According to the World Health Organization, the proportion of the global population with anxiety disorders is 3.6 percent. The total likely number of people suffering anxiety in the world is 264 million (2015), which shows a 14.9 percent increase since 2005. While this is partially a consequence of the population aging and growth, it can also be concluded that it is partially a result of the life pace that is getting crazier by each day. It doesn’t help that we are eating and drinking on-the-go foods and beverages that are fueling our anxiety, such as coffee, ketchup, carbonated drinks, beef jerky, and so on. Fortunately, Mother Nature has got us covered in this department, by giving us super delicious plant-based foods that help eliminate the anxiety.
Good news for all of you avocado-aficionados out there! Besides being incredibly nutritious, containing more potassium than bananas which are praised for this nutrient, making wonders for your heart, and many other health benefits, this pear-shaped fruit is packed with tyrosine which is linked with feelings of motivation, reward, and, pleasure. Avocados are also full of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. This is an essential nutrient our bodies are unable to produce on their own. Now, carnivores get it mostly out of fish and seafood. Fortunately, there is a little something called avocado that provides us vegans with the fatty acids and helps alleviate anxiety.
Just because avocados contain more potassium than bananas, doesn’t mean we should forget all about this popular fruit. In fact, bananas pack a bountiful of tryptophan, an amino acid associated with healthy mood. Plus the carbohydrates in this fruit help with the absorption of tryptophan. Meanwhile, vitamin B-6 helps convert this amino acid into serotonin, which is a hormone that affects mood, memory, sleep, appetite, and even sexual functioning.
If you aren’t nuts about nuts as it is, here’s another useful piece of information to make you reconsider your passions: Nuts are packed with vitamin B, which is essential for calming the nervous system and regulating the fight or flight response. The regulation of the fight or flight response plays a crucial role in how well you handle stress. Since it is so important to keep cortisol under control, on occasions of high stress you can even reach out for supplements, but only if they are made of natural ingredients. For fighting stress on a daily basis, feel free to turn to nuts, which are also high in magnesium and calcium, which can work as natural sedatives.
Speaking of supplements, ginger root supplements are often qualified as an anxiety-reducing tool, because it can act soon after consumption. However, a slow but certain road to an anxiety-free life is to take ginger root in the form of tea, crushed powder, and an ingredient for smoothies and salads.
Did your mother ever tell you to eat your greens? Maybe you won’t be as strong as Popeye if you eat spinach every day, but you will surely be as relaxed as Olive. Spinach is rich with magnesium which calms the nervous system and reduces anxiety by stimulating GABA receptors in the brain. It also restricts cortisol, the importance of which we’ve already talked about. Besides spinach, you can search for these “superpowers” in other leafy greens such as collards, kale, and romaine.
We have been through a lot of things in school, one of which is that we get vitamin D from the sun. Consequently, spending time exposed to the sunlight can result in releasing dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters related to pleasure and happiness. Well, believe it or not, mushrooms are the only plant-based food that is naturally full of vitamin D. That’s why you need to pack your plate with some delicious Cremini, Morel, Shiitake, Lion’s mane, Buttons, or Portobello mushrooms.
Beans and legumes, in general, contain plenty of vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins. These vitamins help with the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin, thus boosting mood and energy, improving brain function, and aiding digestion. Quite a set of perks, right? Mexican dinner it is!
People choose to eat oats mostly because they are high in fiber and have cholesterol-lowering abilities (they are delicious too). However, oats bring yet another benefit to the table (pun intended), and that is giving you 16 percent of your daily zinc value. Like some other plant-based foods we have mentioned here, they also contain tryptophan the amino acid famous for its relaxing abilities. So, grab a warm bowl of oatmeal in the morning, have a snack of oat muffin at work, or prepare an oatmeal cookie for dessert (guilt-free).
Stress is all around us, but it is not the stress that defines us, but how we choose to handle it. One of the essential moves includes a change of lifestyle, which almost always comes with changes in diet. These excellent plant-based foods have all you need to come out of the battle against stress as a winner, so what are you waiting for?