As many causes as there are for stress and anxiety, there are as many remedies around to tackle it, from foods for stress and anxiety to supplements and body therapies.
While it is foolish to hope for a life only with highs, the important thing is to learn to manage the lows.
In this age of technological advances and increasing lifestyle demands people everywhere have become more prone to stress disorders. Expectations from social media have only further increased the feelings of insecurity.
It’s easy to get bogged down in life by something that’s not going the way you want. There’s stress all around and there could be any reason for it, from your job, spouse, kids or domestic issues, to office politics or heart breaks.
Unfortunately, stress has become a part of everyday living and is hampering your very existence. The most important aspect therein is to find ways to let the stress not get to you.
Exercising, socializing, counseling sessions, pursuing hobbies, surrounding yourself with positive people are all different ways you can use to come out of your shell.
You can also pay attention to the foods you eat if they’re supporting your nervous system or depleting it.
Ayurvedic Perspective On Mental Disorders
According to Ayurveda, the natural medicine of India, just like all other physical and mental disorders anxiety is due to a dosha imbalance.
In the case of stress and anxiety, there is an excess accumulation of Vata in the nervous system.
Vata dosha is the representation of the elements of air and space. It governs the brain, nervous system, breathing, and circulation. In order to balance Vata dosha, regularity in routine is a must.
Rising early in the morning followed by activities like listening to soothing music, doing yoga, taking a short walk or meditating are activities that remedy Vata imbalances.
By following the dietary guidelines for a Vata-pacifying diet one can reduce Vata in the body and mind.
One must also opt for warm and cooked food instead of frozen or cold foods. This is also highly beneficial to calming the nervous system and Vata dosha.
The type of food you ingest plays a major role in the way you experience stressful situations.
If your diet is full of caffeine and sugar, cut back now and you’ll notice a difference. Additionally, check out these foods for stress and anxiety.
They help ward away the blues and calm the system. Becoming aware of how your body works and deals with stress will help you manage stress better.
Now let’s go ahead and take a look at the best foods for stress and anxiety relief.
Foods For Stress And Anxiety Relief
Brown rice is whole grain rice with the outer husk removed. In comparison to white rice, it is more nutritious. It aggravates Pitta and pacifies Vata and Kapha. It is suggested to be taken in autumn.
The antioxidants present in brown rice provide relief against stress and anxiety. Some studies have shown that germinated brown rice contains essential amino acids (glutamine, glycerin, and GABA).
These inhibitory neurotransmitters facilitate a reduction in the allowance of messages associated with anxiety, depression, and stress in the brain, thereby leading to a feeling of being in a relaxed state.
It is also rich in serotonin, a chemical that elevates one’s mood. Brown rice raises serotonin levels naturally and acts as a natural tranquilizer. Sweet potatoes and carrots also boost serotonin levels.
Other grains like wheat and oats that can be easily digested are also a good preference for Vata types.
Legumes like tur dal or pigeon peas, red lentils and urad dal or white lentils, offer good nourishment for Vatas. They must be cooked properly and spiced right.
Orange is a cholagogue, detoxifier and nutritive. It pacifies Vata and Kapha and aggravates Pitta. It is essential to take adequate vitamin C to digest and absorb the iron you get from other foods.
Cortisol, called the stress hormone, triggers the fight or flight response to stress. While it is a necessity in life, high levels of the hormone are bad for health and lead to problems like insomnia, anxiety disorders, and weight gain.
Vitamin C is known to lower the secretion of cortisol. It also aids in reducing blood pressure. Therefore, including oranges in your morning breakfast becomes essential before you get out for the day.
With high levels of vitamin C in the body, individuals can bounce back quickly from stressful situations. Other good sources of vitamin C are tomatoes, strawberries, papayas, broccoli, and other citrus fruits.
If you’d like to learn how Ayurveda can help with depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns, check out Dr. Akil Palanisamy’s course below.
More Foods For Stress And Anxiety
Green tea is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, digestive and spleen tonic. It pacifies Pitta and Kapha dosha, while it aggravates Vata dosha.
It nourishes fat and plasma and is recommended as an overall cleanser in the spring season.
If you have been affected by anxiety, turn to some green tea for solace. Drinking five or more cups of green tea daily has proven to reduce the incidence of psychological distress by 20%.
The amino acid theanine, a major component of green tea, produces a calming effect though it has a lower amount of caffeine than coffee.
It has been tried in some countries to solve migraine headaches and provides therapeutic benefits for those who suffer from anxiety.
Almonds are an alkalizing tonic providing magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin E. They pacify Vata and Pitta and aggravate Kapha. They relax muscles and are a good brain tonic.
Antioxidants present in our veggies and fruits reduce the ill effects of oxidative stress on mental health. Almonds are also a rich source of antioxidants and help in stress reduction. Snack around 15-20 nuts daily to keep your day running smooth.
In moderation, all other nuts like walnuts, peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, and pine nuts are also pacifying to Vata. As they are oily and nutritious they make a great combination of proteins and fats that are highly beneficial to Vata.
The next time you feel like pulling your hair out, instead bite into a dark chocolate bar.
In research studies, during stressful situations, it was observed that those who had consumed dark chocolate had lower levels of cortisol and epinephrine after stress.1
Specifically, the response of the adrenal gland, which produces cortisol was much less. Eating dark chocolate daily reduced stress hormone levels in individuals with high anxiety levels.
Dark chocolate is a nervine and an aphrodisiac. It pacifies Kapha and slightly aggravates Vata and Pitta Dosha. It relaxes muscles, elevates mood and is a mild blood thinner.
Fix yourselves with these foods and keep stress away. Life is too short to be anything else but happy.
Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before following the dietary guidelines mentioned in this article. Consult a clinical psychologist if you think you are having depression, stress, and/or anxiety.
Al Sunni, Ahmed, and Rabia Latif. “Effects of Chocolate Intake on Perceived Stress; a Controlled Clinical Study.” International Journal of Health Sciences, Qassim University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Oct. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4350893/.