Foods And Habits To Help Reduce Anxiety Levels

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems affecting all kinds of individuals. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, it affects 40 million adults in the country. Typically, it is treated with therapy and sometimes, medication. 

In addition, some studies found that including or avoiding certain foods and dietary habits may ease the symptoms of anxiety. Here are some strategies that you can consider:

1. Increase your intake of magnesium

A study was able to find that diets low in magnesium induced anxiety in mice. It has also been noted to improve heart health and ease symptoms of depression, migraines, and PMS. To prevent a magnesium deficiency, leafy greens can be included in your daily meals. Other sources include almonds, whole wheat, avocado, quinoa and black beans.

2. Dark chocolate in moderation is good

Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that can improve your brain function. Many studies have shown that it can significantly increase serotonin levels and reduce levels of stress hormones. But make sure not to over-indulge as chocolate is known to be high in calories and is best consumed in small quantities.

3. Never skip on your meals

When it comes to food, establishing a schedule and following it can go a long way. This applies particularly to those who are vulnerable to depression and anxiety. "Waiting too long to eat or missing out on breakfast may lead to unsteady blood sugar levels, which can cause anxiety-like sensations, including shakiness, dizziness, confusion, and difficulty speaking," states Body and Health.

4. Stay hydrated throughout the day

While dehydration does not cause anxiety itself, it can aggravate it. Apart from helping you stay fresh, fluid consumption is required to regulate your temperature, bodily functions, and energy levels. Reports suggest many Americans are not drinking enough water on a daily basis.

5. Alcohol may be bad in the long-term

Alcohol is used sometimes as a coping mechanism since it can reduce feelings of self-consciousness and induce spontaneity. But excessive drinking, binge drinking, and repeated blackouts may affect brain function in the long run and increase susceptibility to mental health problems like anxiety. 

"Long-term heavy drinkers may be predisposed to developing an anxiety disorder. However, there is no evidence that moderate drinking will cause anxiety," states Healthline.

6. Say no to fast food as much as possible

A study from 2017 showed consuming fast food significantly increased perceived mental distress for adults under the age of 30. Such food is high in saturated fats, trans fats, and omega-6 fatty acids. When consumed regularly, they can cause inflammation related to anxiety.

7. Don't become dependent on sugar or caffeine

Research from the Yale School of Medicine found children were particularly vulnerable to the effects of too much sugar, which include anxiety, difficulty concentrating and crankiness. Caffeine, especially when consumed in the form of energy drinks, contributes towards risk factors linked to anxiety. A high intake can disrupt sleep and cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.