So, what will actually help to settle your nervous system - the best foods for anxiety? We've already looked at the very worst foods for anxiety and those it's helpful to reduce. Now it's important to take on board that this is not a time to think about starting stringent food regimes or becoming model thin or - it's a time to nurture and be kind to yourself. So ...
Ayurveda considers sweet, sour and salty tastes to be the best tasting foods for anxiety – a simple way of monitoring which foods will be best for you. These foods tend to satisfy and be comforting.
Is it a co-incidence that as anxiety problems have become more widespread than ever before that there has been a corresponding increase in people's desire for salty, sour and sweet foods? Think pizza - oily, salty and sour tastes (cheese & tomato = sour). Our increased intake of sugar is worrying health authorities in the west and it's also a common additive in many savoury processed and packaged foods.
Remember, we can eat sweet, sour and salty and still keep it healthy.
The following foods are those that have these sweet, sour, salty, heavier and oilier qualities:
Dairy: All dairy products
Sweeteners: Raw sugar, raw honey (unheated), molasses, maple syrup
Oils: All oils, especially sesame
Grains: Rice, wheat, rye, oats (cooked, not dry)
Beans: Split mung dal, tofu, chickpeas, adzuki beans, urad lentils
Fruits: Grapes, cherries, peaches, melons, avocado, coconut, banana, orange, pineapple, plums, berries, mango, papaya, olives, lemon, lime, apricots, dates, figs, nectarine; stewed fruit; all sweet ripe fruit.
Vegetables: Beets, carrots, asparagus, cucumber, sweet potato, avocado, squash, zucchini, young eggplant, artichoke, tomato, peppers, green beans, onions, garlic (not raw), turnip, celery, spinach in small amounts. Any vegetables that are well cooked with a little oil.
Spices: Asafoetida (hing), basil, black pepper, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cumin, ginger, most spices in small amounts aid Vata digestion, poppyseed, salt, sweet, heating herbs and spices, allspice, anise, bayleaf, cilantro (coriander), fennel, juniper, liquorice root, mace, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, sage, tarragon, thyme.
Nuts: Any (except walnuts which tend to be bitter), skinned (blanched) almonds are best.
Beverages: Room temperature water, fruit and vegetable juices, warm milk, herbal teas.
Animal food for non-vegetarians: Chicken, turkey, seafood – these are easier to digest than red or fatty meats.
If you are not eating well or have a low appetite it’s especially important to make sure you get your vitamins and minerals as a supplement. Getting enough Vitamin B complex in particular can make a big difference to your anxiety levels (see supplements for anxiety).
Check out important general tips for eating and diet here.