5 Foods That Can Calm and Soothe

These relaxing foods are nature’s way of helping you chill out.

Dec 7, 2020

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Nature has many gifts. Watching a dramatic sunset, walking in a forest, and listening to the rhythmic surf are relaxing and calming. Yet, one can receive similar benefits through eating plants and herbs that abound in nature. This is because tranquility can be found in the food one eats.  

These days, many people are feeling anxious and the number is growing. In fact, over 30 percent of Americans suffer from anxiety according to the Anxiety Centre, with experts estimating  the number may be closer to 50 percent since many people do not look for help or do not even recognize the symptoms.

But don’t let these stats make you anxious! When you feel worried, fearful, or have trouble concentrating, you could reach for wholesome foods to build up those happy hormones and healing minerals.

Load up on vegetables, legumes, fruits, and whole grains. Say “no” to high glycemic foods such as fried food, white sugar, and alcoholic drinks, according to Calm Clinic. Here are five healing foods that may bring back your bounce and make you smile!

Leafy greens

Look for the dark greens such as swiss chard and kale. They are loaded with magnesium, which MindBodyGreen refers to as the “natural chill pill.”

Magnesium also assists in the functioning of the brain’s GABA receptors which tell the body to relax and assist it in managing stress. Leafy greens, especially spinach, are loaded with folate. Folate is the secret behind producing dopamine, a calming brain chemical, that helps you feel your best.

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Fermented foods

Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha contain live, active cultures or probiotics that are good for your gut and brain, especially your mental health. These healthy bacteria repress those free radicals as well as neurotoxins that can harm the brain’s nervous tissue and cause anxiety. A study shows how a diet rich in probiotics can relieve stress.

In fact, having a healthy gut may make a huge difference in your mood. Functional medicine refers to the gut as a second brain since 95 percent of serotonin is found in the gut, according to MindBodyGreen.

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Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are filled with potassium, which aids in regulating electrolytes and managing blood pressure, according to Medical News Today. All foods rich in potassium, such as pumpkin seeds and bananas, may help to reduce stress.

As well as being an antioxidant, pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, a mineral essential for nerve and brain development. Zinc is found in the area of the brain that is involved with emotions, and a  study of 30 women who took zinc for ten weeks showed a reduction in feelings of anger and depression.

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Turmeric

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, assists people with anxiety and depression as it helps reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, according to Medical News Today. Turmeric also helps create more DHA in the brain which reduces anxiety, as shown in this study.

Turmeric also increases one’s blood antioxidant level, according to Healthline. People with a low measure of blood antioxidants tend to have more feelings of anxiety, so spice up your life with this powerful ingredient!

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Chamomile tea

Even before taking a sip, a waft of this floral tea can be calming. It may be because of the flavonoids in the tea, according to Medical News Today, but as chamomile is also beneficial as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, you can’t go wrong.

In fact, a study showed that taking chamomile capsules reduced anxiety and depression. Want to restore that calm feeling? Always have some tea bags at home so you can enjoy the relaxing properties of chamomile.

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NICOLE NATHAN BEM, CONTRIBUTOR
Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.