You are probably aware of many of the benefits of including enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, such as heart health, reduced inflammation, and less joint pain. However, did you know that omega-3 fatty acids may also help reduce anxiety? Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the US, making it the most common mental illness. To make matters worse, anxiety often goes hand-in-hand with depression. Although anxiety disorders are often treatable, many people with anxiety do not receive treatment for a variety of reasons. That means that the ability of omega-3s to help reduce anxiety is great news for a considerable number of people.
The relationship between omega-3s and anxiety has been studied extensively, and the research overwhelmingly shows a connection between regular consumption of the former and better control of the latter. For example, one study showed that upping your intake of fish oil can not only reduce inflammation but also anxiety in otherwise healthy young people. It probably follows that, if young people can receive these benefits, then older people and people at high risk of certain diseases may also benefit – or perhaps they may benefit even more.
How do omega-3s reduce anxiety?
Researchers looked for placebo-controlled and non-placebo-controlled studies to evaluate their findings regarding omega-3s and anxiety among various participant demographics. It appears that these fatty acids have neuroprotective and corrective properties, particularly regarding the sensing abilities of free fatty acid receptors in the brain and how they interact with the endocannabinoid system.
It’s easy to understand the importance of lipids to brain function when you consider that there is a very high concentration of these fats in the central nervous system. Omega-3s are indispensable to the normal function and development of the CNS. Unfortunately, western diets tend to be poor in the right kinds of fats, replacing them with sources of fat that do not provide a lot of the essential nutrients that the body and brain need. Scientists agree that more research is needed into the exact mechanisms of omega-3s and why they appear to reduce anxiety, but it is clear that individuals who consume enough tend to have a lower incidence of anxiety, depression, social anxiety disorders, seasonal affective disorder, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders.
How to get more omega-3s in your diet
If you are looking for a natural way to add more healthy omega-3s to your diet, whether your goal is to relieve joint pain or take advantage of the newer findings regarding anxiety and omega-3s, it’s easy to do. You can get more omega-3s by eating more foods that contain them, such as fish and other seafood, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans.
You can also maximize the amount of omega-3s in your diet by adding a daily supplement. While many people automatically think of traditional fish oil for their omega-3s, you should know that green-lipped mussel oil is a superior source. That’s because the green-lipped mussel oil found in GLX3 supplements has a secret weapon: ETA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid not found in fish oil. Because ETA is many times more potent than other forms of omega-3s, you need less of it to achieve the same benefits as larger amounts of others.
What are some other ways to manage anxiety and promote mental wellness?
Yes, “food and nutrition” belong in the “reduce anxiety over time” category. However, food and nutrition play such a big role that it really deserves it’s own section. The gut-brain axis is a communication pathway between your brain and your gut (no surprise there). What is surprising, however, is that the health of your gut can influence your mental state and vice-versa.
For example, have you ever noticed a fluttering, nauseating feeling when you’re nervous or stressed? Well, it turns out that these “butterflies” are just your gut-brain axis in motion. It’s the same thing when you eat spicy foods before bedtime and then have strange or scary dreams. Essentially, the way you feed yourself can have a big impact on your mental health. Conversely, your mental health can have a big impact on your digestion.
Here are five food and nutrition tips to help manage anxiety and promote mental wellness:
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet with Plenty of Vitamins and Minerals
While a “well-balanced diet” might look different for everyone, opting for whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is healthier than processed foods with lots of simple carbohydrates. Additionally, you may consider consuming foods with vitamins and minerals known to aid in cognitive function and reduce anxiety. Magnesium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and fermented foods with probiotics all have mental health benefits.
Keep Blood-Sugar Levels Balanced
When we go long periods of time without eating, our blood sugar naturally lowers. That’s why we tend to feel lethargic until we eat again. Well, it turns out that the rapid drop of blood sugar (which is common for diabetics, or those who don’t eat regularly) causes our bodies to attempt to raise it again by releasing adrenaline and sometimes even cortisol. This can cause mood swings, irritability, and anxiety. So, it’s important to keep your blood-glucose levels as balanced as possible throughout the day.
That could mean having snacks on hand, or just eating meals with complex carbs for breakfast. Harvard Health says, “…complex carbohydrates are metabolized more slowly and therefore help maintain a more even blood sugar level, which creates a calmer feeling.” Foods with beta-glucan are particularly good at maintaining blood-glucose levels and even keeping you feeling full for longer.
We all know that staying hydrated is essential for physical and mental wellness, but most of us still aren’t drinking enough water. Several studies have even shown how drinking water is associated with reduced risk of anxiety and depression. So, even if you’re drinking other beverages, consider keeping a water bottle around to sip on throughout the day.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption
Too much caffeine can overstimulate you and actually end up causing anxiety. While everyone’s caffeine tolerance is different, consider cutting back on the caffeine until you’re sure it’s not causing issues. Additionally, while small amounts of alcohol can increase GABA and feelings of relaxation, too much can actually reduce overall GABA levels and lead to feelings of restlessness and anxiety.
GLX3 is not only a potent source of omega-3s containing the elusive ETA, but it’s also a highly sustainable product because green-lipped mussels are harvested in a way that does not harm any other marine life. In fact, New Zealand green-lipped mussels are considered one of the eco-friendliest seafood in the world. You can also feel good about consuming green-lipped mussels because they thrive in the pristine waters off the coast of New Zealand, some of the cleanest waters in the world.
Green-lipped mussel oil is truly one of the most natural, sustainable, and effective supplements that you can take to improve your overall well-being, addressing a range of health issues from joint pain to anxiety. The research on anxiety and omega-3s is especially exciting for people who wish to take a more holistic approach to healthcare, both physical and mental.
If you are already taking prescription medication for anxiety, it’s important to consult your doctor before discontinuing it or adding other medications or supplements to your regimen. However, you should know that, as a natural food product, GLX3 has no known interactions with any drugs, either prescription or over-the-counter. If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, consider giving GLX3 a try. You might just be surprised at the results.