Making a few small tweaks to your child’s diet can be enough to reduce their anxiety to more manageable levels.
I’ve compiled my 7 favourite foods to incorporate into your anxious child’s diet.
These contain omega 3 fatty acids, which are great for all things brain and nervous system related, including anxiety. Omega 3 fatty acids contain 2 essential fatty acids called EPA and DHA. These help balance neurotransmitters and reduce inflammation in the brain. Try to get your child to eat oily fish 3 times a week. If they will eat sardines for breakfast, then you aren’t going to have any issues doing this! Try to have salmon or trout during the week, as well as mackerel, herring or sardines. Stay away from tuna, both canned and fresh as it can contain high levels of mercury. Organic, or wild caught salmon or trout is preferable to farmed for many reasons.
Chamomile is a very relaxing, calming herb. It is easy to buy and easy to drink. Kids like it with a bit of honey. When you’re making the tea, it is best to use loose leaf so you know how much you are getting. Some tea bags (especially the cheaper ones) will have very little chamomile in them. Brew the tea nice and strong in a small cup to get the maximum benefit.
There is lots of research about the gut brain axis and the bidirectional flow of information (gut to brain, and brain to gut). What happens in the gut does not stay in the gut! Eating sauerkraut is a great way to use this to your advantage. Sauerkraut is a fermented (or probiotic) food, so it contains lots of beneficial bacteria. Research shows that eating fermented foods like sauerkraut helps socially anxious people feel calmer and function better. You can make your own sauerkraut or buy a good quality one from the fridge in the health food shop.
These have many benefits, one of them being the magnesium content. Magnesium is a very calming nutrient, which most children are deficient in. For very anxious children, you may need to start with a magnesium supplement to get their anxiety under control, and at the same time, start to bump up the green leafy vegetables in their diet. Don’t assume your child won’t like green veggies. Instead, think positive and find a way to teach them to love their veggies. People tell me their kids love this green smoothie.
The yolk is a very nutrient dense food, containing good levels of tryptophan. This is converted to serotonin in the body, the happy neurotransmitter. Anything that boosts serotonin will reduce anxiety. Egg yolks also contain choline which is also essential for a healthy nervous system as it is used to make acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter which impacts mood, memory and intelligence. A large study showed that people with lower levels of choline in their blood had higher levels of anxiety. Another reason to go to school on an egg!
My favourite brain health fruit are berries. They are low in sugar, so won’t cause massive ups and downs in blood sugar, yet they are full of antioxidants. Most kids also love them! Anxiety states are associated with diets lower in antioxidants, so it stands to reason that anything that boosts antioxidants will reduce anxiety. Any berries are fine, so rotate through which ever ones you can find organically grown.
Oats are used in herbal medicine as they are anti-anxiety and calming. They are also a source of the amino acid tryptophan, used to make serotonin. Not only that, if you buy whole, rolled oats rather than quick oats, they will stabilise blood sugar. A blood sugar that dips as soon as your child gets to school will contribute towards anxiety
Where to next?
Making changes to your diet if difficult.
Making changes to a child’s diet is ever more difficult.
I can help with the overhwhelm.
If you would like help implementing changes in your child’s diet to help them be happier, get in touch for a free 20 minute chat with me.