Let’s face it, we all find ourselves a little worried from time to time about the current state of our economy and where our jobs and businesses stand in the midst of all this. Anxiety is definitely at an all-time high for everyone right now. We’ve seen countless people losing their homes, jobs, sobriety, and everything. The suicide rate has skyrocketed, and homelessness numbers are climbing.
So you’re feeling a little more anxiety lately too? Well duh. Anxiety can also lead to less workouts, eating poorly (umm… pass me the ice cream!), and overall feeling sluggish. Here are some foods that can actually help you combat that anxiety. Add these to your grocery list, grab some candles or a sage smudge, and turn that anxiety frown upside down!
Say No to Ice Cream, Say Yes Nuts & Berries
As much as you may want to, a bowl of your favorite ice cream won’t magically make you feel better. The problem is all that sugar! Spikes in your blood sugar can bring changes in your hormone levels that can start with “jitteriness” and eventually lead to crashes. Try to stay away from sugar-rich foods and turn to antioxidant rich foods like nuts, beans, green vegetables, or berries. Antioxidant rich foods help protect your cells from stress and may help ease feelings of depression. My favorite way to spice up my berries and fruit is to add a little Tajin seasoning to it! It’s a mild blend of chili peppers, lime, and sea salt but adds the perfect zest to fruits and veggies.
If this one leaves a bad taste in your mouth, almost any leafy green will do — kale, collard greens, or Swiss chard. The key is the magnesium, which may help you feel calmer. Make sure you get enough of that mineral in your diet to help keep things in check.
This is a complex carb — it gets into your system slowly and gives you a steady flow of energy that can help keep you on an even keel. It also can give you a boost of a brain chemical called serotonin that can lift your mood.
The flavonoids in the cocoa help protect your cells. They’re a type of antioxidant that may also help lower your blood pressure, boost the blood flow to your brain and heart, and make you less anxious. The dark stuff — at least 70% cocoa — is best, but don’t overdo it. The caffeine in chocolate can make anxiety worse if you have too much, and no one needs a lot of extra fat and calories. My favorite chocolate brand is Mast Organic Chocolate.
This one can be a blessing or a curse — the issue is the caffeine. A couple of cups of black coffee a day may boost your mood and energy, and up to four cups seems to be OK for most people. More than that can make you jittery and anxious, and some people are more sensitive to it. Also adding lots of cream and sugar will counter the benefits.
Zinc is a mineral that helps our bodies deal with stress. Some diets may not include enough of this mineral so it’s good to intentionally incorporate Zinc rich foods. Zinc can be found in oysters, cashews, liver, beef, poultry, and eggs too. To your body build immunity around COVID, it’s good to take a Zinc and Vitamin D supplement.
You may think of Vitamin C when you think of citrus fruits, but that’s a big reason it might help your anxiety. Some studies have shown that a diet rich in Vitamin C may help calm you and put you in a better frame of mind.
These little fish aren’t for everyone, but they have lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help with depression and anxiety. The reason for that may be related to the way they can ease inflammation. If sardines are too fishy for you, try salmon or albacore tuna which are lighter, but also have plenty of omega-3s.
For some people, just the ritual of sitting down with a cup of tea has a calming effect. Certain herbs, lavender and chamomile for example, may help too, along with the antioxidants in the tea leaves. Just make sure you don’t get too much caffeine. Many teas are caffeinated. My favorite teas are these Sakara teas and Baskin Essentials Chamomile Tea. I drink them all day long, and use honey from Beauty & the Bees https://www.omahabees.com/ in all my teas.
Cabbage naturally has folic acid, Vitamin C, and some B Vitamins that may help ease anxiety. If it’s left to ferment (stew in its own juices), bacteria breaks down and ferments the sugars, creating lactic acid which gives the sour taste. These “good” bacteria help keep your gut healthy and play a role in making serotonin, a calming brain chemical.
While these foods are unlikely to completely cure your anxiety, adding them into your daily diet can definitely help. Also, if you are an oyster-lover, a nice lunch with friends at the The Capital Grille Restaurant has certainly been known to calm my anxiety (my favorite place in Las Vegas!). Sometimes that’s all it takes — someone to talk to, some good food, a little company, and of course, meditation music. You already know that I swear by it!