I’m a bit of an introvert–an introvert with a severe pickle addiction. After reading this article in one of my favorite blogs, Refinery 29, it’s all starting to make sense. The article mentioned a recent study published in Psychiatry Research, in which a connection was found between consumption of fermented foods (like pickles) and reduction in social anxiety. While the study was purely observational and there is no solid evidence of causation, people who were most vulnerable to experiencing social anxiety showed the strongest link between consuming fermented foods and a boost in social confidence. Fascinating!
Inspired by this new discovery (and pretty strong case justifying my pickle habit), here’s a list of foods believed to have anxiety-busting properties. Try adding them to your diet and see if you notice a difference:
Rich in probiotics, which are believed to be the beneficial ingredient in the fermented foods included in the above study, yogurt also has anxiety-fighting potential. In fact, other studies have indicated a link between our gut bacteria and our overall mood. One study in particular revealed that eating probiotic yogurt made brain circuits involved in anxiety less reactive. Neat!
As if anyone needed another reason to enjoy more avocados! B vitamins are essential for healthy nerves and brain cells, and vitamin B supplementation has been shown to be beneficial for people suffering from mood disorders. Avocados are rich in anxiety-busting B vitamins, so mash up some guacamole and chill out!
Depression and anxiety are often associated mental conditions, and depression has been linked to low levels of folic acid. Boost your folic acid intake with a one-cup serving of asparagus, which gives you two-thirds of your daily recommended folic acid intake.
Magnesium is an essential mineral known for its natural calming properties. In fact, magnesium supplementation, combined with vitamin B-6, was shown to reduce anxiety-related premenstrual symptoms. You can get more magnesium by eating more dark, leafy greens, which also contain B vitamins. Kale is an excellent choice (get some in our Kale Ricotta Ravioli).
Blueberries are an excellent anxiety-fighting food because they’re packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, which help repair and protect our cells in times of stress. Best of all, you don’t need to eat a million of them to enjoy these effects–their nutrients are highly concentrated even though they are tiny. Toss a few frozen blueberries in your next smoothie and enjoy.
Fish and fish oil supplements are rich in essential omega-3s, which not only help alleviate depression, but have also been found to reduce anxiety and prevent stress hormones from skyrocketing. Most people can get enough from grilling some salmon on the BBQ a few times a week, but if you know you’re particularly deficient, you can also try a fish oil supplement.
What do you do to beat stress and anxiety? Share your thoughts in the comments section, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for more nutritious tips and exclusive giveaways!