From blueberries to dark chocolate: Nine foods that help ease anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most commonly prevalent mental health conditions, affecting approximately 7.6 per cent of the global population, according to Healthline. It is characterised by constant feelings of stress, nervousness, fear and worry, making it difficult for one to function normally.

While medication, exercising and breathing techniques are commonly prescribed to those with anxiety disorder, nutrition also plays a major role in managing it. Earlier, dietitian Jyoti Bhatt, Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre had told that “foods play a major role in balancing our various moods — either happy, sad, angry, depressed, or anxious. Researchers have studied few foods and nutrients that can be associated with brain health.”

Now, nutritional psychiatrist Dr Uma Naidoo has listed nine foods that will help ease your anxiety, making you feel calm and relaxed.

*Vegetables: Vegetables such as kale, spinach, beets, broccoli and others are known to help manage anxiety.

*Blueberries: Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C – minerals that effectively provide anxiety relief.

*Fermented foods: According to WebMD, anxiety is often accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms. Therefore, fermented foods help alleviate those symptoms by reducing gut inflammation.

*Nuts and seeds: Protein sources such as nuts and seeds provide amino acids, which the body converts into mood-lifting neurotransmitters, such as serotonin.

*Legumes: Some commonly available legumes include peas, chickpeas, common bean, soybean etc.

*Fish: According to several studies, consuming salmon is known to reduce anxiety to a great extent.

*Whole grains: Whole grains are replete with magnesium and tryptophan, both of which have been shown to lessen anxiety and enhance mood.

*Herbs and spices: Herbs and spices that can help manage anxiety include cumin, ashwagandha, garlic, lavender, turmeric, lemon balm and basil among others.

*Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate contains flavonols, such as epicatechin and catechin. These are plant compounds that act as antioxidants, which are known to reduce anxiety.

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