4 Essential Nutrients to Help You Relax

Are you managing stress, or preventing it? Either way, useful techniques like meditation with a singing bowl, mindfulness exercises, and yoga can go a long way.


However, stress, fatigue, and anxiety are a whole-body issue. Our mindfulness efforts can go even further if we are biologically healthy. Physical wellness is a great foundation to support relaxation and stress relief.


One course of action doctors often recommend involves our diet. Gut issues, hormonal imbalances, the thyroid and adrenals, inflammation, and all sort of factors can cause – and even intermingle to create –mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging conditions.


A professional can determine whether or not you should eliminate certain foods from your diet. But what aren’t you getting enough of?


Here are four nutrients the experts say you should focus on if you need to chill out

1. Probiotics.

As time goes on, we gather more and more evidence concerning the brain-gut connection. Our gut talks to our central nervous systems and vice versa, provoking changes to our immune responses, emotions, digestion, and endocrine functions.


How positive and beneficial this talk is usually boils down to our gut microbiome; the collection of healthy bacteria that live in our intestine. To help nourish a thriving community of bacteria, we can take probiotics.


Buying probiotic supplements can be tricky. We need live strains of bacteria, which may not survive the shelf. Therefore, it is best to first try eating probiotic-rich foods. Get a variety of these four times per week:


⦁ Yogurt


⦁ Kefir


⦁ Kombucha


⦁ Kimchi


⦁ Sauerkraut

 

2. B Vitamins.

A whole host of B vitamins, from folate to biotin, have been shown to affect our moods. Vitamin B6 may help alleviate symptoms related to hormonal changes. B9 and B12 can help us stabilize waves of sadness. Meanwhile, B5 is supportive to our adrenal glands.


B vitamins are also recommended for those who experience a sort of “brain fog” with their stress or fatigue, finding it more difficult to focus or express themselves as they normally would. Ask a nutritionist if supplementation is required, and try adding more of these B-rich foods daily. The following, all together, cover all eight of the B vitamins.


⦁ Beans and lentils


⦁ Eggs (especially the yolks)


⦁ Wild-caught fish


⦁ Citrus fruits


⦁ Avocados


⦁ Broccoli


⦁ Whole grains (think barley and millet)

 

3. Magnesium.

Magnesium is commonly regarded as the best anti-anxiety nutrient. Studies consistently link magnesium deficiency to anxiety and panic. This is because magnesium is so critical to the function of our stress response system.


You might be more prone to a magnesium deficiency if you’re diabetic or have been known to absorb any nutrient poorly. That said, many of us miss out on this mineral due to a processed diet.

Instead, get more of these foods and see if your stress doesn’t begin to melt within a few weeks:


⦁ Nuts and seeds


⦁ Fatty fish


⦁ Tofu


⦁ Kale


⦁ Dark chocolate


⦁ Avocados

 

4. L-Theanine.


L-theanine is an amino acid that we don’t often get from our food. Even though it’s an amino acid, it’s not one of the essential ones that constantly help us build and renew our bodies. However, it’s highly prized for its relaxation-inducing abilities because it increases GABA and serotonin levels.


GABA and serotonin are two of the most well-known neurotransmitters which help determine how we feel – how active we are, happy, stressed, sleepy, or hungry. L-Theanine is natural way to boost GABA and feel more relaxed without getting drowsy or losing focus.


Most people supplement L-theanine. But there are still a few dietary ways to get it, most notably:


⦁ Green and black tea


⦁ Certain mushrooms (like Bay Bolete)

The bottom line? Keep on meditating, but be sure to eat a stress-busting diet as well. Have you had any success reducing stress through diet? Do you notice any changes in your mood when you eat poorly? Sound off in the comments below.


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