As the last waves of summer crash down on us, our light and carefree mindsets usually go as well. With the slow haze of summer gone, the quick pace of daily life picks up once again which can incite feelings of anxiety. Besides too much caffeine (go ahead, put down that third cup of coffee already), anxiety can be caused by trauma, medications, certain medical conditions, brain chemistry, and nutritional deficiencies. Yep, you read that right– what you eat and how you digest it can greatly contribute to daily feelings of anxiety.

Specifically, depleted levels of minerals, such as magnesium and zinc, have been linked to the presence of anxiety.  This is because these minerals play an important role in the aforementioned status of brain chemistry and other reactions in the body.  Additionally B vitamins, in particular vitamin B 12, can affect anxiety levels.  Other than helping you keep chill and easy-going, magnesium and zinc also help balance blood sugar, stabilize metabolic rate, strengthen immune system responses, and support optimal sense of smell and taste. Meanwhile, vitamin B 12 supports the production of red blood cells, prevention anemia, allows nerve cells to develop properly, and help cells metabolize protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Thus, maintaining satisfactory vitamin and mineral intake is crucial. In fact, 80% of Americans do not achieve their RDA for magnesium! It’s important to regulate your daily diet and understand how to fulfill RDA‘s for optimal health.

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However, it’s not as hard as it sounds and should essentially be easily accomplished if you have no imposing health issues/complications. The golden rule: eat a well-balanced, plant-based diet! Even more exciting, within this wonderful well-balanced and plant-based diet, there are certain foods that help combat anxiety directly.

1. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are tasty little treats that have a claim to fame around Autumn. These little guys are a great addition to trail mixes, sprinkled onto oatmeal, baked into muffins like the recipe pictured above, and are delicious roasted and eaten by themselves. They also happen to give you your 48% Daily Value of magnesium and your 17% Daily Value of zinc! Anxious? Grab a handful or start your morning with this comforting muffin, and try to go easy on the coffee.

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Image Source: Pumpkin Nut Muffins