If you suffer from anxiety or other mental health disorders, you may benefit from the services available at the Trauma Counseling Center of Los Angeles. Besides talk therapies, our counselors and staff use education and self-help techniques to guide you on your way to peace of mind and restored mental wellbeing. This includes learning about the link between nutrition and mental health.
Nutrition and Mental Health
There’s a clear link between nutrition and mental health. If you deprive your brain of the good food that delivers nutrition where is needed most, or free radicals are circulating in your brain’s enclosed area, this could exacerbate any underlying mental health issues you may have. At the Trauma Counseling Center of Los Angeles, we know that it takes quality nutrition and a healthy brain to feel better both physically and mentally.
There are many correlations between what you eat and how you feel. Continue reading to learn what foods are best for an anti-anxiety diet and what foods you should avoid to promote mental health.
Foods that Reduce Anxiety
These foods release neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. They are a safe, easy step to manage your anxiety. Certain foods can help reduce anxiety, including:
- In mice, magnesium decreases anxiety. Therefore, foods that are rich in magnesium can help you feel calmer. This includes spinach, Swiss chard, and leafy greens. Other sources are nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
- Zinc affects your body similarly. You can find zinc in cashews, liver, beef, oysters, and egg yolks.
- Fatty fish such as Alaskan salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids. The first study to reveal omega-3s may alleviate anxiety dates back to 2011.
- According to Psychiatry Research, probiotic foods can also lower social anxiety. Examples of probiotic-rich foods include sauerkraut, kefir, and pickles.
- Asparagus is widely noted as a healthy food. The Chinese government endorsed the use of asparagus extract for its anti-anxiety properties.
- You can also try foods rich in B vitamins, such as almonds and avocados.
Anti-Oxidants Improve Diet and Mental Health
Adding foods rich in anti-oxidants can help alleviate anxiety disorders. The USDA classifies the following foods as rich in antioxidants:
- Dried red, Pinto, black, and kidney beans
- Fruit such as apples, sweet cherries, and plums
- Strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, and blueberries
- Walnuts and pecans
- Kale, peas, broccoli, and artichokes
- Spices that have anti-oxidant and anxiety-alleviating properties include turmeric and ginger.
Combine these foods for a diet and mental health boost.
How Diet Helps You Achieve Better Mental Health
Be sure to let your doctor know about anxiety symptoms that are severe and last more than two weeks. If you continue to get bouts of anxiety that don’t improve or worsen over time, your doctor may recommend a stay at a mental health facility such as Trauma Counseling Center of Los Angeles.
Here, you will receive the support and guidance that you need, including an understanding of the relationship between food, mood, and anxiety, and the overall relationship between diet and mental health.
A growing number of scientists have been researching and writing about the connection between nutrition and mental health. Eating healthy foods can improve your mood. However, there are also foods that you should avoid.
10 Foods You Should Avoid
The link between nutrition and mental health suggests that some foods can increase anxiety. Avoid the following foods:
- Caffeine triggers your body’s fight or flight response
- Refined and artificial sugars are found everywhere but they are best avoided to alleviate anxiety
- Processed foods
- Fried foods
Diet and Mental Health at Trauma Counseling Center of Los Angeles
Trauma Counseling Center of Los Angeles treats anxiety and other mental health challenges. When you come to us for treatment, you receive the care and therapy you need to regain a sense of hope. Life can be beautiful, so take the first step to getting back the joy and peace you deserve. Contact us at 310.720.8200 to hear more about our nutrition and mental health therapy and other techniques available to overcome anxiety.