Finding the Right Nutrients to Relieve Anxiety

The holidays can be an anxious time of the year for many, but as we come into 2023, that anxiety can come with us. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are very common. In fact, they are the most common mental illness in the United States. That means at least 40 million Americans battle anxiety! And with the end of the holiday season approaching, knowing the right nutrients to help with anxiety is vital. There are certain nutrients that can help reduce anxiety symptoms. Eating a balanced diet of whole, unprocessed foods is essential for managing anxiety as these foods provide the body with the right nutrients it needs to function properly.

Here are some of the key nutrients that can help reduce anxiety:

 1. Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce symptoms of anxiety due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids can improve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress by altering the neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood. They are also thought to reduce the production of stress hormones and increase the production of serotonin and dopamine, which are both associated with mood regulation. Additionally, Omega-3 fatty acids may help protect against the damaging effects of stress on the brain. They are found in foods such as fatty fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and hemp seeds.

2. Magnesium: Magnesium helps with anxiety by acting as a natural relaxant while calming the
nervous system. It also helps to reduce stress hormones and regulate the neurotransmitters responsible for mood, such as serotonin and GABA. Magnesium has been linked to improved sleep, which is essential for managing anxiety, as
well as enhanced cognitive performance, which can help reduce anxious thoughts. Deprivation of magnesium can increase anxiety, according to a study on mice. Magnesium can be found in foods such as dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, spinach, and quinoa.

3. Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is an important vitamin for brain health and plays a role in the production of
neurotransmitters. Vitamin B12 is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system and for maintaining healthy psychological and emotional states. It helps support the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and
dopamine, which are important for regulating mood. As such, some studies have suggested that vitamin B12 may help reduce anxiety levels. Additionally, B12 helps the body convert fat and protein into energy, which can help improve mood and reduce fatigue. Therefore, increasing B12 intake may help those with anxiety feel more energetic and alert. It can be found in foods such as fish, eggs, and dairy products.

4. Vitamin D: Vitamin D has been found to help reduce symptoms of anxiety. Studies have suggested that there may
be a link between vitamin D deficiency and anxiety, and that supplementing with vitamin D may help reduce anxiety symptoms. Vitamin D is believed to help regulate mood and improve overall mental health. Vitamin D works by  helping to balance hormones and neurotransmitters, which can impact mood and anxiety levels. Additionally, vitamin D has been found to reduce inflammation in the brain, which can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Vitamin D helps regulate mood and reduce stress. It can be found in foods such as salmon, tuna, and fortified dairy products.

5. Iron: Iron helps treat symptoms of anxiety by increasing the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which helps regulate mood and stress levels. Iron also helps the body produce more red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body, including the brain. This helps to improve mental clarity and focus, which may help reduce anxiety. Additionally, iron helps to reduce inflammation, which is linked to increased stress and anxiety levels. Foods rich in iron include red meat, nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, liver, oysters and dark chocolate.

If needing a little more spice in your life is causing anxiety, then don’t fret! You can add these spices into
your diet that have both antioxidant and anti-anxiety properties:  

1. Turmeric. Turmeric has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments, including anxiety. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been found to have antiinflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies have also shown that it can help reduce cortisol and other stress hormones, which can help reduce anxiety. Additionally, research has found that curcumin may boost levels of serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that regulate mood and can help reduce anxiety.

2. Ginger. Ginger has been used for centuries to help with digestive issues, inflammation, and even anxiety. It is thought to have antiinflammatory and antianxiety properties due to its high content of gingerols and shogaols, active compounds in ginger. Studies have also found that ginger can help reduce cortisol levels, the bodys primary stress hormone. Drinking ginger tea, consuming ginger capsules, or simply adding ginger to your meals can all help to relieve anxiety.

When it comes to finding anxiety relief, it is also important to drink plenty of water in order to keep your
body hydrated and to limit (or avoid altogether) alcohol and caffeine. Yoga, meditation and outdoor physical activity also helps to relieve anxiety.

At Progressive Health and Wellness, we offer specialized focus on helping our clients stay on track through all aspects of life. We also offer mindset coaching focused on improving all aspects of the mind and body. Reach out to us for more information on what we can offer you.

For more on this topic, join the conversation on our Facebook group, Integrative
Health and Nutrition for Chronic Conditions.
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