Five Plant-Based Foods to Help You Beat Anxiety and Improve Your Mental Well-Being
Does food affect the way we feel? Yes, it does, and while we all struggle to make the right food choices, the right food worked wonders on our physical and mental health. Choosing the wrong foods, read the junk can be sometimes easy, but detrimental for health. Well, who wants to cook something healthy when there is a jar of cookies lying on your kitchen shelf waiting for you to devour, or you can order a meal with a swipe of a finger?
Who indeed but your gut has a strange way of communicating to your brain, telling it all is not right there, and your brain immediately starts feeling anxious getting the heebie-jeebies. But food is the best kind of medicine. And if you eat the right ones consistently in a disciplined manner, you will get great results in a short time, feel better and get a boost in your mental well-being.
A plant-based diet is certainly the way to go. Your gut has its nervous system, which sends feelers to the brain through the long nerve called the vagus nerve. It acts in the same way as you would feel before a big presentation or exam.
So how can you keep your gut healthy? By just adding these gut-friendly plant-based foods. These are the best foods that can fight anxiety and depression, and the icing on this cake will be adding daily movements and a thirty minutes workout. It will certainly help you feel great. So add these foods to your diet and watch how you feel.
Omega-3 rich fatty acids are great for your mental health. Add flax seeds, chia seeds, and nuts such as Walnuts enriched with Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help in the overall brain function because your nervous system is made of fat. All the brain signals, thoughts, feelings, and traveling from the muscles and organs go from cell to cell through a fatty acid membrane.
Your body does not produce this kind of fat, so that you can include it only through your food. You can up your Omega-3 fatty acid intake by increasing your intake of flax seeds or chia seeds. Have them together in a smoothie, and your body would thank you!
Here’s why Popeye loved spinach, and your mom made you add those extra helping of spinach. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, and collards are also rich in healthy and hearty Omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium. Magnesium is beneficial for your mental health. It activates GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that helps calm you down.
It helps with the nervous system, and reduces anxiety receptors in the brain. Magnesium also helps bring down the stress hormone called cortisol, an excess of which can lead to anxiety, depression, and, memory loss. Get your daily dose of GABA by eating more salads or sneak in some extra greens in your sandwich.
Banana and Peanut Butter
This is certainly our favorite kind of snack, but the generous dozes of tryptophan in bananas and peanut butter can convert to serotonin, a mood-boosting neurotransmitter. Thus if this is your favorite food combination ever, add this without a worry, or add it especially if you are worried.
That doze of extra tryptophan will boost your mood. This is one of the most delicious ways of increasing your tryptophan intake. Other foods such as oats, soy, nuts, nut butter, and sesame seeds can also up the tryptophan levels.
Beans are another Vitamin B-12 and B vitamins enriched food that you need to add to your diet. These B vitamins can convert tryptophan into serotonin, helping in digestion, boosting mood, improve your energy and brain function. This gives you a chance to indulge in more Mexican dinners. Those bean-filled dishes will provide the shortest route to a calmer and happier state of mind.
This plant-based food or fungi is full of mood-boosting vitamins. Vitamin D. Mushrooms also produce Vitamin D when in sunlight. Vitamin D can activate the genes that control the immune system and ensures the release of dopamine and serotonin, the happiness-causing neurotransmitters. Have your mushrooms, and yes, also get out in the sun to soak up some mood-boosting sun rays.
Well, as you may notice, most of the foods are easily available right in your pantry. Just start having them the next time a hunger pang hits you, or, for that matter, an anxiety attack hits you. Trust us for that feeling of calm zen. We will reach out for that peanut butter and banana any day instead of that cookie.
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