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One thing we must do for good mind-body health is eat a varied diet of fresh, whole foods.
If you experience symptoms of anxiety, high stress, or depression, you might want to emphasize eating foods known to calm the nervous system and support an elevated mood.
1. Blueberries get their color from pigments called anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that helps the brain make dopamine. Dopamine positively influences mood, memory, and coordination. Blueberries also support our immune system.
2. Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon supplies us with the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA that support emotional stability and a sense of well-being. Research suggests diets rich in omega-3 relieve anxiety and help prevent depression.
3. Fermented foods (e.g., sauerkraut) keep our gut flora healthy. Flourishing gut bacteria has a positive effect on mental health. When this is compromised people might experience low mood, depression, and other disorders.
4. Turkey Breast (preferably organic) is an excellent source of the amino acid tryptophan. Our body converts tryptophan into the “good mood” neurotransmitter serotonin. Other tryptophan sources are nuts, and pumpkin seeds.
5. Leafy green veggies such as spinach are full of folate, a vitamin involved in producing mood-enhancing neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin, dopamine). Getting enough folate may lower the risk of depression, and helps calm nerves.
6. Avocados are packed with nutrients including potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and folate. Eating avocado makes people feel full longer and helps regulate blood-sugar—a combination that stabilizes mood.
7. Seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame are great sources of magnesium, necessary for regulating our emotions. Magnesium deficiencies can lead to anxiety, panic attacks, or depression.
8. Sunshine, though not a food, is a ready source of vitamin D. Exposure to sunlight is associated with increased serotonin and elevated mood. Those who lack vitamin D are more prone to depression.
9. Dark chocolate helps us stay calm and fend off anxiety. It also stimulates the production of a brain neurotransmitter called anandamide that temporarily blocks painful, depressed feelings.
10. Pistachios help our arteries stay more open during times of stress, making life easier and healthier for our heart. It is best to choose organic pistachios to avoid those that are dyed and bleached for “freshness.”
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