If you are having trouble managing anxiety in your life, controlling your diet may be part of the solution. Foods can play a significant role in helping to reduce cortisol levels. Since cortisol is the body’s primary stress hormone, lowering it can have a positive effect on the amount of stress you experience in your daily life.
Dr. Lynne Ahn, a board-certified anti-aging regenerative medicine physician and integrative gastroenterologist, emphasizes the importance of eating whole foods rather than processed items. Below she discusses the types of food that can have the biggest impact on your stress.
Foods with High Magnesium Content
Consuming more magnesium is Dr. Ahn’s top recommendation because it has an unrivaled ability to metabolize cortisol. It can also help to relax your brain and body. Sources of magnesium include bananas, tofu, green vegetables like spinach and broccoli, nuts and seeds like cashews, almonds and pumpkin seeds. You can also treat yourself to dark chocolate, which, beyond and serving as a comfort food, has a lot of magnesium.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Studies have found that people who consume high quantities of omega-3 fatty acids see the most stress relief. Omega-3 is found most readily in fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, herring, etc.). If seafood is not a favorite of yours, you can seek fatty acids from walnuts, flax or chia seeds and avocados instead. These foods also double as anti-inflammatories.
Stress can impact your blood sugar levels, and fluctuating blood sugar can impact the stress you experience. Foods with protein are a good way to help stabilize your blood sugar. This includes eggs, quinoa, lean meats like chicken and turkey breast, nuts and beans.
Another way to manage your blood sugar is to eat at regular intervals. Skipping meals can make your blood sugar fluctuate, adding to the stress you experience.
Foods to Avoid
It may behoove you to also cut out a few of the worst foods and beverages known to heighten your anxiety. These include fried foods, foods with sugar and refined carbohydrates, alcohol and caffeine.
Learn More from Dr. Ahn
As a respected gastroenterologist, Dr. Ahn has a long list of dietary tips she can share to limit your stress. You may be surprised at how much of a positive effect certain foods can have on your mental health. To devise a full anxiety treatment plan with an expert, please contact Ahn Point Wellness in Wellesley, MA at (781) 237-1600.