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4 Foods That Can Calm Anxiety & 3 That Don't

Anxiety has become so prevalent in today's world, it's now considered the norm for many rather than unusual.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 18% of adults.

While medication is a valid route, many of us choose to seek a more natural approach including exploring underlying issues and even diet choices.

Here are 4 foods to reach for during times of anxiety, and 3 to avoid:

1. Avocado

Avocados contain blood pressure-lowering potassium, as well as monosaturated fat and B-vitamins. Studies have shown that 30% of patients hospitalized for mental health conditions are B vitamin deficient. These yummy green fruits are easy to grab on the go: just grab a spoon and add a little salt and you're good to go! Never tried one before? Click HERE for a great guide on picking the best avocado.

2. Tryptophan-Rich Foods

Think back on the food-induced coma you find yourself in after Thanksgiving. That sleepy relaxed state comes from the amino acid Tryptophan found in turkey. Foods rich in tryptophan can reduce anxiety. Oats, turkey, and sesame seeds are also high in this calming amino acid. Consider facing down a particularly stressful day with a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and a packed turkey sandwich for lunch.

3. Full-Fat Yogurt

Full-fat yogurt is packed with an ideal mix of protein, fat, and carbs to stoke your metabolism and fuel your body. High in the protein lactium for lowering blood pressure, vitamins B2 and B12 for the brain, and calcium and potassium to soothe muscle spasms, full-fat yogurt is an excellent resource for anxiety control.

4. Citrus Fruits

Vitamin C lowers blood pressure and kicks the stress hormone cortisol to the curb. Grab an orange, tangerine, or grapefruit on the run and as you peel it, inhale deeply. Whether you're consuming oranges or merely sniffing them, citrus is a great go-to anxiety weapon.

Now to the 3 foods that agitate anxiety.

1. Alcohol

While that one glass of wine buzz seems to take the edge off, alcohol is a depressant. Drink Aware Research reports that alcohol alters brain chemistry and increases anxiety. The temporary illusion of taking the edge off anxiety evaporates quickly, leaving you feeling lower than before you poured yourself a stiff one.

2. Sugar

Chocolate is the ideal comfort food for so many of us, but unfortunately, the sugar in it spikes insulin levels, leaving us ultimately tired and feeling low. Psychology Today reveals the roller coaster of high blood sugar followed by a crash may accentuate the symptoms of mood disorders like anxiety.

3. Caffeine

Who doesn't want a cup of Joe or a boost of caffeine during an afternoon slump? Your adrenals and kidneys, that's who. Coffee and caffeine drinks are diuretics, which means they cause you to loose water faster than you normally would. Even the slightest level of dehydration can leave us feeling depressed. Caffeine can immediately improve your mood by stimulating dopamine, but it depletes serotonin over time, which will ultimately cause you to feel worse.

Food for many of us equals comfort; so during times of stress, remember to reach for the right comfort to feel better not just in the short term, but in the long run.

Read the original article HERE from The Huffington Post.