Foods You Should Avoid
Most of the foods we reach for when we’re worried actually make us feel worse. You should avoid simple carbohydrates like sugary drinks, processed foods and deserts, as well as caffeine and alcohol. All of those, after providing a temporary “burst,” will leave you feeling more tired, stressed and anxious.
Foods You Should Seek Out
- Complex carbohydrates act as tranquillizers by increasing mood-elevating serotonin in your brain and keeping blood sugars stable. You’ll get complex carbs from whole wheat bread, dried oats, blue potatoes, dry beans, and barley.
- Tryptophan is an amino acid that produces niacin and serotonin, the brain's mood-regulating hormone. You’ve probably heard of tryptophan around Thanksgiving as it is a compound in turkey, but you’ll also find it in shrimp, bananas, soy sauce, pumpkin seeds, and kale.
- Vitamin C may help reduce levels of stress hormones, according to studies, as prolonged periods of stress deplete levels of vitamin C in the adrenal glands. We know oranges are a great source of vitamin C, but so are red peppers, peaches, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, eggs, spinach, and kiwis. In fact, just 1 cup of collard greens provides 50% of your daily vitamin C needs.
- Omega-3 fatty acids help keep you calm by keeping the stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline in check. You’ll find omega-3 in oily fish like salmon and tuna, flaxseed, walnuts, and soybeans.
3 Delicious, Worry-Relieving Meals
Now that you know what foods to seek out and why, here are three of Dr. Oz’s favorite meals for reducing anxiety, loaded with the aforementioned worry-fighting compounds.