Need to Chill Out? Here’s What To Eat Instead of a Chill Pill

By Joe Martinez, RPh, PDE, CMS, Founder and CCO, HMS

Contributor: Caraline Watkins

Photo credit: dr.Yas

Have you ever felt jittery and worried after drinking coffee or eating too much of a certain food? In America, anxiety affects 40 million people (18.1% of the population).  According to a study, certain diets and foods can actually trigger anxiety. It is not yet conclusive as to what specific diets should be implemented to fully reduce anxiety, but there are certain foods that can be avoided or incorporated into your diet that may help with anxiety or stress.

If you are having a taxing and hectic day, it is best to stay away from these foods:  pasta, breads, alcohol, sugar, fast food, fried food, fruit juice, caffeine, soft drinks and salted snacks. These foods can interfere with hormonal levels and cause different imbalances. If you are aware of certain times that cause you to be more susceptible to anxiety you can avoid these foods and at other times enjoy them in a limited quantity.

Caffeine and soft drinks are all the rage and will give you that energy boost that you may be looking for early or late in the day. However this boost is usually associated with a serious ‘crash’ and then most individuals will consume more of these drinks to avoid the unpleasant symptoms. Consuming high amounts of caffeine and sugar may not only be addictive but may also have serious side effects.

There are so several natural alternatives to help avoid that artificial boost crash and causing anxious feelings. First of all, get enough rest! Nothing can replace sleep. Nothing, nada. Getting enough sleep is essential for our bodies to properly function. Going to bed at the right time is extremely important so as not to interrupt your circadian rhythm and allow your body to replenish itself from it’s hard labor throughout the day.

Having a healthy diet can also help reduce feelings of anxiety. These foods help to reduce anxiety: avocados, asparagus, salmon, almonds, and kale. Blueberries are also a good choice as they are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C to help reduce and prevent anxiety.  Also, turkey  is also a great option since it contains Tryptophan which is what is known to put you to sleep after your big thanksgiving meal. Two other great options to try are dark chocolate or a glass of warm milk.

And of course, there’s hydration.  It is also extremely important to stay hydrated as that can affect your mood and level of anxiety. Research has shown that there are links between anxiety and other mental issues and gut health.  Researchers at Oxford University have found that “supplements designed to boost healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract (“prebiotics”) may have an anti-anxiety effect insofar as they alter the way that people process emotional information.” So the next time you’re in the supermarket, health food store or even doing some online shopping, consider picking up some prebiotics and a few of the anxiety reducing foods with confidence. and if you’re not sure, you can always check with your doctor or registered nutritionist.  Don’t stress!

Okay, are you ready to get into the kitchen? Here are some delicious and taste tempting recipes to help you ‘chill’ and enjoy your day.

Banana Berry Baked Oatmeal Bites

Turkey and Zucchini Meatballs with Basil Yogurt Sauce

Salmon Salad with Vinaigrette

Almond and Coconut Crusted Salmon Bites

Here are some tasty meal suggestions to consider when time is pressing:

* Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.

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