The Calming Diet

May 20, 2022
May 20, 2022

We all know that diet is integral to our physical wellbeing, but can what you eat impact your mental health too? Read on to discover if it’s possible to adjust your diet to have a calming effect, and if food really can reduce stress and anxiety…

Food and Feelings…

Take a moment to think about how eating something makes you feel - when you eat fast food, a burger for example, or a lot of chocolate in one sitting, you can quickly feel sluggish, sleepy and lacking energy. Consuming a lot of fast food generally doesn’t make you feel great, but what about the positive impact of food?

Food and the way it affects our emotions is a complex subject, and different foods can make different people feel different things. What we do know, is that there are in fact certain foods that can have a calming effect on the mind and body. Diet can be used alongside other methods, such as meditation and mindfulness, to improve stress and anxiety.

The Calming Diet

Of course eating ‘calming’ foods alone cannot rid you of stress or anxiety for life, but a clever approach to your diet could help you reduce symptoms and be a good way to manage potentially difficult situations or periods in your life.

Here are a few foods to include in your diet, known to have a calming effect…

1. Brazil Nuts

High in Selenium, brazil nuts may improve your mood by reducing inflammation. Inflammation is found to be of higher levels in the body in those with depression and anxiety, and so in reducing inflammation you can improve your mood too. Also high in vitamin E, studies have shown that low levels of vitamin E can lead to depression in some people. Include a couple of Brazil nuts in your daily diet to feel the benefit.

2. Salmon

Salmon is a powerhouse when it comes to anxiety-reducing nutrients. It’s rich in vitamin D and omega-3 acids EPA and DHA. All three can help regulate both serotonin and dopamine, having a calming effect, relaxing the mind and the body. Try including a portion of salmon in your diet three times a week.

3. Eggs

Eggs are a great source of vitamin D. Low vitamin D is directly linked to anxiety and depression, and while there’s no better source than getting out in the sunshine and fresh air, if getting out isn’t always an option, consider adding eggs to your diet 2-3 times a week.

4. Turmeric

Turmeric has recently become popular in the health and fitness industry, and for good reason. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is known to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can be increased in people that have anxiety and depression. Try including turmeric in your cooking a few times a week, or add to your morning smoothie.

5. Yogurt

Full of healthy bacteria known as probiotics, yoghurt can help your mental wellbeing. Recent research has shown that probiotics can support the gut-brain-axis, which is the unique link between your brain and stomach. Healthy gut bacteria has been linked with better mental health, just choose a yoghurt that contains live cultures, as not all yoghurts do. Try having yoghurt every morning with your breakfast as part of your mood-boosting diet.

Whether you struggle with anxiety or depression on an on-going basis, or you just want to improve your general mood and reduce the risk of feeling low or anxious, a ‘calming’ diet could help. You don’t need to completely overhaul the way you eat, but being more mindful of how what you eat can impact your mood can positively impact your mental health.

If you’re looking for other ways to help reduce anxiety and depression, consider additional methods such as daily breathing exercises and deep pressure stimulation.

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TheaWellbeing and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material on theawellbeing.com is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health-related programs.