- Mental Health
How to Fight Stress Anxiety and Depression With These 9 Foods
Food is Fuel for Your Body
Food is like fuel for your body, and what we put into our body affects how our body performs. If we don't have healthy bodies, we are likely to become run down and unable to fight common afflictions such as stress, anxiety, and depression.
I can attest to how important a healthy body is in fighting off stress and anxiety. You see, when I was a young married woman with two children, I had a tendency to stretch myself thin - burning the candle at both ends, so to speak. At the same time as I was a wife and mother, I attended the university full time to obtain my bachelors degree. I also worked part-time to help with household expenses. Plus, I managed the household – cooking, cleaning, handling the bills, and so on. Life was stressful for me during that time. There were days when I felt as if I would not be able to get to the end of the day alive. I felt an extreme amount of anxiety. I felt as if there were not enough hours in the day to get everything done. My health began to fade and I feared that I was slipping into depression as I struggled to manage all the day-to-day demands I placed upon myself day in and day out.
I was fortunate to have a neighbor who noticed that I was dwindling. She was one of those kind neighbors who would help out when she could but she had two children of her own, so there wasn’t a whole lot she could do on a regular basis. But, she was a fitness instructor and she shared some valuable information with me. I honestly believe eating these foods helped to bring my emotional well-being back to normal.
“Use food for fuel.” That’s what my neighbor would say as she explained about various foods and their importance. When I ate the foods she suggested, I felt my body become energized and the most important change was my mental attitude. My anxiety level began to decrease. All-in-all, it took about a week before I noticed that I was feeling less stressed. I felt as if I was handed more hours in the day and that feeling of being overwhelmed and depressed was completely gone.
Your body may be different than mine, so, I offer no guarantees. Some of the following stress-relieving foods might work, while others may have no effect at all. I suggest that if you are not allergic to the foods listed here, then at least give it a try and if it works, then incorporate them into your daily diet.
Alleviate your stress, anxiety, and help fight depression with these foods:
1. Coffee. Coffee is a beverage that many people start their day with. And, while coffee does have caffeine, which is a stimulant, when drank in moderation, coffee helps stimulate the brain into working with more energy and efficiency. This helps you feel more motivated and less stressed.
Coffee also contains antioxidants which help keep your immune system healthy. And, when you feel healthy, you feel better and are more capable of combating stress, anxiety, and depression.
2. Oatmeal. Oatmeal helps increase serotonin levels in your brain. Serotonin is a chemical that affects your mood, appetite, sleep, and muscle function, among many other important bodily functions. Oatmeal is a carbohydrate, and your brain needs carbohydrates in order to function normally. If you don’t like oatmeal, other carbohydrates such as wheat bread, potatoes, and rice will be beneficial, as well.
3. Green Leafy Vegetables. Leafy greens contain a lot of magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral that has the power to relax muscles. Lettuce, kale, and cabbage are excellent green leafy vegetables, but my all-time favorite is spinach. Spinach is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids. Their role in the body is to reduce your stress and help with many other conditions, including depression.
4. Fish Oil. Fish oil contains essential fatty acids known as omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids help increase the serotonin levels in your brain. Serotonin helps your brain cope with stress, making you mentally feel good. Salmon is a good choice of fish to obtain omega 3 fatty acids. Try to eat salmon at least once a week if not more times a week.
5. Lean Meats. Speaking of protein, lean meats are your number one source for protein. Protein, as you know can help you alleviate stress. Other excellent sources of protein are turkey, eggs, chicken and fish. All of these foods contain the amino acids needed for healthy brain function. It is important to note that you should avoid eating fat because fat keeps amino acids from being properly digested.
6. Milk. Milk is filled with proteins and calcium. Milk is considered the perfect food because the nutrients found in mild are absolutely necessary for the production of the human body. The good news about milk is that protein helps reduce anxiety and calcium helps relax the muscles. Milk also contains a chemical called tryptophan which helps you calm down and relax. A glass of milk at the end of the day can help you fall asleep faster and obtain a better night’s rest.
The benefits of milk can be achieved through other sources such as cheese, butter and curd.
7. Chocolate. Chocolate contains caffeine. Caffeine helps increase serotonin. Serotonin helps you feel good. Eating a small piece of dark chocolate each day can help alleviate stress. Plus, chocolate is packed with antioxidants, which help build your immune system, providing all around better health for you
8. Red Wine. Yes! Health experts state that consuming a glass of red wine each day can help temporarily lower your blood pressure, which can help you relax. It is important to drink in moderation. Only one glass – two at the most each night is enough. More than that can be less beneficial.
See: The Health Benefits of Drinking Wine by catmalone (HubPages)
9. Nuts. Nuts contain the vitamin B complex, which helps maintain your blood sugar level, in turn, helping you fight fatigue. Fatigue is sometimes responsible in lowering your ability to fight stress, anxiety, and depression. A handful of nuts each day can be extremely beneficial to you. One thing I do is pack a bag of mixed nuts and carry the bag of nuts with me in my purse. Throughout the day, I eat a small amount of nuts so that by the end of the day, I will have consumed my handful of nuts for that day.
The author is not a medical professional. Prior to embarking on any eating program, which may be different from what you normally eat, please refer to your personal medical advisor.
Vitamins and Supplements
It is best to get the nutrients your body needs through eating the right foods. But if you are not able to do that, consider taking vitamins and supplements to get the benefits of healthy foods. Perhaps, you may not be able to tolerate certain foods that you know are good for you, or it may not be likely that you will eat a certain food every day. For instance, most people are not likely to eat salmon every day, so taking a fish oil supplement is a good alternative.
Eat to become healthier
The key to fighting stress, anxiety, and depression is maintaining a healthy body. Eating the foods on the above list will start you on the path to becoming healthy. A healthy body helps you feel stress-free, a little less anxious, and able to fight depression with a stronger body and stronger state of mind.