importantly, poor concentration. Add ashwagandha to your daily routine for better focus and stress management.

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4. Green tea

Green tea contains an important amino acid called L-Theanine that has been proven to have positive effects on brain health. Studies show a reduction in psychological stress responses associated with anxiety and stressful situations—be it emotional or physical stress.

L-Theanine functions by preventing the nerves from getting over excited, and also increases the output of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin that have anti-anxiety effects.

The compound EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is also present in green tea. It increases the GABA neurotransmitter in the brain, which has anti-anxiety effects similar to those experienced by anti-anxiety medications. Besides this, green tea consumption is associated with increased metabolism and improved gut health.

5. Ditch processed foods and dairy-based foods

We must never forget that optimum blood circulation throughout our body needs to be maintained at all times. Adequate blood supply to the brain will ensure that the brain gets ample oxygen and nutrients to function properly.

Consumption of processed and dairy based foods is highly detrimental to blood circulation as they cause constriction of blood vessels, hence disrupting the blood supply. These are classified as inflammatory foods that have reaching side effects. Besides compromising brain health, their prolonged consumption has been known to cause disorders like diabetes and heart disease.

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Vaibhav Garg Vaibhav Garg

Vaibhav Garg is a clinical and sports nutritionist. He is also the founder of Purecise.