5 foods you can use to eat your way to calm

If you suffer from anxiety but prefer to treat you symptoms naturally rather than pharmacologically, you're in luck. Research shows that foods and dietary supplements can measurably reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Read on for five anxiety-reducing foods and supplements to add to your shopping list.

5 foods you can use to eat your way to calm

1. Eggs

Choline isn't a household word, but those suffering from anxiety should become familiar with this important B vitamin.

Choline is vital to the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which plays a role in the brain's reward centre. Not only are eggs protein powerhouses, they're also packed with choline. You can hard boil, scramble, or fry them (or even down them raw).

Regardless of how you eat eggs, if you suffer from anxiety, make sure to incorporate them into your diet one way or another.

2. Cashews and pumpkin seeds

A study conducted at the University of Toronto concluded that zinc deficiency contributes to anxiety and depression.

Fortunately, crunchy, portable, and delicious cashews and pumpkin seeds are high in zinc.

It's also good that cashews are pumpkin seeds are so easy to eat, since our bodies don't store zinc. As a result, we need to eat foods that contain it regularly.

So, munch on these nuts and seeds to snack your way to a healthy zinc level and a happier outlook.

Seafood, beef, and spinach also are high in zinc.

3. Dark chocolate

Does chocolate have medicinal value? That's what one study that Berlin's National Research Centre was designed to find out.

That study's conclusion: chocolate does have medical value — but it must be dark chocolate.

Which isn't too surprising, since any chocoholic will tell you that as a tasty morsel melts in your mouth, you can practically feel feel-good opioids flooding your brain.

The Berlin study tested the urine of subjects who consumed dark chocolate. Researchers found lower concentrations of the anxiety-provoking stress hormone cortisol in the urine of people who ate dark chocolate.

So savour each dark chocolate morsel you eat, but enjoy in moderation lest you become anxious about your waistline.

4. Supplements containing L-Lysine and L-Arginine

Head to any drugstore or health-food shop and you'll see bottles and vials of dietary supplements made from obscure extracts that promise to do everything from grow hair to increase libido.

If you suffer from anxiety, you may wonder which supplements really work.

When the U.S. National Institutes of Health reviewed five popular supplements touted to relieve anxiety, they concluded that supplements containing L-Lysine and L-Arginine yielded promising results. So consider giving these supplements a try.

5. Fish-oil supplements

Studies show that one of the most effective treatments for anxiety may come from the sea, in the form of omega-3 in fish-oil supplements.

Ohio State University researchers tested 68 medical students who reported suffering from anxiety, but who had not been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

In the study, students were interviewed and received an anxiety score. They then consumed fish-oil supplements for a 3-month period and were retested. Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that fish-oil supplements reduced the students' anxiety levels by 20%.

Try treating anxiety in a more natural way

If you suffer from anxiety and want to take a more natural approach to treatment, keep these foods and supplements in mind.

However, if you're currently taking medication for your anxiety, you should discuss switching over to a more natural treatment with your doctor before you do so.

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