Feeling anxious or on edge? Flavonoid-rich foods could help.
Benzodiazepines (like Valium) are well-known drugs to help people to feel calmer through their sedating, hypnotic, anti-anxiety, muscle-relaxant effects.
As it turns out, certain members of the class of phytochemicals called flavonoids seem to work similarly to benzodiazepines. A flavonoid called amentoflavon(e) was found to be as potent as Valium in binding to certain brain receptors.
Anti-anxiety drugs have many side effects, like sedation, amnesia and ataxia, which is why some researchers are exploring safer options.
Overall, cell and animal research has shown that flavonoids found in foods and herbs may have beneficial effects for brain and nerve health.
We still don’t know whether these results translate to humans, but until we know the definitive answer, it might be worthwhile to get more foods containing flavonoids in your everyday diet.
Here are some examples of the foods highest in flavonoids:
- Cacao beans
- Black raspberries
- Unsweetened cocoa
- Carob flour
- Green tea
- Black tea
- White Tea
- Concord grapes
- Mustard greens
- Acai berries
Deanna Minich, Ph.D., IFMCP is a nutrition professional and functional medicine doctor. She has a master's in human nutrition and metabolism from the University of Illinois at Chicago and doctorate in medical science and nutrition from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. She has a wide range of experiences in the health field, including working in clinical practice, with food and lifestyle medicine, at dietary supplement companies, and teaching at universities and health institutes.
She has written four books on healing, food, and personal growth. She created the Food & Spirit program, to radically shift people’s relationship with food, eating, and living, and the Certified Food & Spirit Practitioner Program, to equip practitioners with a structured framework for bringing together the rainbow-colored seven aspects of the self in the therapeutic encounter for optimal healing.