“A crust eaten is peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.” ~ Aesop
Background: “How to Fight Back Against Anxiety” could have been written in a single post, but because the issue of mental health is effecting over 40 million adults in the US alone I thought it would be helpful to explore each remedy on a deeper level. This is the third and final article in this three-part series on anxiety.
Anxiety is an unpleasant, state of inner turmoil and apprehension. It is characterized by fear, tension, worried thoughts and manifests into physical symptoms such as a sweating, dizziness and heart palpitations.
In the first part of this series we looked at a brief introduction to the devastating effects of anxiety as well as our number one natural remedy, meditation. Meditation was listed first because of its unique ability to naturally reinforce other positive habits including the second natural remedy which is exercise.
The benefits of exercise are compelling, who doesn’t want feel good chemicals released into their brains? When practising meditation and exercise comes a natural desire to eat better. The chances of stopping by McDonald’s on your way home from the gym are slim. Well maybe you do, but I’m guessing for the majority this isn’t the case.
Diet alone is not going to cure your anxiety but what your eating could be making it worse. Along with foods to avoid there are also certain foods that are proven to make you feel good and induce calmness.
Lets have a look at foods you should eat:
These are direct recommendations from Dr. Oz – Anxiety Fighting Tips:
- Vitamin C – Helps out our adrenal glands. Eat foods such as apples, broccoli, red peppers, spinach and kiwi’s.
- Get your Omega’s – Omega’s fight the stress causing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Include foods rich in flax, walnuts and soya beans.
- Complex Carbs – Don’t rush out and eat that French Baguette just yet, we only want the good carbs. Whole wheat breads, oats, beans and barley. These foods help keep your blood sugar stable and send a feel good message to your brain.
- What is Tryptophan? This is an amino acid that produces serotonin; which regulates your hormones. Eat foods such as bananas, soya sauce, pumpkin seeds and kale.
This is a great list of anxiety fighters compiled by Dr. Oz. To further add to the list I’ve compiled a few more tips that I’ve personally found helpful.
Anxiety fighting tips:
- Water – Along with so many other health reasons to stay hydrated, dehydration will almost always lead to anxiety.
- Magnesium supplements – This is my number one anxiety fighter, when I notice symptoms creeping in it’s the first thing I reach for. Magnesium, also known as a natural tranquilizer plays a role in 300 different chemical reactions in the body. Our modern food processing systems now strip magnesium from our diets leaving the majority of the population deficient. It’s a yo-yo effect, when deficient it causes anxiety which in turn causes the body to use up magnesium, which in turn leads to more anxiety.
- Vitamin B supplements – Also called the stress vitamin, take a B complex supplement daily – Click here for more information on Vitamin B and Magnesium.
- Omega 3 supplements – There are many studies on the postive effects of Omega 3 – Click here for more information. Along with eating Omega rich foods I also take Genuine Health pharmatecucal grade supplements daily.
- Don’t skip meals – this will play havoc with your blood sugar levels.
6 Foods to avoid if you suffer from anxiety:
- Fried foods – These foods force your body to work really hard and elevate your heart rate.
- Alcohol – Alcohol can be deceiving with its initial stimulating effects, but it is actually a depressant. Have you ever had a bad hangover? It’s not pleasant mentally or physically. Alcohol causes dehydration (which always leads to anxiety) not to mention it distorts your judgement and can lead to destructive behaviour, leaving you embarrassed, ashamed or worried.
- Coffee – The the most widely used mood altering drug in the world – it leaves you feeling jittery and increases your heart rate. Caffeine can greatly pronounce your symptoms. If you suffer from anxiety you should absolutely avoid coffee. Period.
- Dairy – While dairy is not a cause of anxiety it can heighten your adrenaline levels. Dairy is also a common allergy which many people are not aware they have, this allergy manifests into anxiety.
- Refined sugars – Produce negative effects on the body and cause jitteriness. Cut out soft drinks, sweets and junk food.
- Acid forming foods – These foods drop magnesium levels. Indulge in acid forming foods with discretion: Red wine, soft drinks, red meat, ice cream, white flour.
Mental health is not an easy road, but you don’t have to suffer silently, with more recognition and attention being given by society there are many helpful resources.
I decided to take control of my life, I now have a dedicated yoga practice, run twice a week and attend a weekly meditation class. My participation in these activities has led to healthy eating habits, mental awareness and a decrease in my alcohol intake. While doing any of these activities; remember to be mindful, including mindful eating. I resist the urge to blare my IPOD and compile to do lists while I run, instead I focus on being fully present.
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” ~ Amit Ray
Photo Credit for Featured Image at top of post