Food for Thought: Relax with these GABA-rich Foods

Posted on Posted in Brain Health, Food, Nourishment

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Welcome to the 10-day Food for Thought series. I am writing this series for the Illinois Region of Phi Theta Kappa to promote healthy, focused, smart brains. Post #6 is focused on how to create happier brain chemicals with a better diet.

 

Did you know that some neurotransmitters can help to create relaxation and peace?

Yes, they can. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin are two brain chemicals that can help make you feel calm.

 

Relax with GABA

If you consistently find it hard to relax, are easily stressed out and overwhelmed, and constantly feel uptight and anxious, then you need more GABA in your life. It seems that we live in an overworked, stress-out society. We take on too much, work too much, worry too much, and don’t get enough sleep.

It is common to resort to coffee, sugar, refined foods and junk foods (including “energy” drinks) to temporarily relieve our stress. Additionally, our adrenal glands pump out excitatory chemicals to help us respond to the stress. It’s like constantly having the gas pedal to the floor. This creates more stress, anxiety, and wired exhaustion.

Here’s where GABA can help. Not only does it relax you, but GABA also boosts the immune system, which definitely works better when you are rested and relaxed anyway. There are GABA supplements, but you can get GABA from your diet.

 

Get GABA!

 

Tea

Green tea

Ooolong tea

 

green tea

 

Fermented Foods

Yogurt

Kefir

Kimchi

 

Fatty Fish/Seafood

Mackerel

Halibut

Shrimp

 

Nuts/Legumes

Almonds

Tree nuts

Lentils

Walnuts

 

Whole Grains

Oats

Brown Rice

Wheat bran

 

Produce

Oranges

Spinach

Cherry tomatoes