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Currently conversations surrounding anxiety and depression are ubiquitous, and reasonably so, as over 40 million adults in the United States alone are counted as suffering from an anxiety disorder. Of course, for one with extreme anxiety, depression or any mental health concerns, seeking a physician is imperative. However, specific nutrients are known to help combat anxiety and depression, and are worth seeking out to get an advantage in the increasingly common and difficult battle.

Selenium

This essential mineral is evidenced to reduce inflammation and is an antioxidant. Oxidative stress can lead to a plethora of health issues, so fighting free radicals is an excellent way to keep the body’s defense strong so the mind can be at ease. Selenium-rich foods include brazil nuts, soy beans, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, and brown rice.

Potassium

Essential for managing blood pressure, potassium balances out the effects of salt. Also acting as an electrolyte in the body, this element is necessary for normal function of cells, nerves and muscles. Find it in bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, dates, spinach, sweet potatoes and a long list of other favorites.

Zinc

This mineral is needed for the body to make neurotransmitters such as serotonin, affecting mood, appetite, digestion, sleep and libido. Plant-based sources include chickpeas (garbanzo beans), lentils, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.

Chamomile

An age-old herbal remedy, chamomile is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and possesses flavonoids known to fight mild to moderate anxiety. Most general enjoyed as a tea, it can also be found in oil or capsule form.

Theanine

A naturally-occurring amino acid found in green tea, black tea, and some mushrooms, theanine is found to affect chemicals in the brain like serotonin and dopamine. In turn, this affects cortisol, which helps the brain deal with stress.

Vitamin E

A deficiency of this crucial antioxidant is linked to anxiety disorder and depression. Staying cognizant of intake is key in managing stress, but also for a deluge of other health benefits. Find it in wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnut oil, sunflower oil, almond oil, hazelnuts and pine nuts.

Tryptophan

Another essential amino acid highly influencing serotonin levels is tryptophan. Serotonin is key for the brain’s ability to cope under stress. Get it from pineapple, bananas, oats, tofu, spinach, seeds, and nuts.

The Bright Side

Learning to increase brain and body function through diet and other natural means is a sustainably effective line of defense against anxiety and depression. Most of us know by now that sufficient sunlight aids in the body’s production of vitamin D, which helps fight — among other ailments- depression, as well.

In our estimation, it’s no coincidence that the sunflower is so aptly named!

As always, wishing you peace, joy, and optimal health.

Inspiring a global shift toward living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, providing resources for our community to nourish the mind, body, and soul.

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