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5 Foods to help you relax

by Georgina Tsel (follow)
I'm an everyday girl who enjoys the simple things in life. Absorbing the beauty of the world one day at a time and learning new things along the way.
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Skip the chill pill, eat more of these foods instead

We're so busy these days that we forget to pack nutritious snacks that benefit us physically and mentally. Most importantly, the foods that are so readily available to us are filled with artificial flavours, colours, and high doses of sugar and trans fat; and eating them can lead to feelings of irritability, anxiety, headaches, restless legs and more.

I have found that certain foods help me to relax when I'm feeling a little scattered.

1. Figs.

By Poyraz 72 via Wikimedia Commons

Figs are extremely good for your health, and luckily they're in season at the moment so it's quite easy to get your hands on some. They provide magnesium, which helps your muscles to relax - as a restless leg sufferer, I try to consume foods that are high in magnesium for this very reason. Figs are also high in fibre and iron.

2. Honey.

By akarlovic via Wikimedia Commons

An ancient sweetener that is known to serve many purposes, honey is another staple in my pantry. Honey is said to contain high levels of tryptophan, which helps to reduce anxiety and calm the nervous system. However, like any other form of sugar, excessive consumption can exacerberate symptoms of anxiety. A teaspoon of honey in warm water with lemon is a great option to help you relax, particularly at night.

3. Salmon.

Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net by Tiverylucky

High in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a wonderful addition to any diet. They say that fish is "brain food" and I can see why. The brain is largely made up of fat, and healthy natural fats are needed for optimal function. A diet lacking omega-3's can increase feelings of fogginess, tiredness, and mood swings.

Also try to consume foods such as nuts, avocados, cauliflower, sardines, eggs, brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, raw olive oil and even a good quality fish oil supplement.

4. Ginger.

By Susan Slater via Wikimedia Commons

Ginger is my all time favourite ingredient to help me relax. Whether it's shredded in warm water, or added to my meals, I'm in love with this spice; the smell alone is alluring. Ginger is praised in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is said to relieve symptoms of depression. According to studies and animal tests, nine separate compounds extracted from ginger root have had significant effects on human serotonin levels. It also helps with digestion, which is usually disrupted when one is anxious.

5. Sauerkraut.

By Gandydancer via Wikimedia Commons

An increasingly popular probiotic, the best type you can buy is organic and from a local health shop, or you can easily make your own. The benefits of sauerkraut lie in the positive effects it plays on your digestion and gut bacteria. Increasing the balance of good bacteria in the gut can also lead to less inflammation, which is also a byproduct of depression and anxiety. Food plays a major role in how we feel, act and think; research recently revealed how the gut microbiome influences the brain.

Overall, it's vital to maintain a healthy diet whether you suffer from anxiety or not. By incorporating wholesome foods, you're not only treating your body with respect, but you're giving it the minerals, vitamins and nutritious elements it needs to thrive and flourish.

"Take care of your body, it's the only place you have to live" - Jim Rohn.

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