Anxiety disorders affect nearly a quarter of Americans, making it one of the most common mental health issues in the U.S. Not only is anxiety bad for your mental health, but it can also cause chronic inflammation, trigger numerous diseases, and even weaken your immune system. Diet can help, with certain key nutrients acting as powerful anti-anxiety remedies this winter. Get started with these three delicious anti-anxiety recipes.
BREAKFAST: Warming Winter Smoothie
A report in the journal Psychiatry Research found a link between a diet high in probiotics, and an overall reduction in anxiety. That’s because your gut is an oft-ignored part of your nervous system, and a healthier gut — nourished by the beneficial bacteria in probiotic-rich foods — can better balance your stress responses.
This breakfast smoothie is rich in probiotics. It pairs creamy yogurt with the warming effects of ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, and turmeric. The result is a delicious shake that leaves you feeling nourished and warm — the perfect anti-anxiety recipe for a cold winter day!
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup unsweetened yogurt
1 small carrot, peeled
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
3/4 cup oat milk
1 tbsp hemp hearts (hemp hearts are easier to digest than hemp seeds)
1-inch piece of ginger root, peeled
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp spirulina
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy. Enjoy!
LUNCH: Vibrant Asparagus and Feta Salad
Asparagus is widely regarded as a natural functional food, and extracts from this vegetable may have potent anxiety-fighting properties. This anti-anxiety recipe pairs delicious asparagus with the richness of feta cheese and the tartness of balsamic vinegar. It takes just minutes to prepare, but looks like a gourmet meal and tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen. It’s also easy to pack and enjoy on the go, making it convenient for work lunches or a winter picnic.
6 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp honey, ideally local and organic
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 lbs fresh asparagus with the ends trimmed, then chopped into 1- or 2-inch pieces
1/2 lb grape tomatoes, cut into halves
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or almonds, toasted
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Boil the asparagus for 5 minutes or until the asparagus is tender yet still crisp.
While the asparagus cooks, combine the dressing ingredients in a Mason jar or similar container and shake vigorously until well-combined.
To make the salad, drain the asparagus and place it under running cold water to quickly cool it. Place it in a salad bowl, top with the nuts and tomatoes, then toss with the dressing. Garnish with the feta cheese and enjoy!
DINNER: Smoked Oyster Spread
Elevate a busy weeknight dinner with this smoked oyster dish. It tastes oh-so-gourmet but only requires a few minutes of preparation. This anti-anxiety recipe makes a quick dinner idea simply spread onto a chewy, crusty bread or whole-grain crackers. Or, use it on mixed greens for an effortless and nourishing salad. You can even use it served right on top of quinoa or rice for extra heartiness!
Oysters are a superfood when it comes to your mental health. Foods rich in zinc, such as oysters, have been linked to lowered anxiety. The shellfish are also high in omega-3 fats, and a study clearly demonstrated how omega-3s may help reduce anxiety, stress, and even symptoms of depression.
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature for easy mixing
1 3.75-ounce can of smoked oysters
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients well, then enjoy on crackers, bread, veggie slices, salad, or even on a bowl of warm whole-grains like quinoa or brown rice.