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Joanna BROWN

Rejoice Nutrition Wellness

10 Nutrients for Anxiety & Stress Management (Plus Recipes)

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Essential Building Blocks for Brain Function

Often the brain is referred to as a muscle, but is not a muscle at all! This 3-pound organ is the most complex organ within the human body.The brain contains 80 billion neurons, hormones, neurotransmitters, blood vessels, & capillaries. If it was not crowded enough in your head, the brain houses special cells (glial cells) that connect and communicate every feeling, emotion, action, and sensation within our body.

What does your Brain use as it's Raw Material to Grow & Thrive? ..FOOD!

The Intersection between Food and Mental Health Research is constantly changing the more we learn about our most complex organ in the body. The Brain consumes 20% of what you eat.
Critical Neurotransmitters need specific amino acids, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats to thrive.
What YOU EAT and YOUR Brain’s Wellness are interconnected which means your brain is made of the food you feed it.
For example, your Glial Cells need Omega 3’s. Zinc & Selenium both are used as building blocks and synthesize key neurotransmitters in the brain. Brain Hormones and chemicals need iron and folate to balance mood, and without Vitamin B’s nerve pulse communication for mood and cognition is impaired.

Nutrition & Mental Health are Connected

The following includes 10 Critical Nutrients plus Recipes for your brain health, address feelings of anxiety and stress while supporting your overall mental well-being. I have also included food sources for each nutrient for you, simply be intentional about adding as many of the following 10 nutrients to your plate each day to feed the brain and in turn address feelings of anxiety.

1) Vitamin A

Is Critical For:
  • Role in Producing DNA
  • Regulates Cell Growth
  • Role in Cell Division
  • Promote Cell Communication
  • Inflammation Management
  • Protects the Brain
  • Maintains Immune Health
  • Carotenoids convert to an Active form of Vitamin A in the body
Food Sources Include:
  • Carrots & Bell Peppers
  • Pumpkin & Squash
  • Sweet Potato & Yams
  • Chicken Liver
  • Mustard Greens
  • Spinach & Bok Choy
  • Kale & Collard Greens
  • Cantaloupe
  • Sea Vegetables

2) Potassium

Is Critical For:
  • Every Nerve Impulse & Heart Beat Depends on it
  • High Concentration in all Cells
  • Helps Cells Balance Homeostasis
  • Gets Oxygen to the Brain Relaying Signals from Neuron to Neuron
  • Low Levels are Linked to Mental Fatigue & Low Mood
Food Sources Include:
  • Kale & Bok Choy
  • Swiss Chard
  • Beet Greens
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Melons
  • Fennel
  • Carrots & Celery 
  • Lima Beans
  • Pinto & SoyBeans

3) Omega-3 Fats

Is Critical For:
  • Stimulates the Brain to Produce more Nerve Growth Factors
  • Promote Neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to adapt, grow, and change).
  • Regulate and reduce brain inflammation
  • Plays a Vital Role in Brain Synaptic Function
  • Lack of Omega 3’s is associated with Anxiety, Depression, & a host of other Brain Disorders
Food Sources Include:
  • Flaxseeds & Walnuts
  • Sardines & Anchovies
  • Salmon & Tuna 
  • Beef
  • Shrimp
  • Tofu
  • Cauliflower
  • Raspberries

4) Iron

Is Critical For:
  • Forming Hemoglobin to transport Oxygen into your Brain
  • A Key Role in the Development & Management of Anxiety & Depression
  • Creation of Dopamine & Serotonin (regulates mood, pleasure, joy, and focus)
Food Sources Include:
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Red Meat
  • Cooked Spinach & Swiss Chard
  • Oysters
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Parsley
  • Leeks
  • Pinto Beans

5) Selenium

Is Critical for: 
  • Reducing Brain Inflammation from Free Radical Damage
  • Protection from Oxidative Damage
  • Reproduction & DNA Synthesis
  • Glutathione Production for the Brain replies on Selenium
  • Transforming a Less Active Thyroid Hormone T4 into active T3. Anxiety & Depression are correlated with Low Thyroid
Food Sources Include:
  • Mushrooms
  • Lobster
  • Tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Halibut
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Asparagus
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Tofu
  • Flaxseeds
  • Cow’s Milk

6) Zinc

Is Critical for:
  • Cellular Processes
  • Immune Function
  • Inflammation Response
  • Involved in the Regulation of Synaptic Transmission and Neuroplasticity.
  • Crucial for Neurotransmitters like Glutamate and Serotonin
  • Low Levels of Zinc have been associated with Increased Risks of Depression & Anxiety
Food Sources Include: 
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Beef
  • Asparagus
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Lentils
  • Cashews
  • Quinoa
  • Turkey
  • Steak
  • Oysters
  • Yogurt

7) Vitamin B's

Is Critical for: 
  • Fighting Inflammation
  • Reduces Homocysteine
  • Tryptophan Production
  • Role in Nervous System Production
  • Makes Neurotransmitters like Serotonin & Norepinephrine (=influence mood)
  • Role in Creating Melatonin for sleep which directly impacts Brain Health
  • Producing insulation that wraps brain cells to protect them
  • B12, along with DNA Controls Brain Shrinkage with Age
  • Makes Mood-Regulating Modules
Food Sources Include:
  • Wild Salmon
  • Dairy & Eggs
  • Beef Liver
  • Beans & Lentils 
  • All Seafood
  • Lamb
  • Yogurt
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Barley & Brown Rice

8. Vitamin C

It’s Critical For:
  • Managing Stress (our body does not store Vitamin C, & rapidly uses it at times of stress and anxiety
  • Concentrated in the CSF (Cerebral Spinal Fluid) surrounding the Brain for Protection
  • A major antioxidant to Fight Free Radical Damage in the Brain
    Co-Factor in many biochemical reactions in the body
Food Sources Include: 
  • Papaya
  • All Citrus
  • All Berries
  • Bell Peppers Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Turnip
  • Beet Greens
  • Bok Choy

9. Magnesium

It’s Crucial for:
  • Production of DNA Responsible for over 500 Metabolic Reactions
    The elasticity of the Brain
  • Known as the “anti-stress” mineral
  • NMDA Receptors in the membranes
  • Maintains Nervous System Balance.
  • Depression Connection. Research shows low levels of Magnesium in those with diagnosed Depression
Food Sources Include:
  • Quinoa
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Summer Squash
  • Soybeans
  • Brown Rice
  • Oats
  • Tofu
  • Black Beans
  • Cashews
  • Barley

10. Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D Deficiency has been associated with Anxiety, Depression, and Fibromyalgia.
  • Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found in eggs, fatty fish, & cod liver oil.
  • Your body also makes its own Vitamin D with safe exposure to the sun.
  • For those that are plant-based and live in locations that have limited sunlight supplementation is very beneficial.
Looking for a Good Vitamin D or Cod Liver Oil Supplement to safeguard against Vitamin D deficiency? Let me help! Here is the link to the Fullscript Dispensary and I am happy to send you some recommendations from many brands from a variety of price ranges and access points. 

Application of Nutrients

Be intentional to add as many of these nutrients onto your plate each day to support your brain health, and nervous system, and manage feelings of stress and anxiety. 
If you are interested in diving deeper into supporting your mental health, check out the Eat to Ease Anxiety Online Program. This program is packed with resources, menus, workbooks, video lessons, and tools to crush anxiety and take back your life. 
If you are not sure this program is right for you, book a FREE 15-Minute Discovery Call today. 

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