Some foods can reduce anxiety, and some foods can cause anxiety. If we look at the nutritional composition of any food, we can know if it is anxiolytic (reduces anxiety), neutral, or anxiogenic (causes anxiety).
Anxiogenic foods are also known to be neurotoxic, meaning they harm the brain and not only cause anxiety but other health issues. To make it easy for you to remember what to avoid, just know that if a food has been far removed from nature, or wasn’t even derived from nature at all, it is not good for you.
It places a burden on the body. Science has proven these things cause anxiety and worse: cancer, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.
We want to stick to neuroprotective foods, straight from Earth. Neuroprotective foods are so named because they protect our nerve cells against damage.
Eating them promotes the body’s own natural processes of recovery and regeneration of elements of the nervous system. Among other things, these foods help to nourish the brain so it can do its job of maintaining and regulating the balance in every system of your body.
When we eat in a neuroprotective way, we are supporting our neurotransmitters: the chemical messengers of the brain. Neurotransmitters transmit signals from cell to cell and also activate the glands in the endocrine system, which release hormones to regulate our physiological functions.
There are more than 40 neurotransmitters in the human nervous system; some of the most important for regulating emotions are serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, and GABA. An abnormal level of any neurotransmitter can lead to a mental illness, including clinical anxiety and depression.
If we run out of a given neurotransmitter, the balance of our brain chemistry can be thrown off as the body tries to compensate. This is why it is important to consume grounding foods.
Grounding foods will help you stay focused, control blood sugar and feel satisfied--think about root vegetables and probiotic-rich foods. By eating grounding foods we are able to stay balanced and feel close to Earth. These foods are known to provide high levels of nutrients and help to properly fire neurotransmitters.
Some good examples of grounding foods include beets, ginger, garlic, radishes, turnips, sweet potatoes, and lentils. Beat anxiety and protect your mental and physical health by incorporating more of these grounding foods into your daily diet.
My recipe for Grounding Lentil Soup with Avocado and Ginger is ideal for grounding as it contains so many calming and mood-stabilizing ingredients. I hope you’ll try it!
Liana Werner-Gray is the founder and owner of The Earth Diet, author of diet-related books and an advocate for natural healing using a healthy diet and lifestyle. Check out her books: Cancer-Free with Food, Anxiety-Free with Food, The Earth Diet, and 10-Minute Recipes. Connect with her on Facebook or Instagram @lianawernergray.
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