Reduce anxiety with these nutrients

In a previous blog post you could read about some of my top tips on taming the anxious mind.

Autumn comes with the endless possibilities to start something new, to embark on a new journey, to go on a diet, to become better persons. It has that magical energy that everything is possible. A little bit like New Year’s Eve, when you make promises to do and be better next year. As much as it is a fantastic energy to embrace, it is also important to stay kind to ourselves and true to our values. It all has to come from the heart, with the right intention, not just to mask the pain and numb the symptoms. Otherwise, we end up feeling anxious, depleted while breaking yet another promise to ourselves, only to do it again and again. This is why many people yo-yo diet, binge drink or use medications to escape. There must be a better way to grow and flourish!

This season also offers a beautiful opportunity to turn inwards and have an honest and kind chat with ourselves. Where are we now? How far did we come this year? Where are we heading? Has our direction and intentions changed since the bubbles of NYE filled us with excitement? What is important now?

There are some important nutrients that can also offer a buffer.

Water: The research of Haghighatdoost (2018) suggests drinking plain water can reduce depression. Sugary drinks can spike blood sugar only to drop afterwards creating low mood and mood swings. By drinking water instead we could avoid these big blood sugar spikes that cause and worsen mood swings. “Water facilitates signalling pathway and nutrients delivery to the brain, removes toxins and inflammatory markers and provides energy sources for brain, and thereby improves brain function.” 

Vitamin B will help many functions in the brain and one of the most common vitamins to supplement with when someone suffers from depression or anxiety. B1 will be essential for quick thinking and learning and will help energy production (low level of which can cause tiredness, lack of concentration for example.) B6 helps the tryptophan conversion into serotonin (the happy hormone). B12 can improve brain function and boost memory. Foods sources, e.g.: nuts, seeds, butternut squash, oily fish, tuna, prawns, chicken, turkey, pork, organ meat, milk, eggs, green leafy vegetables.

Magnesium is super important for helping our muscles to relax and also to help us feel more relaxed. Magnesium is linked to the body’s GABA production and synthetising it. GABA is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain and that helps us feel more relaxed and less anxious. It plays an important role in modulating our moods.  Foods sources of magnesium, e.g.: green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, soy milk and tofu. Food sources of GABA: fermented foods like kimchi, tempeh, miso, but also in green tea and some vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower etc.

Omega 3 is essential for our brain health and also to reduce inflammation that can be an underlying issue for many health conditions. Foods that rich in these are:  oily fish or algae for vegans. Seeds like chia seeds, flaxseed also contains omega 3 but the ALA type which is not as easy for humans to digest as the ones in oily fish (DHA and EPA).

Zinc helps regulate our stress response plus it is also a co factor in the GABA synthesis. Foods that rich in these are: red meat, shellfish, legumes and seeds. 

Vitamin D is also very important for the brain, it helps stabilise the mood but also essential to supplement with in the darker months, especially in the UK. It plays a role in calcium absorption, insulin production and immune function too.  Foods that rich in these are: oily fish, red meat, egg yolk, mushrooms, cow’s milk and soy milk.

Remember, feeling anxious is part of every day life, it is perfectly normal – to a certain extent. There is no one way to deal with it; something that has worked for a friend, might not work for us; something worked last week might not work today. Explore these with curiosity and listen to your body.


If you suffer with long term anxiety disorder please seek medical help. This article is not to replace medical guidance, it is here to inspire you and offer self-help techniques for every day anxiety we all experience.


Haghighatdoost, F. et al (2018) Drinking plain water is associated with decreased risk of depression and anxiety in adults: Results from a large cross-sectional study. World Journal of Psychiatry. [online]. Available at: 10.5498/wjp.v8.i3.88

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA): What It Is, Function & Benefits (

Vitamin D – NHS (