We’ve all felt that uncomfortable stirring in our gut, an excessive worry that won’t abstain, or even a visceral physical response to a variety of situations.
It’s anxiety and it’s a pervasive issue.
In fact, anxiety disorders “are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.” While anxiety disorders — referring to a fear or worry that “does not go away and can get worse over time” — are more commonly addressed, those without a disorder can still experience anxiety derived disruption in their life.
Diet can play a large role in managing these anxiety symptoms.
This isn’t just relegated to decreasing caffeine and alcohol consumption. There are a handful of plant-based foods that actually help reduce anxiety symptoms, in particular, foods rich in magnesium, zinc, vitamin B, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotic-rich fermented foods, and “feel good” foods that encourage dopamine and serotonin. The following recipes from the Food Monster App will help you incorporate these anxiety-fighting foods into your daily diet!
Source: Spinach Rice
Spinach and rice are two of the healthiest plant-based foods to incorporate into your diet. They also happen to be rich in anxiety-reducing magnesium. One cup of spinach has over 23 milligrams of magnesium, while a half a cup of brown rice has a whopping 42 milligrams! Get a full dose of both of these in this Spinach Rice by Katzie Guy-Hamilton. Plus, you’ll also get a nice help of omega-3 fatty acid rich extra-virgin olive oil, which has also been linked to reduced anxiety symptoms.
Source: Smoked Tofu Multi-Layer Sandwich
Hankering for a beast of a sandwich? Layered within the flavorful ingredients of this Smoked Tofu Multi-Layer Sandwich by Jamie Bevia are vitamins and minerals to help reduce those anxiety symptoms such as magnesium-rich spinach and multigrain bread, as well as zinc-rich hummus. Topped off with half an avocado — chock full of magnesium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acid, and vitamin B6 — this is the perfect sandwich to fill your stomach and ease your mind.
Lunch is oftentimes the hardest meal to plan for, yet this recipe for Bean Patties in Beet and Chickpea Wraps by Lisa Andersson and Erik Huss may be the best go-to, easy prep, and portable option. The patties use anxiety-easing tahini, broccoli, and wheat berries, while the gluten-free chickpea-based wrap adds a helping of magnesium and zinc.
Source: Irish Soda Bread Baked Oatmeal
The simplicity of this 20-minute Irish Soda Bread Baked Oatmeal by Lauren Smith will already begin lowering your anxiety levels, even without the helping of magnesium-rich oatmeal. Plus, if you chose almond as your milk of choice, you’ll be adding another dose of anxiety-reducing magnesium and zinc.
Making dinner for more than one? Consider whipping up this Lemon Pepper Asparagus Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas by Alex Wolfe. Tasty and easy to prep, this recipe also layers multiple anxiety-easing ingredients including asparagus, — known for anti-anxiety properties — zinc-rich snap peas, and omega-3-rich extra virgin olive oil.
Source: Warm Chia Oatmeal Two Ways
If you find 15 extra minutes in the morning, this Warm Chia Oatmeal Two Ways by Mitra Shirmohammadi is an excellent way to infuse your body with vitamins and minerals to ease the anxieties of the day. Oatmeal is rich in zinc, known to lower anxiety, as well as fiber to keep your digestive tract running smoothly. Chia seeds are not only perfect plant-based proteins, but they are also rich in anxiety-lowering B vitamins. Choose zinc-rich almond milk and you’ve got a delicious, comforting, anxiety-fighting bowl of breakfast oatmeal!
Source: Crispy Flavorful Pickles
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics which have been linked to reduced social anxiety and fewer anxiety symptoms overall. There many options for plant-based fermented foods including kimchi, sauerkraut, and coconut kefir. These five-ingredient, two-step Crispy Flavorful Pickles by Caroline Ginolfi are a great way to ease into plant-based probiotics.
When it comes to easing anxiety with plant-based foods, it’s important to incorporate as many “feel good” stimulating foods as possible. We’re talking about dopamine and serotonin. Bake up a batch of these Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins by Fabio Gallo to keep on hand for their dopamine releasing walnuts, banana, and chocolate (make sure to get at least 70 percent or higher dark chocolate!)
Source: Coconut Carob Cashew Bliss Bites
While sweet treats help ease and please your body and mind, they can also add unwanted sugar and fat to your diet. Enter these delicious and healthy Coconut Carob Cashew Bliss Bites by Maria Koutsogiannis. These sweet treats include a laundry list of anxiety-reducing agents including hemp seeds, walnuts, almonds, peanut butter, and dark chocolate.
Source: Copycat Dole Whip
This Copycat Dole Whip recipe by Holly Jade is the perfect healthy treat to prepare and store in your fridge. This recipe asks for two and a half cups of serotonin-rich pineapple, another one of those “feel good” chemicals. Add another half cup of zinc-rich almond milk and you’ve got a wonderful snack to help you wind down at the end of the day!
Elsa Brobbey proves that warm and comforting can also have a kick with this Spiced Dark Chocolate Banana Bread. This slightly-sweet banana bread is infused with the naturally spicy flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, as well as agents to help ease your anxiety including banana, dark chocolate, and flaxseed. Warm in your tummy and calm in your head!
It’s Saturday morning and you want something savory and sweet. Try out this Pumpkin and Kale Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Sausage recipe by Lauren Smith. You’ll get a healthy morning dose of magnesium-rich kale, as well as a helping of zinc in the required half cup of oats and one cup of plant-based milk (select almond for the most zinc!).
With warm weather comes a hankering for light, yet filling meals. Whipping up this 30-minute Chickpea Asparagus Spring Frittata by Lisa Dobler is a great way to enjoy breakfast for dinner while infusing your body with anxiety-reducing ingredients including asparagus, chickpea flour, and peas of your choice!
Source: Herbed Probiotic Cashew Cheese
If fermented foods are simply not your jam, yet you still want to gain those gut-boosting, anxiety-reducing benefits, try this Herbed Probiotic Cashew Cheese by Alejandra Olmedo. With a unique mixture of brewer’s yeast and probiotic water, this vegan cheese can be stored in the fridge and enjoyed as a snack or part of a larger meal. Plus, if you can’t get your hands on probiotic water, simply mix four capsules of dissolved probiotics in eight and a half ounces of water.
If you’re looking for a shake that packs a punch of anxiety-reducing vitamins and minerals, this Memory Booster Chunky Monkey Shake by Rebecca Jacobs is absolutely the one for you! It incorporates almost all of the top agents known to reduce anxiety symptoms including banana — rich in magnesium and dopamine — hemp seeds — rich in omega-3 fatty acids — chia seeds — rich in omega-3 fatty acids — spinach — rich in magnesium — and peanut butter and almond milk — rich in zinc. Whip up a batch and store them in your freezer!
These are just 15 of thousands of recipes infused with anxiety-reducing agents. For access to more, we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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