Did you know that discovering how foods effect you can help influence how you feel and even improve your overall wellbeing? Making good food choices is an excellent way to help your mood. The foods we choose can not only affect how our brain functions, but also influence our mood for hours after eating. Nutrients in food affect how neurotransmitters work in the brain. They can promote feelings of calm and help the release of important neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.
- Foods rich in probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and pickles, were linked to fewer symptoms of anxiety. People who consumed prebiotics or foods that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut had lower levels of stress.
- Zinc is found in oysters, cashews, beef, and spinach. Zinc helps neurotransmitter function, which prevents anxiety and irritability. Tryptophan is found in turkey, fish, eggs, beans, oats, nuts, and lentils. It helps in the function of serotonin which causes serene, rewarding, and happy feelings.
- Magnesium is found in fish, yogurt, quinoa, and bananas. It protects the brain against stress, anxiety, and helps prevent sleep disruptions. Those with low levels of dietary magnesium were found to be the greatest at risk for anxiety and depression.
- Omega 3 fatty acids are found in salmon, tuna, brussel sprouts, and walnuts. They have anti-inflammatory effects that protect against the stress hormone. Omega 3 fatty acids were also linked to a better overall mood and lower risk for depression.
- Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables keep blood sugar stable and help promote the feeling of calm and relaxation.
A great tip is to keep a food journal and be mindful of the relationship between your mood and the foods you’ve eaten or reading up more on the topic, an great example being:
Check out this excellent book: “This is Your Brain on Food” by Uma Naidoo, MD.
It’s also very important that if your anxiety is severe and lasts longer than 2 weeks, consider seeking a professional evaluation.
Well Coast Medical has mental health specialists that are ready to help! Call us at (833) 931-1716 to learn more when you are ready to take your first step towards healing.