Did you know that anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions in the world? Stress and anxiety often occur together and when left untreated, chronic stress can increase your risk for chronic disease. If you struggle with stress and anxiety, you can make dietary changes to improve your mental health. Stress and anxiety treatment can involve therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes with nutrition playing an important role in managing the condition by regulating neurotransmitters and blood sugar levels. At NextGeneration Nutrition, we provide personalized nutrition programs to improve stress and anxiety levels by incorporating Good Mood Foods and individualized dietary and lifestyle recommendations to boost your mood and have you feeling your best! Book a FREE consultation here to learn how we can work together! https://calendly.com/jessica-601
KEY NUTRIENTS TO IMPROVE STRESS AND ANXIETY
Magnesium Magnesium deficiencies can play a huge role in anxiety, depression, migraines, and chronic pain. Foods naturally rich in magnesium may help one feel calmer such as spinach, pumpkin seeds, legumes, bananas, and oats. These foods are also good sources of the amino acid tryptophan which is converted to serotonin in the body and may promote relaxation and anxiety relief.
Vitamin B6 Getting enough vitamin B6 through diet is an important way to support the body during stress and reduce anxiety. Those who consume more vitamin B6 are less likely to experience anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. Vitamin B6 is also more effective when combined with magnesium in adults with elevated stress levels.
Iron & Vitamin C Low iron is a known contributor to anxiety and depression. There are two types of iron found in foods: heme iron (from red meat and other animal products) and non-heme iron (from spinach, legumes, and dried fruit). High-quality protein sources typically contain more iron and produce the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which have the potential to improve mental health. For better absorption of non-heme iron, pair it with vitamin C-rich foods like citrus, tomatoes, or peppers at mealtime. These foods also have antioxidant properties that may help reduce inflammation and prevent damage to cells.
Fiber Fiber is an important nutrient to reduce anxiety. It helps to balance blood sugar levels and feed gut bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids, which can decrease anxiety. Increasing your fiber intake by including whole grains, legumes, seeds, and cruciferous vegetables is extremely beneficial for improved mood.
KEY LIFESTYLE CONSIDERATIONS FOR STRESS & ANXIETY
Exercise lowers the stress hormone cortisol and increases endorphins which improve mood. It activates parts of the brain which control our stress response and increases the availability of important anti-anxiety neurochemicals.
Exercise has also been shown to reduce inflammation and improve sleep quality which can improve physical and mental stress. It is very important to participate in types of movement you enjoy to decrease muscle tension, lowering the body’s contribution to feeling anxious.
Even mild dehydration can affect your mood. Consuming large amounts of caffeine either from coffee, caffeinated tea, or energy drinks can increase levels of anxiety and symptoms such as heart palpitations and jitteriness. Beverage options that include chamomile and turmeric may help reduce anxiety. Chamomile and turmeric both contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which may help lower inflammation associated with anxiety.
Jessica Mantell M.S., C.N.S., L.D.N.
CEO & Founder of NextGeneration Nutrition
NextGeneration Nutrition believes that better health should be accessible to everyone and that we all are able to improve our health through good nutrition, physical activity, and lifestyle change. We do not support setting shame-based goals but encourages embracing our bodies, genetics, and personality. Our philosophy is abandoning the “One Size Fits All” mentality to create a personalized wellness plan based on your biological makeup and your lifestyle.
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