Healthy foods that improve your mood and lower stress
You might be surprised to learn that certain nutrients in foods have been shown to reduce anxiety or spur the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
People are feeling a lot of stress right now, and the unfortunate reality is that stress worsens feelings of low mood or angst, and it also suppresses our immune systems. Therefore, targeting immune-boosting foods will have a dual effect — you may feel less anxious and boost your immunity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone, and the increased anxiety and boredom caused many people to abandon their healthy eating intentions and snack on whatever is around.
Processed snacks worsen mood and anxiety
A few pretzels or chips are okay, but many people may not be able to step away from eating the entire bag once it’s open.
Also, if you’re already feeling blue, the quick fix of cookies or cake will ultimately make you feel worse. Processed foods and shelf-stable items like baked goods contain a lot of simple carbohydrates that create a yo-yo effect on our blood sugar, which can drive anxiety and worsen mood.
Reduce anxiety and boost immunity by choosing:
Citrus fruit and red bell peppers (both rich in vitamin C, which in some studies has been shown to support your immune system)
Spices: ginger, garlic, turmeric, and capsaicin (from chili peppers) can be easily added to soups, stews, stir-frys, or salad dressings.
Foods rich in zinc such as oysters, clams, mussels, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks. You may recognize zinc as an ingredient is the cold remedy Zicam, as zinc has some virus-fighting effects.
Magnesium-rich foods may help you to feel calmer, and help support immunity. Stress can deplete our magnesium levels too. Examples are legumes, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and whole grains.
Fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids. A study on medical students in 2011 was one of the first to show that omega-3s may help reduce anxiety.
Eat probiotic-rich foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, miso, and kefir.
Add some antioxidants to your anti-anxiety diet, which can support your immune system.
Source: Harvard health publishing