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10 Foods to help with Anxiety

10 Foods to help with Anxiety

It’s Mental Health Awareness week, so we wanted to share some information about our favourite foods that have been found to help with anxiety!

Omega 3 

Low levels of Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are associated with a higher prevalence of depression and anxiety. Omega 3 also has neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects, which may contribute to lowering neuroinflammation. One study found that individuals that supplemented Omega 3 had a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms! If that doesn’t motivate you to increase your intake of fatty fish (or chia seeds if you’re vegan!), I don’t know what will… 


Ashwagandha is a supplement that has gained popularity due to its possible effects on sports performance, but it may also help with controlling anxiety. It is an Ayurvedic adaptogen which can help improve the way our bodies respond to stress, and also has anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, memory-enhancing and sleep-inducing properties. Studies have shown that supplementing Ashwagandha exhibits anti-anxiety effects and that it could potentially be used for stress and anxiety management.  


If you struggle to fall asleep at night or have mild anxiety symptoms, chamomile might be your cup of tea.  Chamomile contains terpenoids and flavonoids which may help alleviate anxiety because they have psychotropic effects, meaning they can affect one's mental state. Chamomile is also often used as a sleep aid due to its natural sedative effects, but can also be consumed during the day as it will not necessarily put you to sleep, but help with relaxation. 


Valerian is a popular herbal supplement used to help with sleep, but it is also used to reduce anxiety by acting on GABA receptors in the body. Valerian's sedative effect is a result of an increase in GABA, a neurotransmitter responsible for sleep regulation. Other compounds in valerian may also interact with serotonin and adenosine, further helping with the regulation of mood and sleep. Similar to chamomile, valerian is usually consumed in the form of tea.  


Magnesium is an essential mineral which is used for a variety of reactions in the body and research suggests it could be beneficial in alleviating mild anxiety. Magnesium plays a fundamental role in brain function and mood, and it’s evident that there is a relationship between magnesium status and anxiety. If you need a little magnesium boost, it can be found naturally in foods such as leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts and dark chocolate.

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane is an edible mushroom which has been used as a traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, but research has shown that it has the ability to reduce anxiety due to its hericenone and erinacine content, which may stimulate nerve growth factor. An increase in nerve growth factor in combination with neurocognitive benefits and anti-inflammatory effects of these compounds may be responsible for Lions Mane’s anxiolytic (that’s a fancy word for the ability to reduce anxiety) effects.

Dark chocolate 

Eating cocoa-rich products such as dark chocolate may provide benefits to mood and anxiety symptoms. Cocoa has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may relieve neuroinflammation which can contribute to anxiety. Flavanols found in cocoa have also been associated with benefits to cardiovascular health, for instance by lowering blood pressure. Who knew there could be so many benefits to eating one of our favourite treats?! 


Probiotics may help alleviate anxiety due to their importance in the gut-brain axis - this is the communication between the brain and the gut. Studies suggest that taking probiotics and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome may be beneficial for mental health. Probiotics can be found in a range of foods, specifically fermented foods, such as: yogurt, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut.  


We love our matcha green teas here at MOBU, a good source of the amino acid L-theanine (the calming component of tea!) L-theanine has a range of health benefits, and it potentially has the ability to inhibit caffeine induced rise in blood pressure, which is what contributes to the anxious feeling after consuming caffeine. Although it cannot compare to anti anxiety medications, it may be useful to individuals who are experiencing increased anxiety.  


Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is used to make 5-HTP - a precursor to serotonin (the happy hormone!). One study showed that individuals with a diet high in tryptophan had decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms, possibly due to its effect on serotonin neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Tryptophan rich foods include turkey, milk, eggs and soy - essentially foods high in protein.

Have you tried any of these natural remedies to help with anxiety?
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