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Fighting Stress and Anxiety Naturally

Fighting Stress and Anxiety Naturally

Being a teenager can be a tough time. The transition from childhood to adulthood can be challenging, and the stresses and anxieties that come with it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Parents can play a critical role in helping their teens manage their stress and anxiety.

 

This blog will discuss some of the ways parents can help their teens through nutrition, supplements, exercise and relaxation techniques.

 

Nutrition

Nutrition plays a crucial role in managing stress and anxiety. A well-balanced diet that includes plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables can help regulate the body’s stress response, reduce inflammation, and promote overall well-being.

 

The following foods are particularly effective at helping to reduce stress and anxiety levels.

 

  • Omega-3 rich foods: Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have been shown to have potential benefits for reducing stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that individuals with lower levels of omega-3s in their diet may be more susceptible to anxiety and depression. Omega-3s are also involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are important for regulating mood and emotions, as well as regulate the production of stress hormones like cortisol, which can become elevated during periods of stress. Sources: fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines.
Fig 1: Omega-3s can be obtained from fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Supplements can also be considered.

 

  • Magnesium-rich foods: Magnesium has been shown to have a relaxing effect on the body and may help promote feelings of calm and relaxation.  Magnesium is involved in the regulation of the neurotransmitters serotonin and GABA, which are important for mood and anxiety. Like Omega-3s, Magnesium may also help regulate the production of cortisol. Magnesium may help improve sleep quality, which can be disrupted by stress and anxiety. Sources: dark chocolate, avocados, spinach, and almonds.
Fig.2 : Foods that are high in Magnesium

 

  • Probiotic-rich foods:  Probiotic foods contain live bacteria that can help to support the health of the gut microbiome, which is the collection of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. Research suggests that a healthy gut microbiome may play a role in regulating the body’s response to stress and anxiety. Probiotic foods can help to reduce stress and anxiety by modulating the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are involved in regulating mood and emotions, and an imbalance in their levels has been linked to anxiety and depression. Probiotic bacteria have been shown to increase the production of these neurotransmitters in the gut, which can help to improve mood and reduce anxiety.

Finally, probiotic foods may also help to improve the body’s stress response by regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is the body’s primary stress response system. The HPA axis regulates the release of hormones such as cortisol, which are involved in the body’s response to stress. Probiotic bacteria have been shown to help regulate the HPA axis, which can help to reduce the body’s stress response and improve overall health.

Fig. 3: Foods that are high in probiotics. Examples include Sauerkraut, Kimchi, yogurt and Kefir,

 

  • B-Vitamin-rich foods: B-vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in many processes in the body, including energy metabolism and nervous system function. B vitamins are found in whole grains, leafy green vegetables, legumes as well as nuts and seeds. Deficiencies in B-vitamins have been linked to increased feelings of stress and anxiety. B-vitamins have been studied extensively for their potential role in reducing stress and anxiety and have been found to be involved in neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals play a key role in regulating mood, and imbalances can contribute to stress and anxiety. B-vitamins help regulate the production of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can become elevated during times of stress.
Fig. 4: Food sources of Vitamin B6, one of the B-Vitamins involved in the production of stress-reducing neurotransmitters.

 

In addition to eating a healthy and balanced diet, parents can encourage their teens to avoid foods that can contribute to stress and anxiety. Foods that are high in sugar and caffeine, such as energy drinks, soda, and candy, can disrupt sleep patterns and exacerbate stress and anxiety symptoms. Parents can also encourage their teens to limit their consumption of processed and fast foods, which are often high in unhealthy fats, salt, and sugar.

 

Specific Supplements

 

Certain supplements can also help reduce stress and anxiety symptoms. Of note, L-Theanine, myo-inositol, GABA have been shown to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety.

 

L-Theanine: is an amino acid found in tea leaves that can help promote relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety. L-Theanine is an amino acid that is found in tea leaves. L-Theanine has been shown to have a calming effect on the brain and may help reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress. L-Theanine supplements are generally safe and well-tolerated.

 

GABA: Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid that acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. It helps to regulate the activity of nerve cells and has a calming effect on the nervous system. GABA supplements have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety in several studies.

 

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): 5-HTP is a compound that is derived from the amino acid tryptophan. 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin and can help to increase serotonin levels in the brain. 5-HTP supplements have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and improve mood in several studies.

 

Myo-inositol: Myo-inositol is a naturally occurring compound that belongs to the vitamin B complex family, and it plays an important role in many physiological processes in the body, including the regulation of mood and behavior. Myo-Inositol is thought to work by modulating several neurotransmitters and signaling pathways in the brain. Myo-inositol has been shown to increase the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which is known to have mood-regulating effects. It also appears to have an effect on the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is involved in the body’s stress response.

 

Exercise

Regular exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress and anxiety. Exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals that promote a sense of well-being and happiness. It also helps regulate the body’s stress response, reducing inflammation, and improving overall physical health. Making evening walks, family hikes in nature or swimming together on hot evenings part of your family routines can help encourage movement in a fun and interactive way.

 

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation, can also be effective in reducing stress and anxiety symptoms. Parents can encourage their teens to practice these techniques regularly to help manage their stress and anxiety.

We all know that there is no better tonic and stress reducer than a good laugh. so, picking a great comedy where everyone gets to have a good belly laugh can be another way for you to connect with your teens while at the same time helping reduce stress. This can help teens relax their nervous systems and also feel connected to the family around them.

 

 

 

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