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How to eat to regain your sense of calm (Part 2)

Good nutrition can help rebalance mood and keep you better in control of anxiety

Although this time of year can feel cosy, it can also become an anxious and stressful time as we run up to Christmas, especially during these trying times.

Although stress and anxiety can be caused by several different factors, it is possible to use diet as a way of helping mood and my previous blog talked about how diet can influence brain chemistry and how able you feel to cope.

So, what are these nutrients our body needs, particularly when we are anxious?


Magnesium is often referred to as ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ – which hints at just how crucial this mineral is for supporting balanced mood, relaxation, and deep sleep. One reason why magnesium helps us cope with anxiety might be that it plays a role in nerve transmission. The mineral is not even hard to find, despite this, deficiency is common. There’s some in most foods, particularly in green leafy vegetables – think broccoli, spinach, kale, and watercress – but also in grains, such as brown rice, buckwheat and quinoa, nuts and seeds, or fish and seafood….even dark chocolate!

Read on for my dark chocolate bark recipe!

Magnesium foods can help reduce anxiety


A 2019 study found that the amino acid L-theanine might help manage anxiety and support a balanced stress response. L-theanine is found in green tea. It increases the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, which has calming, anti-anxiety effects. The amino acid also raises dopamine and the creation of alpha waves in the brain. This is because l-theanine can cross the blood-brain barrier, a membrane that protects our brain from unwanted and harmful substances.

The high intake of green tea by Buddhist monks may contribute to their famously calm demeanor and intense focus during meditation.

If you usually dislike the taste of green tea, try Tea Pigs Mao Feng or Pukka Mint Matcha Green.

Drinking green tea can help boost mood

Omega-3 fats

The authors of a 2020 research review agree that the role of nutrition in the management of mental health disorders is underestimated. They reviewed the existing research into omega-3 fats in connection with anxiety and found that this type of fat is critical for brain health and has been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms.

As vegan diets are becoming more popular, it is important to note that omega-3 fats from plant sources, such as flaxseed oil or walnut oil, do not cover our daily requirements, let alone achieve therapeutic levels. The omega-3s these foods contain are inferior to the ones we need: EPA and DHA. Although the body can make those long-chain fatty acids can from plant-source omega-3 (alpha-linoleic acid or ALA), the conversion is sluggish and easily disrupted. Only about 5 percent get converted. If you are vegan, do not like fish, or are allergic to it, your diet alone will cover your needs. I recommend finding a good-quality supplement with omega-3 from marine sources (i. e., algae), which is the only vegan source of DHA.

Omega 3 fats can help with mood and anxiety

Would you like help to regain your sense of calm? Book a free call with me

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