These foods may help reduce anxiety, according to a nutrition psychiatrist

If you’ve ever been worried or nervous, you may be able to testify that an anxious mind causes an anxious stomach. Those butterflies in the stomach are no accident!

When this happens occasionally, it’s completely normal, even good for you. There’s even a word for the healthy form of stress: Eustress is what arises in response to particular short-term problems, like a presentation you have to give at work. It might give you a jittery stomach for a while, but it helps you do what needs to be done.

But this response can turn from occasional, healthy stress into chronic anxiety, which can hinder your quality of life and lead to other health problems. In my field, nutritional psychiatry, we address these symptoms by focusing on gut health. The connection between the gut and the brain goes beyond those butterflies.

When it comes to the gut and the brain, the health of one directly affects the health of the other. In particular, the microbiome, or unique collection of gut microbes, may be a major determinant of anxious systems. Inflammation in the gut, which can be caused by an excess of unhealthy bacteria, contributes to inflammation in the brain. When inflammation is present in the brain, stress and anxiety can arise, especially when this inflammation is chronic.

So, it’s important to figure out which foods will keep your gut healthy and inflammation at bay. Overall, focusing your diet on healthy, high-fiber, nutrient-dense foods with lots of healthy fats and clean proteins supports reduced levels of inflammation and stress, while also supporting satiety so you don’t reach for anxiety-inducing foods like sugary drinks and snacks. processed.

The foods here are particular stars when it comes to reducing inflammation and supporting a sense of calmness and focus.

Prebiotic fiber

Greens are high in prebiotic fiber that nourishes and helps maintain an abundance of healthy bacteria in your gut; this is associated with a reduction in neuroinflammation and stress. Prebiotic foods include asparagus, garlic, onions, leafy greens, artichokes, legumes, mushrooms and apples. I recommend including a variety of these veggies in your diet to ensure a variety of brain-boosting vitamins and minerals along with fiber.

Berries

Rich in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins, berries support a healthy microbiome and can reduce inflammation. Blueberries specifically contain one of the highest concentrations of anxiety-reducing anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant that supports brain health by fighting oxidative stress. I love having a quarter cup of blueberries a day as part of a brain-healthy breakfast! Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are also great fruits to reach for.

omega-3 fatty acids

These are an incredibly powerful tool for reducing inflammation in your gut and brain. They can be found in abundance in wild-caught fish such as salmon, anchovies, tuna, mackerel and sardines, as well as in nuts and seeds such as walnuts and chia seeds. Omega-3 consumption is associated with reduced anxiety, brain fog and cognitive decline, as well as improved mood.

Spices

Spices such as turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, saffron, rosemary and ginger not only enhance the flavor and color of our meals, but are also rich in antioxidants, micronutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds to improve mental fitness. Enjoying my turmeric latte every morning is one of my favorite ways to reduce stress and have good energy throughout the day!

Fermented foods

A healthy microbiome depends on a healthy presence of good bacteria in your gut, and one effective way to replenish these good bacteria populations is by eating fermented foods. Naturally rich in live cultures, foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso, and plain yogurt are excellent for mental fitness. Consuming fermented foods in combination with the fiber-rich vegetables mentioned above is key to maintaining a healthy microbiome and resisting chronic inflammation.

If you’ve ever been worried or nervous, you may be able to testify that an anxious mind causes an anxious stomach. Those butterflies in the stomach are no accident! But there are foods that can reduce that anxiety, and even the more chronic kind.

When you feel stressed occasionally, it’s completely normal, even good for you. There’s even a word for the healthy form of stress: Eustress is what arises in response to particular short-term problems, like a presentation you have to give at work. It might give you a jittery stomach for a while, but it helps you do what needs to be done.

But this response can turn from daily stress into chronic anxiety, and that can hamper your quality of life and lead to other health problems. In my field, nutritional psychiatry, we address these symptoms by focusing on gut health and foods that may relieve anxiety in the long run. That’s because the link between the gut and the brain goes beyond those butterflies.

When it comes to the gut-brain connection, the health of one directly affects the health of the other. In particular, the microbiome, or unique collection of gut microbes, may be a major determinant of anxious systems. Inflammation in the gut, which can be caused by an excess of unhealthy bacteria, contributes to inflammation in the brain. When inflammation is present in the brain, stress and anxiety can arise, especially when this inflammation is chronic.

So, it’s important to figure out which foods will keep your gut healthy and inflammation at bay. Overall, focusing your diet on healthy, high-fiber, nutrient-dense foods with lots of healthy fats and clean proteins supports reduced levels of inflammation and stress, while also supporting satiety so you don’t reach for anxiety-inducing foods like sugary drinks and snacks. transformed. .

The foods here are particular stars when it comes to reducing inflammation and supporting a sense of calmness and focus.

Prebiotic fiber

Greens are high in prebiotic fiber that nourishes and helps maintain an abundance of healthy bacteria in your gut; this is associated with a reduction in neuroinflammation and stress. Prebiotic foods include asparagus, garlic, onions, leafy greens, artichokes, legumes, mushrooms and apples. I recommend including a variety of these veggies in your diet to ensure a variety of brain-boosting vitamins and minerals along with fiber.

asparagus

Joanna McCarthy – Getty Images

Berries

Rich in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins, berries support a healthy microbiome and can reduce inflammation. Blueberries specifically contain one of the highest concentrations of anxiety-reducing anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant that supports brain health by fighting oxidative stress. I love having a quarter cup of blueberries a day as part of a brain-healthy breakfast! Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are also great fruits to reach for.

still life with an abundance of strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and cranberries

BRETT STEVENS – Getty Images

omega-3 fatty acids

These are an incredibly powerful tool for reducing inflammation in your gut and brain. They can be found in abundance in wild-caught fish such as salmon, anchovies, tuna, mackerel and sardines, as well as in nuts and seeds such as walnuts and chia seeds. Omega-3 consumption is associated with reduced anxiety, brain fog and cognitive decline, as well as improved mood.

sliced ​​salmon

super mimicry – Getty Images

Spices

Spices such as turmeric (with black pepper to make it more available to your brain and body), cinnamon, saffron, rosemary and ginger not only enhance the flavor and color of our meals but are also rich in antioxidants, micronutrients and anti-inflammatories compounds to improve mental fitness. Enjoying my turmeric latte every morning is one of my favorite ways to reduce stress and have good energy throughout the day!

turmeric

Basic Photography – Getty Images

Fermented foods

A healthy microbiome depends on a healthy presence of good bacteria in your gut, and one effective way to replenish these good bacteria populations is by eating fermented foods. Naturally rich in live cultures, foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso, and plain yogurt are excellent for mental fitness. Consuming fermented foods in combination with the fiber-rich vegetables mentioned above is key to maintaining a healthy microbiome and resisting chronic inflammation.

sauerkraut

Basic Photography – Getty Images

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