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Anxiety manifests in a variety of ways, from a generalized type to specific phobias. It is also common for anxiety to occur in conjunction with depression, creating a more challenging path for many. Doctors have a lengthy list of medications to recommend, but there’s more to anxiety than prescription drugs. What we eat plays a key role in exacerbating or relieving mental health symptoms. Food changes the body’s biochemistry in ways that can enhance the effectiveness of medications, or just make us feel better in general. To get the most out of the dietary effects on anxiety, you need to know what to avoid as much as what to enjoy.

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1. Beans and Leafy Greens

Magnesium is essential in hundreds of biochemical reactions, including muscle function and maintaining a steady heartbeat. Beans and leafy green vegetables are great sources of magnesium. Data shows that this mineral modulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis or HPA axis, which is a neuroendocrine mediator. During times of stress, the body loses magnesium through the urine, and that loss increases corticotropin-releasing hormone levels, resulting in enhanced anxiety.

Beans leafy greens anxiety HPA aluxum / Getty Images
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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.