That was a rhetorical question, because stress and anxiety are conditions we deal with more often than we would care to admit and the not so fortunate thing is that, we most times do not consciously or deliberating make ourselves feel this way; it just creeps up on us.  We often times just get overwhelmed with our day to day lives of work, business, family, education, health challenges, finances, and any other socio-economic issues, not to forget to mention the COVID-19 pandemic which is still very much present.

Being in this kind of stressed out and anxious state can have people stress eating and eating the wrong things obviously. However, there are some classes of food you can eat that can help you feel less stressed and less anxious, all the while keeping you on the right side of healthy eating. 

Here are five types of foods that can help you reduce stress and anxiety:

These include spices like turmeric, lavender, passion flower, valerian root, ginger and chamomile. The spices we use for our food are not just to add flavor to our foods. Some of these spices also have antioxidant and inflammatory properties that can help your brain and mood. A good example is turmeric. Turmeric contains an ingredient called curcumin, which studies suggest can reduce depressive symptoms.

To get the required benefits of curcumin found in turmeric, one would have to consume a lot of turmeric, and since you may not want to just chew on it, it is advisable to add about a teaspoon or two to a few meals that you make throughout your day. Turmeric can easily be added in smoothies, teas, soups and salad dressings.

Dietary Fiber.

There are no shortages to the food sources of dietary fiber. Many fruits and vegetables, such as pears, apples, bananas, broccoli, baked potatoes and Brussels sprouts are high in fiber. Legumes, such as beans, lentils and chickpeas, and grains like oatmeal and brown rice are also great sources of dietary fiber.

Dietary fiber is important because it adds bulk to your diet, keeps you full and aids in digestion. In studies, high-fiber diets have been linked to reduced risk of anxiety, stress and depression. Fiber can essentially calm down brain inflammation, which tends to be high in people with anxiety.

Fermented foods.

Sources of fermented foods include foods like plain yoghurt with live and active cultures, kimchi, kombucha, miso and apple cider vinegar. Research has shown that there’s a relationship between your gut health and your brain health.

Prebiotic and probiotic foods can help balance and nourish your gut bacteria, suppressing your stress response and reducing anxiety, so instead of taking a supplements, prebiotics and probiotics can be obtained through any or all of these foods mentioned above.

Omega-3 fatty acid.

Foods that fall into this category include Oily fish, such as salmon and tuna. For people who eat a plant-based diet, omega-3 fatty acids can be found in flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds as well as walnuts.

Studies have shown that consuming omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that’s responsible for building brain cells, can reduce symptoms of anxiety. Experts believe that omega-3’s have an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain. Another bonus of eating more omega-3 foods is that you get better sleep. Anxiety and sleep issues such as insomnia are often linked.

Vitamin D.

Away from the popular belief that exposure to early morning sun light is the source of vitamin D, there are less dramatic and even more practical ways to give your body the vitamin D is requires. Foods like fish (salmon), mushrooms, fortified milk (soy milk), fortified tofu (wara), fortified breakfast cereal, egg yolks etc all contain decent amounts of vitamin D.

Tofu (wara)

Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency has been linked to anxiety, depression and decreased cognitive functioning. When vitamin D crosses the blood-brain barrier, it provides a few roles, including decreasing inflammation and protecting neurons. So, up your vitamin D game to relieve yourself all of these.

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