We all have our go-to methods for stress relief: a long walk around the neighborhood, soaking in a scented bath, or settling down with that book you've been meaning to read for months. What if we told you that relieving all that excess anxiety might be as simple as incorporating a vitamin or two into your day? Research has revealed that certain vitamins actually have the ability to reduce stress. So if you are just about ready to go after your hubby for forgetting to put the lid on the toothpaste, or dump your kids at the nearest fire station (we joke, we joke), check out these healthier (and ethically sound) options instead!
B vitamins: When combined into a B-complex supplement, the various B vitamins become a veritable powerhouse of stress relief. According to Best Health Magazine, one study concerning people with a panic disorder, OCD or depression found that, when participants took prescribed amounts of the B vitamin inositol, the vitamin dosage was as effective and had fewer side effects than the leading anti-anxiety medication! In particular, vitamin B1, B3 and B5, B12 and folic acid are considered key to suppressing anxiety, as they affect our blood sugar levels, serotonin synthesis, depression and adrenal health. If you are looking for food sources that contain high levels of B vitamins, we recommend adding more meat, fish (especially salmon) whole grains, potatoes, bananas, dark, leafy vegetables and beans to your diet!
Magnesium: As essential as it is to our mental and physical health, it is estimated that about 75 percent of the American population has a magnesium deficiency. This is particularly upsetting, considering the benefits of this overachieving mineral. Magnesium helps sustain our nervous system, and can also play a huge role in suppressing anxiety, fear, nervousness, restlessness and irritability. It is also known to protect the heart and arteries. If you have been diagnosed with a magnesium deficiency, it is essential that you add a daily supplement to your regiment. The average intake is about 175 milligrams a day, even though the daily recommended dose is around 400 to 600 milligrams per day. If you want to add more magnesium to your diet, we recommend eating more dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit, and dark chocolate (in moderation!).
Vitamin D: Now that the warm weather and sunny days are upon us, we can really take advantage of the benefits of Vitamin D! For those of us who live in a sunnier climate, our bodies actually receive their daily doses of Vitamin D through the ultraviolet rays of the sun. People who are diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency often find that they suffer from seasonal anxiety and depression. This essential vitamin is also important for immunity, bone health and heart health, and is believed to protect against cancer. This fat-soluble vitamin can be found in foods such as eggs, oils and fatty fish like salmon.
Omega-3s: Most of us are familiar with the benefits of fish oil, although you may not be aware that certain elements of omega-3s, such as EPA and DHA, are actually known to alleviate depression and anger! Studies have found that people who do not consume fish or fish oil on a regular basis often suffer from anxiety. When they added fish oil supplements to their diet for three months, they found that their anger and anxiety was greatly reduced. The best way to stock up on omega-3s is by consuming salmon, mackeral, sardines, flaxseed, walnuts, and even cauliflower (don't worry, we've made cauliflower edible here).
Even if you are struggling to add these important vitamins to your daily diet, you can find them in supplement form at your nearest grocery store or pharmacy! If you want to learn more about these vitamins, check out our sources here: Livestrong.com, Best Health Magazine, Ancient Minerals, The World's Healthiest Foods