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How Nutrition Aided My Anxiety Journey

Start of my nutrition for anxiety journey

I have struggled with anxiety my whole life. I know first-hand how all-consuming and life altering it can be. Some days are better than others where you almost forget about it all together. Other days, it is extremely debilitating and greatly affects your everyday life. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. and affect 40 million adults over the age of 18When thinking about anxiety treatment, the first thing that often comes to mind is anxiety medication prescribed by your general practitioner or psychologist. However, medication does not have to be your sole path to living an anxiety-free life. Nutrition can supplement medication and pave the way for your wellness journey. Eating for anxiety does not have to be difficult and can easily be incorporated into one’s daily routine. 

Nutrition’s Role for Anxiety

Dark Leafy Greens boost Magnesium

Dark leafy greens are an excellent source of magnesium

Nutrition is something that can affect one’s physical and mental health. If you eat nutritious foods that fuel your body, then it is safe to say that one’s mental state could benefit from this. Changing your nutrition to better support your mental and physical health is a great way to combat anxiety. This new way of eating can go hand-in-hand with anxiety medication or whatever treatment plan you decide to pursue.

Magnesium for Anxiety

Creating a healthy nutrition plan to help lower anxiety can be quite effective because it reduces the unhealthy eating habits and replaces them with healthier choices. A study performed on mice found that a magnesium-deficient diet was associated with anxiety-like behavior. Hence, researchers believe that eating foods rich in magnesium can help combat stress and anxious behaviors. Leafy greens, such as Swiss Chard and Spinach, are great sources of magnesium and can easily be incorporated into one’s daily routine through the use of smoothies or salads. 

Zinc Supplementation for Anxiety

Dairy is an excellent source of zinc

Yogurt (dairy) is an excellent source of zinc

Another study that was performed on 38 individuals who had diagnosed anxiety disorders found that zinc supplementation was beneficial in reducing anxiety symptoms. Raising one’s zinc levels through food and nutrition could have some beneficial results for those with anxiety. Some common foods that are plentiful in zinc include oysters, egg yolks, beans, nuts, and dairy products. Incorporating even just one of these foods daily can help raise one’s zinc levels and lessen anxiety symptoms. 

Nutrition Supplements Medication

It is important to remember that nutritional changes may have a positive impact on your mood and physical health. However, nutrition and diet changes are not a substitute for anxiety treatments. They are an amazing option to pursue in addition to anxiety medication and/or therapy. Eating foods that lessen symptoms of anxiety and boost both mental and physical health is a significant, beneficial step on your wellness journey.

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Lauren De Smidt

Lauren is a senior at Arizona State University pursuing her BS in nutritional science. Lauren was a competitive judo athlete for twenty years, ranked number one in her division as part of Team USA. Additionally, Lauren is an Assistant Store Manager at Starbucks and is part of their Elite Athlete Program. In her free time, this badass woman loves to read, workout, and cook. Lauren currently lives in Wisconsin with her Bengal Kitten, Casteel.

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