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Foods to Curb Anxiety this Festive Season

Foods to Curb Anxiety this Festive Season

Whilst the festive period should be a time of relaxation and bliss, the reality is that Christmas can be stressful at times and somewhat anxiety-inducing for those who celebrate. The financial pressures of buying presents, the balancing of family dynamics, even the timings on cooking the Christmas dinner – there’s elements to having a happy Christmas that mean anxiety can settle in.

Many of us are familiar with the feelings of anxiety, whether it’s mild or severe, yet there are ways to manage this through essential nutrition and the foods we eat. Our diet is just as important to our mental health as the exercise and social needs more commonly contributed.

The essential nutrients we intake through naturally our diet can help maintain our neurological pathways and regulate our mood. We use proteins to make neurotransmitters, which provide us with mood enhancers like serotonin. The complex relationship between the brain and our gut shows how the foods we eat can influence certain bacteria that help with stress. Here are some important nutrients your body and mind need to curb anxiety this festive period.

Omega 3/DHA

Omega 3 fatty acids are a vital yet easily forgotten family of nutrients our body needs. These fatty acids play important roles all over our body especially in the maintenance of our heart, but the gold medal goes to DHA when it comes to our mind. DHA is the technician of our nervous system, making sure our neurons and brain function properly. Being responsible for every cognitive decision you make from planning and problem solving to every movement and sense you process. Studies also show deficiency is associated with increased risk of mental disorders including depression [1].

These fatty acids are commonly found in seafood, but are also abundant in plant oils, nuts (walnuts) and seeds (chia/flax). When it comes to our diet, it’s extremely important we increase our DHA intake, through rich foods or supplements, as our bodies struggle to produce even low amounts of the fatty acids. Doctor Seaweed's Focus+ combines a unique plant-based source of Omega 3 DHA derived from algae to keep your brain healthy and your mood up.

Vitamin D

If you’re living in a country with poor weather, low sunlight in the colder seasons, chances are you might be lacking in vitamin D. That seasonal gloom you feel could be more than an unsightly environment. Vitamin D is a regulator of many substances in our bodies like calcium and phosphate as well as having strong ties to mood regulation and brain health.

Unlike many vitamins, our bodies produce this with the help of sunlight. Whilst this is great news for people living in tropical and brighter countries, this is bittersweet for many living in seasonal regions. Although we might get away with it in the summer months, our bodies likely won’t produce enough vitamin D from as early as October to as late as march. In fact, 1 in 6 adults are deficient in vitamin D [2] in the UK; deficiency is even more prevalent in vegetarians (Vitamin D is found almost only in animal products). This becomes another essential micronutrient we criminally forget to include in our diet! There are a plethora of long-term health issues linked with vitamin D deficiency - ties to anxiety and depression are well studied and could be a significant cause of seasonal depression [3]. To combat this, Doctor Seaweed's Immunity+ capsules provide you with your recommended daily dose of vitamin D3 from plant-based sources to ensure easy supplementation of this mighty vitamin during the darker months.

Iodine and B vitamins

The gravity of iodine deficiency, hypothyroidism and its symptoms are slowly being more exposed. Research, however, also shows that low iodine levels may contribute to development of anxiety and depression [4]. With a global statistic of around 2 billion people being defined as “insufficient in iodine intake” [5] it’s crucial to find ways to incorporate iodine in our diet. Similarly, B vitamins 1-8 are essential in many brain metabolic [6] pathways and provide a range of nervous system and mood regulatory effects, ultimately, helping us manage stress symptoms. B vitamins can be found in a variety of leafy greens and green vegetables like broccoli and peas.

If you struggle to incorporate iodine, B vitamins or any of these brain boosting nutrients into your diet, seaweed could be the answer. Each of Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful® Focus+ capsules contain Organic Scottish seaweed- a source of your daily intake of iodine as well as, B vitamins and Omega 3 DHA to keep your mind healthy this festive season.

 

References
[1]Gómez-Pinilla F. (2008). Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 9(7), 568–578. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn2421
[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey
[3] Anglin RES, Samaan Z, Walter SD, McDonald SD. Vitamin D deficiency and depression in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Psychiatry. Cambridge University Press; 2013;202(2):100–7.
[4] Turan E, Karaaslan O. The Relationship between Iodine and Selenium Levels with Anxiety and Depression in Patients with Euthyroid Nodular Goiter. Oman Med J. 2020 Jul 31;35(4):e161. doi: 10.5001/omj.2020.84. PMID: 32802419; PMCID: PMC7418102.
[5] Candido AC, Morais NDSD, Dutra LV, Pinto CA, Franceschini SDCC, Alfenas RDCG. Insufficient iodine intake in pregnant women in different regions of the world: a systematic review. Archives of Endocrinology and Metabolism [Internet] 2019;63(3):306–11. Available from: https://dx.doi.org/10.20945/2359-3997000000151
[6] Eva Calvaresi, Janet Bryan, B Vitamins, Cognition, and Aging: A Review, The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Volume 56, Issue 6, 1 November 2001, Pages P327–P339, https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/56.6.P327
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