As a very anxious person, I am always on the market looking for anything that has mental health benefits. I have been reading countless articles promoting milk, salmon, and other animal products as great ways to prevent anxiety. So, I compiled my own list of foods, with facts to back them up, that are known to carry components that support healthy brain function, resulting in possible anxiety prevention.
So, let’s get to the list.
8 Foods That Are Great to Help Prevent Anxiety
1. Turmeric –
Turmeric contains Curcumin, which is a bright yellow chemical produced by plants and is a member of the ginger family. It is known to have anti-inflammotory and antioxidant properties which have been proved to prevent damage to brain cells. The consumption of turmeric has shown to increase levels of antioxidants in the blood levels which often are low for people who experience anxiety.
“Because turmeric and curcumin offer myriad health benefits, including reduced risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, I often recommend them as dietary supplements. They are poorly absorbed from the G.I. tract, but recent research has shown that absorption is greatly enhanced by the presence of piperine, a compound in black pepper. Many people in India eat foods containing turmeric at almost every meal, and customarily add black pepper to most dishes. This frequent combination likely contributes to the anti-inflammatory and other benefits they apparently receive” (Andrew Wail, M.D., 2011).
2. Green Tea –
Green tea contains L-thanine. L-thanine is a amino acid that has been included in studies to test the positive effects it gives on anxiety reduction and also brain health. Studies have shown that those who drank the tea, had lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol which is linked to anxiety.
3. Bell Peppers –
Bell Peppers contain high levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C is known to have antioxidant properties that reduce inflammation and also prevent cell damage to those who may promote anxiety.
Fun fact: Just one cup of green bell pepper contains 200% of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C.
4. Oats –
Oats contain an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is known to convert into serotonin the body, which promotes relaxation or in some cases, anxiety relief. It is recommended that you have carbs with tryptophan only because it helps amino acids stay in your blood. This results in the body actually absorbing the amino acid, which helps give the body a serotonin boost.
5. Asparagus –
Studies have shown that many people who suffer from anxiety have low folate levels. Folate is found in asparagus and what it promotes is recycling a inflammatory amino acid in your body, as well as building red and white blood cells. It is also responsible for synthesizing biopterin (BH4), which is important for neurotransmitter synthesis. It helps promote the production of chemicals in the body like dopamine, and serotonin.
6. Blueberries –
Antioxidants in blueberries stimulate the flow of oxygen and blood into the brain. By doing this, blueberries help protect brain cells from being damaged, which may include some that affect mental health.
7. Kale –
In order for your brain to stay at optimal functioning levels, it needs boosts to support healthy antioxidant levels. Leafy greens with dark colors like Kale, contain both beta-carotene and Vitamin E, which helps support what was previously mentioned.
8. Vitamin B12 –
The vitamin B12 is responsible for improving communication between nerve cells, proving stable adrenal functions, promoting healthy memory function, and assisting in normal nerve growth/development. “Vitamin B12 deficiency causes tiredness, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, and megaloblastic anemia. Nerve problems, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, can also occur. Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include problems with balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue“ (National Institutes of Health, 2011).
These are all great vegan foods that can easily be incorporated into your everyday diet. I hope someone tries out some of these foods not only to help with their mental health & clarity, but to also improve their bodily functions in general.
I personally love to add turmeric to a lot of my dishes and I also have a black pepper and turmeric tea I keep stocked in my cupboard at all times. Oats are great too. They are easy to make, and with spices or different fruits, you can make oats a lot of different delicious ways.
Let me know in the comment section if you have tried any of these foods to boost your mental health. I would love to know what did or didn’t work for you, and if you have any other knowledge to share on this topic.
With love as always,