Yes, you read the title correctly, food can help with stress and anxiety!

Eating the right foods isn't going to be a replacement for therapy, but the nutritional properties of the food we eat can have an affect on our brain's health, our mood and therefore our stress and anxiety levels.

Research continues to support this relationship. This may come as no surprise, as you often hear how coffee makes people feel more anxious. That's because coffee acts as a stimulant, which can, in some cases, activate the fight or flight response and make us feel more anxious.

On the other hand, there are also foods that may help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress. Avocado, for example, contains vitamin B6 which positively influences our mood. Other foods, such as blueberries and dark chocolate can also be helpful. I will walk us through a list of five foods that reduce stress and anxiety.


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1. Avocado

This fruit has risen to immense popularity over the last years. This rise may have been influenced by its aesthetically pleasing look, but it also has various health benefits.

Avocado contains vitamin B6, which helps the body to make neurotransmitters. One of these neurotransmitters is serotonin, which influences our mood. Deficiency of B vitamins have been linked to increased anxiety in some people.

Avocados also have other health benefits because they contain vitmain E. This vitamin is important for healthy skin, reproduction, forming red blood cells and vision.

2. Blueberries

The blue bombshell! My dad can eat a full punnet of these in one sitting.

Blueberries contain vitamin C, which helps repair and protect our cells. When we are anxious, or stressed, our bodies want vitamin C. Research has shown that an increase in vitamin C (and therefore antioxidant effects) may be useful for both prevention and reduction of anxiety.

3. Almonds

Almighty almonds, they seem to be everybody's favourite nut these days.

There may be a good reason why.

Almonds are full of magnesium. In fact, just 28 grams (1 ounce) of almonds is equivalent to 19% of your daily recommended intake. Being deficient in magnesium may reduce the levels of serotonin in the brain. Research has actually shown magnesium may be an effective treatment for anxiety-related symptoms.

4. Yoghurt

Blueberries, almonds... they would go well with Yoghurt!

Yogurts contain probiotics, sometimes referred to as 'healthy bacteria', which can improve your mental health. Research has shown that they can improve the immune system's health, improve oral health and perform as anti-anxiety and anti-depressive agent. Further research has shown that daily consumption of probiotic yoghurt results in individuals being better able to cope with stress.

Side note: It is important to remember that not all yoghurts contain probiotics, look for them listed on the products ingredients list.

5. Dark Chocolate

For most of my childhood, I wouldn't go near dark chocolate. However, now I am older... I love it!

Dark chocolate contains flavonols, which have been found to benefit brain function by improving blood flow to the brain as well as promoting its adaptability in times of stress. Consumption of dark chocolate has also been shown to increase levels of serotonin, which, as we mentioned before, impacts our mood.

Research has also suggested that dark chocolate's positive role in our brain's health may be due to its taste, which may be comforting for some people. I have to agree with them, here.


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