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6 Best Foods to Eat to Battle Anxiety

Natural Ways to Manage Your Anxiety

Medication isn't the only way to battle anxiety. Try adding these six foods to your diet to help combat your symptoms and improve your well-being.

Brazil nuts: Packed with micronutrients, Brazil nuts contain selenium which can help alleviate common symptoms of anxiety. Studies suggest that people may experience more anxiety, depression and fatigue if they don't get enough selenium. Researchers have successfully treated these symptoms with selenium supplements. That said, experts agree it's best to get selenium from natural foods.

Eggs: The average egg is rich in choline, an important nutrient that helps the body produce dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that calm anxiety and regulate our moods. Researchers have found that people may experience more anxiety if they don't get enough choline. If you suffer from anxiety, try eating more choline-rich foods. If you don't like eggs, you can also get choline from soybeans, seaweed, beef and turkey.

Salmon: Fresh salmon is high in vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). In addition to enhancing overall health, DHA and EPA can help regulate serotonin and dopamine. These same fatty acids can also reduce inflammation to help protect brain cells. Research suggests that DHA and EPA enhance the brain's ability to adapt to change and cope with stressors that commonly trigger anxiety. One study found that eating salmon can help reduce anxiety while improving heart rate variability.

Chamomile: Commonly consumed by tea drinkers, this beneficial herb contains ample antioxidants that reduce inflammation and support overall health. Research has also shown that chamomile may reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you feel yourself struggling with anxiety, try sipping a cup of warm chamomile tea to see if it settles your nerves.

Dark chocolate: A growing body of evidence is showing that dark, unsweetened chocolate has powerful health benefits that can improve our well-being and prolong our lives. Research also indicates that consuming dark chocolate can reduce levels of cortisol, catecholamines and other stress hormones commonly linked to anxiety. Another study found that highly stressed individuals reported substantially lower levels of stress after eating 40 grams of dark chocolate every day over a two-week period. If you do choose to eat dark chocolate for its mental and physical health benefits, be sure it is unsweetened to avoid excessive sugar and calories. You should also avoid overindulging to keep from consuming too much caffeine.

Yogurt: The probiotics found in certain types of yogurt can improve your physical and mental well-being by supporting your natural immune system. Research has shown that probiotic-rich foods may promote better brain function and mental health by inhibiting neurotoxins and free radicals, which can damage neurological nerve tissue. One study found that women who ate 4.4 ounces of yogurt twice a day for a month experienced improved functioning in the brain regions that manage sensation and emotion, which may help lower anxiety levels.

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