sion. It should be noted that

there are

plenty of alternatives to cow's milk-based yogurt products today, such as coconut-, almond, and goat's milk, all of which can help to prevent bovine casein-associated adverse health effects which we have documented in detail on our cow's milk database here.

4. Green Tea for Theanine Having a daily tea ritual is a great way

to weave a moment of calm into your days. Besides the benefits of taking a break from daily concerns to boil water, select a cup and let it steep, drinking tea is a great way to boost your brain's ability to ward off stress. There are more than 400 reasons to drink green tea, and for most adults today, feeling less stressed is at the top of the list. A Singapore study on 60 healthy se-

niors showed that those with a regular tea habit had brain scans showing improved brain organization brought about by tea's ability to prevent disruption of interre- gional connections. In other words, the different brain regions had more and healthier interconnections; they were more organized with better hemispheric symmetry.

Green tea's magical properties are attributed primarily to L-theanine, an ac- tive polyphenol in green tea that may be at the heart of its ability to calm nerves and fortify the brain. An amino acid, theanine produces a soothing effect by stimulating production of GABA and dopamine, neu- rotransmitters known to play a role in anxiety and pleasurable sensations. Green tea contains another potent

phytochemical called EGCG, short for epigallocatechin-gallate, another polyphe- nol in green tea that has gained a lot of attention as a potential therapeutic agent for preventing neurodegenerative inflam- matory diseases. And if you need any more reasons to start a green tea habit, regular tea drinking may bolster the immune sys- tem to prevent influenza infection. If you're wondering how much is too

much, the answer is it's very hard to overdo green tea consumption. A 2009 study conducted in Japan, one of the larg- est consumer countries of green tea, found that those who consumed more than 5 cups per day had significantly less stress than those who drank less than 1 cup per day. In other words, the more you drink, the better you feel. So, put on the kettle and start feeling better.

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5. Dark Chocolate While you engage in afternoon tea,

why not break off a square (or two) of fine dark chocolate? Don't worry about the jitters one might associate with chocolate; dark chocolate is clinically shown to im- prove anxiety and deliver a potent feel- good boost of serotonin. Cocoa contains more active phenolic antioxidants than most foods, a factor that can benefit brain function. One could argue that dark chocolate tastes better than most foods too, a factor that has been clinically shown to impart a soothing effect to individuals who are prone to mood disorders. Dark chocolate isn't just about taste;

it's got minerals like magnesium that are important for brain health and mood. A large square of dark chocolate with 70% to 85% cacao provides around 36 milli- grams (mg) of magnesium, nearly 10% of the U.S. RDA for adults. Magnesium is considered an essential

supplement for psychiatric patients due to the role it plays in calming the nervous system. A 2011 study of highly stressed individuals showed that eating 40 grams of dark chocolate every day for two weeks led to participants reporting significantly lower stress levels than participants eating milk or white chocolates. Eating dark chocolate has been shown to boost the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can lead to fewer and milder feel- ings of anxiety due to an enhanced ability to manage stress.[xxxiii] By adding a serv- ing of dark chocolate to your day, you can impart a wide array of self-care benefits to both enhance your mood and increase your resilience to life's daily stressors. There is no reason not to indulge.

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For additional information on anxiety- reducing foods and herbs, visit our data- base dedicated to the topic here. To learn more about the ways nutrition can support a sane, healthy lifestyle, consult Green-'s repository of articles as the world's most widely referenced, evidence- based natural medical resource.

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