As you may know, I suffer from anxiety. Luckily, I have learned that one of the best ways to decrease anxiety is to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a "feel good" neurotransmitter that boosts feelings of wellness and balance. One good way to boost serotonin is with food. I'm not talking about emotional eating of doughnuts or ice cream! While sugary foods will boost your serotonin levels, it's only temporary and then the subsequent crash leaves you feeling worse emotionally as well as less healthy. Plus, sugar disrupts normal chemical reactions in the brain, which can inhibit serotonin processing and production.
Here are ten foods that will reduce your stress and boost your serotonin levels.
1. hot tea: the warmth and plant compounds relax your body
2. carrots: the satisfying crunch and Vitamin A helps reduce stress
3. almonds & walnuts: vitamins B and E, along with zinc, boost your immune system to help your body handle the physical results of stress and boost serotonin levels
4. yogurt: probiotics in yogurt help calm your digestive system so you experience less gastro-symptoms associated with stress
5. avocado: the potassium in avocados keeps your blood pressure low, making you feel less nervous and anxious
6. banana: also rich in potassium to lower your blood pressure and anxiety, and bananas contain tryptophan to boost serotonin levels
7. fatty fish, like salmon: omega-3 fats in fatty fish manage adrenaline levels to help you stay calm, even in the face of external stressors
8. fresh fruits and vegetables: these complex carbohydrates fuel your brain and improve its functioning
9. pineapple: tryptophan in pineapple can boost serotonin levels in the brain
10. dark chocolate (my favorite on this list!): it lowers the levels of stress hormones in your blood. So eat up, but keep it to one ounce portions.