Coping with anxiety can be challenging, especially when there are so many triggering factors for many. We know that healthy eating plays a huge role and impact on our overall health, but can it support a less anxious mind? We spoke to our Kurami Nutritionist to discuss some of the key nutritional factors that are important for mood regulation.
- Vitamin D → This vitamin is special, as it is also considered a hormone. It has an important relationship with calcium, contributing to bone health and it can also affect mental health. Many tend to be in a grim mood when the days are grey. This makes sense, as sunshine is an important source of vitamin D, alongside eggs, cod liver oil, salmon, sardines and fortified products like plant milks and cereals. Vitamin D deficiency is known to be a contributing factor of fatigue and depression. To ensure sufficient intakes, make sure to consistently take a supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day from October to April and spend 30 minutes outdoors in the summer months.
- B vitamins → B-group vitamins play an important role in fatigue prevention, helping to turn food into energy. B vitamins are also needed for a healthy functioning of the nervous system. The lack of them can lead to memory impairments, cognitive decline and aggravated low mood. As there are many types of B vitamins, listing their sources would simply mean that you should be focusing on diversity in your diet in terms of the types of meat, fish, legumes and vegetables you eat. Vitamin B12 supplement is essential for vegetarians and vegans, as its sources are mostly derived from animal sources.
- Magnesium → Magnesium is critical for brain function and mood by regulating neurotransmitters, which carry messages around the body and the brain, including the hypothalamus. The functions of the hypothalamus affect those of pituitary and adrenal glands, which regulate stress response. Sources of magnesium include nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains, leafy greens and cacao. Magnesium sulphate or epsom salts can be used in baths to be absorbed via the skin.
- Caffeine → Caffeine is known to add physical and mental stimulation, and let’s be honest, who does not need a pick-me-up when studying, working, exercising or simply trying to get through the day? Moreover, tea and coffee are great sources of phytochemicals beneficial for the gut. However, too much caffeine can lead to over-stimulation of the nervous system. This can lead to anxiety, restlessness and difficulty focusing. To reap the benefits and limit the drawbacks, stick to no more than 400mg of caffeine per day. This translates into 5 espresso cups, 8 cups of black tea and 11 cups of green tea.
This isn’t to say that consuming these foods will eliminate your anxiety altogether, however, these selected vitamins & minerals are proven to have beneficial properties to support a healthier, more positive mind. Overall, you should always consume a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of whole foods and variety to support your gut health.
Need support knowing what foods to eat? Our nutritionist ensures that you get 30g of fibre daily and 30+ plant varieties weekly. We do the hard work so that you don't have to! Order your meal path subscription today and get 10% off.