Calm Anxiety and Reduce Depression Through Your Food

Dr. Stacy Livingston

In the high-pressure world of entrepreneurship, bouts of anxiety and moments of depression are common. While startup cultures often glamorize long hours and relentless work, it's essential to remember that mental well-being is paramount. 

Research shows specific foods can naturally help alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression. While these foods can be beneficial, it's critical to understand that they're part of a holistic approach to mental health and aren't a sole remedy for mental health disorders.

1. Chamomile: A Soothing Natural Antidote

A popular herbal remedy, chamomile has been traditionally associated with relaxation. It possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can combat inflammation often linked with anxiety. Additionally, chamomile is believed to regulate mood-related neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. Studies from 2013 and 2017 have underscored its potential in managing generalized anxiety disorder and depression symptoms.

2. Salmon: An Oceanic Boost for the Brain

A delicious and nutritious fish, salmon is a powerhouse of mental health-boosting nutrients like vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and EPA. These components play an instrumental role in mood regulation and anxiety alleviation. Regular consumption of salmon has shown promising results in improving mental health according to Healthline.  New research has found that over 68% of adults and 95% of children in the United States do not consume enough omega-3s to meet nutritional needs based on the US Dietary Guidelines.

3. Dark Chocolate: A Delightful Mood Enhancer

Beyond being an indulgent treat, dark chocolate brings a plethora of health benefits to the table. Rich in magnesium, fiber, and antioxidants, it has shown promise in elevating moods and mental health according to research by the American Psychiatric Association. Consuming dark chocolate may reduce the chances of experiencing depressive symptoms, a benefit not shared by its milk chocolate counterpart.

4. Blueberries: A Burst of Antioxidants

These tiny berries are packed with powerful antioxidants that can help mitigate anxiety and depressive feelings. Studies have highlighted the potential of blueberries in reducing depressive symptoms, especially among adolescents. Regular consumption of fruits like blueberries can lead to improved mental well-being.

5. Nuts: A Crunchy Defense Against Depression

Nuts are a nutrition-packed snack that also comes with an array of mental health benefits. Consuming nuts daily can potentially lower the risk of depression. A recent study has indicated that individuals consuming a variety of nuts regularly showed fewer tendencies of depression.

While integrating these foods into your diet can assist in managing anxiety and depression, it's also vital to recognize certain foods that might exacerbate these feelings.

5. Magnesium: what is it and how do I get it? 

Magnesium is an abundant mineral in the body, is naturally present in many foods, added to other food products, available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines (such as antacids and laxatives). Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.  In study done by Harvard, they were able to deduce that a magnesium right diet may help a person feel calmer.  

Foods You May Consider Avoiding:

Here's a quick list of foods that those prone to anxiety might consider limiting or avoiding:

Fruit Juice: Without the fiber found in whole fruits, fruit juices can cause rapid blood sugar spikes and subsequent crashes, potentially exacerbating anxiety.  This is not the case for freshly made juice (e.g. from a cold press or masticating juicer).  You will actually get a bunch of vital minerals and nutrients and help calm your nervous system.  

Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can disturb sleep and mood, leading to heightened anxiety.

Energy Drinks: These are often loaded with hidden caffeine and sugar, both of which can induce or worsen anxiety.

White Bread: Highly processed white bread can lead to erratic energy levels, which may aggravate anxiety.

Ketchup: Surprisingly high in sugar, excessive consumption might lead to mood fluctuations.

Coffee: While many entrepreneurs swear by their morning brew, excessive caffeine can cause jitters and heightened anxiety.

Soy Sauce: For those sensitive to gluten, soy sauce may lead to feelings of fatigue and anxiety.

Processed Foods: A diet heavy in processed foods is linked to increased chances of anxiety and depression.

Incorporating anxiety-reducing foods while avoiding potential triggers can make a world of difference in an entrepreneur's daily life. Always consult with a nutritionist or mental health professional when making significant changes to your diet or managing mental health symptoms.


Deseret News

Free Press Journal

Dr. Livingston enjoys taking care of patients from the mild to the wild. He is the doctor for you, if you have been to other places and told there was nothing that could be done for your or told “It’s all in your head”. He accepts all types of cases including workers compensation, auto accident and personal injury cases. He believes chiropractic can help everyone add life to their years and get them back to doing what they love.

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