How Eating Healthier Foods Can Ease Your Anxiety

Following these tips might help you feel first improvements in about 30-60 days.

Dec 22, 2018
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There are many ways to combat anxiety, and while some prefer their own tried and tested method, there are several natural ways to help keep your nerves under control. One method is about remaining vigilant about what you feed your body. Dr. Uma Naidoo, director of nutritional and lifestyle psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and a psychiatry instructor at Harvard Medical School, says certain foods can help ease our anxiety symptoms.

“I’ve actually seen in my patients a significant reduction in their level of anxiety as they pay more clear attention to what they’re consuming,” she told TODAY.

Eating healthy can serve as a great supplement to psychiatric care and medications, and it often takes less effort than her patients think. Another plus of monitoring their diets is that little changes can have significant results.

A Few of Her Guidelines:

Sugar and processed foods are best enjoyed in limited quantities. To be sure how much sugar you’re consuming, read the labels and stick to homemade versions whenever possible is your best bet.

Naidoo suggested those with anxiety choose more complex carbs such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes or quinoa, because not only do they keep us fuller longer, they promote a calmer mindstate. Also on her ‘to eat’ list? Foods high in nutrients like zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, and magnesium. Foods such as avocado, cashews, leafy greens, cold water fatty fish, and nuts are all great additions to your diet.

Naidoo advises her patients to stick to a regular eating schedule and not skip any meals, which will keep blood sugar levels low and avoid those jittery nervous sensations, which can appear when we’re hungry.

Lastly, one of the most important nutrition tips for those who experience anxiety is to drink alcohol in moderation, so that your body isn’t in a constant state of “mini withdrawals” throughout the following day. To keep from feeling uncomfortable and/or feel your heart race, it’s best to limit the number of drinks you consume.

Naidoo says that along with developing healthier habits in general, those who suffer from anxiety could notice they’re feeling better after 30-60 days.

Cheers to feeling healthier and happier this new year.

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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