When you feel stressed, anxious, or depressed, it can affect your mental health. There are several ways to deal with negative emotions, such as meditation, but you can also use food and nutrition to improve your mood.
Add Stress-Relieving Foods to Your Diet for Better Mental Health
Chamomile is a sun-kissed herb that has been used for its calming and soothing effects, also associated with brightness and happiness in ancient cultures, suggesting its uplifting qualities.
Chamomile contains anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce anxiety and stress in the body.
A 2009 clinical study found that German chamomile, Matricaria recutita, reduced symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder compared to placebo control.
If you’re looking for an easy way to relieve stress, try making a cup of chamomile tea in the evening while you practice mindful reading. The properties of the herb should help you relax.
Chia seeds are a fascinating food that comes from Salvia hispanica, an excellent anti-stress food because they are rich in antioxidants, protein, and fiber, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), is another omega-3 essential fatty acid that may help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
A 2020 review found that people who regularly ate high-fiber foods had a lower risk of developing symptoms of depression and anxiety. To incorporate chia seeds into your diet, try mixing them into oatmeal or smoothies. Alternatively, try making chia seed pudding that works for all flavour profiles.
Turmeric is a spice ground from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. It is mostly used in Asian dishes and is one of the main ingredients in the popular “Golden Milk” drink.
Curcumin is the main component of turmeric and is said to help with stress and anxiety. Curcumin increases DHA levels in the brain, which improves mental functions and processes.
A 2015 randomized controlled trial found that just one gram of curcumin per day reduced anxiety scores. You can get curcumin by taking turmeric as a daily supplement or by including it in your weekly diet.
It might not surprise you that chocolate is considered an anti-stress food. Dark chocolate, chocolate containing about 70% or more pure cocoa, contains antioxidants called flavonoids. 2017 article in Frontiers in Nutrition claimed that these flavanols increase blood flow and have neuroprotective properties.
Like omega-3s, they can help you feel less stressed and more aware when making decisions throughout the day. Choose the darkest chocolate you can support to benefit from the antioxidant properties of chocolates. Put a small square of 1 to 1.5 as a daily treat.
A 2016 double-blind, randomized study found that people who consumed L-theanine had less stress and lower cortisol levels. The L-theanine in green tea can also increase dopamine, GABA, and serotonin, contributing to its uplifting properties. To get a daily dose of L-theanine, brew a cup of green tea in the morning as an alternative to your typical morning latte.
Oats are an excellent food for improving your body’s digestive function and positively affecting the gut-brain connection. A cup of raw oats contains about 8 grams of fiber, which aids digestion and can improve your mood.
Raw whole-grain oats and steel-cut oats are best, as they take longer to digest than quick-cooking varieties. This helps keep your energy level and insulin production stable. Stable blood sugar often results in an improved mood with less stress and irritability.
Berries of any kind are a great addition to your daily diet for reducing stress. Most berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that have been linked to fewer cases of depression and anxiety.
A 2018 review suggested that the phenolic compounds in berries reduce oxidative stress, which can help with mental well-being.
A separate 2018 study found that people who consumed high levels of phenolic acid and anthocyanins, a pigment found in blue-purple berries, exhibited a reduced risk of depressive symptoms.
Increase your berry consumption by eating a wide variety of berries, such as:
Yogurt, along with other probiotic foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, and kefir, is wonderful for reducing mental stress and anxiety. Probiotics work to improve your gut health, which affects your mood through the gut-brain axis.
A 2013 study found that people who consumed yogurt a day had better brain function and emotional regulation after four weeks.
To stress-relieving boost from your mind, incorporate yogurt into your daily or weekly diet.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that contains numerous vitamins such as A, C and K, as well as minerals such as folic acid, iron, potassium and magnesium, which are good for the mind and body.
As for anti-stress properties, 2018 study in mice concluded that spinach contains anti-stress and anti-depressant properties. An article from Harvard Health reported that the magnesium in spinach may also have a calming effect on mood. Try adding spinach to your diet by tossing a few baby spinach into a salad.
If you are a fan of coffee, you will be happy to know that this popular drink can relieve stress and improve your mood in the right amounts. A 2018 randomized controlled trial and a 2021 report showed that black coffee improved mental functioning after consumption.
Coffee is an important source of caffeine. There are about 37 mg of caffeine in a teaspoon of coffee. A 2015 meta-analysis found that people who consume coffee per day experienced an 8% decrease in depressive symptoms per cup. While coffee can improve your mood and reduce stress, too much can also cause problems. Nervousness and irritability are side effects of too much caffeine.
Omega 3 fatty acid
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that your body needs to function properly. Two
important omega-3 fatty acids are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic
acid). EPA and DHA have both been shown to have beneficial effects in
They are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. A 2011 randomized controlled trial
showed that DHA and EPA reduced anxiety symptoms by 20% when participating. This can
help you keep your mind clear, improve your mood, and reduce your daily stress level.