What if you could overcome fear as easily as eating breakfast? Not possible, I would have thought, until I followed a musician friend's recommendation to eat a couple bananas a few hours before a particularly intense presentation. When the time to perform arrived, I wasn't nearly as nervous as I should have been! Whether you're nervous before a speech, a musical performance, or even a particularly hot date, here's three foods that can take the edge off of nervousness and anxiety.


The crowd favorite, chocolate is high in chemicals such as theobromine (which has drug-like effects in large quantities), chocolate is also rich in other 'feel-good' chemicals such as tyramine and PEA. Don't shy away from the chemicals, though - all foods have chemicals, chocolate just happens the have the best ones! Add some antioxidents and flavonals into the mix, and you've got a wonder food. All these (plus a bit of sugar) work together to take the edge off of fear. Don't eat too much, however, because of the possible sugar crash afterward. Go for dark chocolate, the more cocoa the better. According to one study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating a bit of dark chocolate daily may even lower blood pressure.


Next, ginger. Drink a bit of ginger ale (be sure it uses natural flavoring) or eat a bit of ginger bread before you need to perform. Ginger naturally eases upset stomachs and quells nauseousness - some studies say it works better than popular medicines. How? Ginger, similar to Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs, reduces inflammation. Further, gingerol and shogaol chemicals relax the digestive system, counteracting the opposite effects of anxiety. According to British medical journal Lancet, ginger can even be more effective than some medicines.


Finally, our superfood: the banana. So potent that some musicians eat bananas instead of taking beta-blocking medications. A number of nutrients combine to give bananas their calming effects, from magnesium to potassium to tryptophan, a precursor of the essential neurotransmitter serotonin. Eat a couple of these natural beta blockers a few hours before you need to perform and watch the fear fly far away.

In the end, sometimes overcoming fear comes down a determination to be confident plus a few deep breaths beforehand. But how effective those deep breaths can be depends on our prior actions. When we're careful about the things we put into our bodies, we can control the things that come out. Next time you confront a challenging situation, eat a banana, take a deep breath, and perform.

Author's Bio: 

For more information about fearless speaking, visit Overcome Fear of Public Speaking. Devin R. Bean currently is a freelance writer and edits www.speech-time.com.