The Anxiety Diet: How Your Diet Can Impact Your Anxiety & Stress Levels
The feeling of anxiety is a fairly natural emotion. It is bound to affect everyone at some point in their lives. Whether it’s anxiety right before addressing a large audience, or anxiety while meeting new people in a grand social event, it is a completely normal state of mind. However, the feeling of anxiety can prove to be unnaturally overwhelming for some people; and if you feel like you’re one of those people, that is nothing to be ashamed about.
In fact, millions of people all over the world suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. Some are more serious than others, but all of them need to be approached with the utmost care and consideration.
Most people tend to believe that anxiety is like a sickness that can be easily cured with a few prescription pills. Although there are a number of medications you can take to help ease your anxiety, they usually are not a long term solution to your problem.
Conquering anxiety is much more like kicking a bad habit than it is curing the common cold. It requires constant perseverance, as well as a change of lifestyle and mentality. In truth, it’s about changing the way you act, the way you think, and even the way you eat.
Various researchers and nutritionists have discovered that our dietary lifestyle has a lot to do with how anxious we feel, and how often we feel it. People tend to forget that the consumption of food has a lot to do with the chemical processes that our bodies undergo every day. The chemicals that we put through our mouths affect not only our bodies, but our minds as well.
In essence, getting rid of your anxiety producing diet can help you ease the effects of anxiety.
But what is the right diet for anxiety? And how exactly does diet affect our anxiety levels? Read More
A Crash Course of Foods to Avoid
Like any diet, there are foods to eat and there are foods to avoid. Unfortunately, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. The foods to avoid are the ones that release chemicals into our blood stream that cause us to feel more anxious and agitated. The foods we need to eat, on the other hand, are the kinds that help balance us out and relax.
Remember, what we eat is essentially what we stuff in our body. If we stuff in garbage into our system, it only follows that we’ll end up feeling like garbage. Diet and anxiety is a pair that needs to take each other very seriously, especially since one heavily influences the other.
Here’s a quick list of the various foods to avoid to make sure your anxiety diet is kept in check:
- Fried foods are difficult to digest and not very nutritious. Although they may taste great to most people, the long term side-effects of eating huge quantities of fried foods can only help to increase your anxiety levels.
- Dairy products such as butter, milk and creams are good for you in a moderated amount. But unfortunately, when taken in large quantities they can easily send your adrenaline levels through the roof and aggravate your anxious state.
- Sugary foods such as candy, syrups, honeys and chocolates may seem like the ultimate stress-reliever for those with a sweet tooth, but if you’re suffering from anxiety or panic disorders, these foods will just add to your anxiety. Although they give you a temporary high from the sugar rush, the resulting crash can leave you depressed, melancholic and anxious.
- Acid forming foods such as yogurt, pickles, eggs and sour cream (including the dairy and fried foods mentioned earlier) are all made to lessen the magnesium levels in your body; a chemical responsible for making you feel tense and edgy.
Unfortunately, that’s not all the dishes you need to avoid, listed below are some of the more important foods to avoid, especially if you what to keep your anxiety in check:
More Foods to Avoid: Caffeine
Having the right kind of diet will not only lessen the amount of anxiety you feel on a daily basis, it will also allow you to help manage your anxiety levels more easily.
The first thing you should avoid is caffeine. Whether it’s in coffee, energy drinks or carbonated sodas caffeine is one of the major ingredients to an anxious lifestyle. Caffeine naturally boosts your blood pressure and causes hearts palpitation. It also can cause a sense of hyperactivity as well as uncontrollable shaking and trembling of hands. Since caffeine gives you a boost of energy, the anxiety is generated from a powerful restlessness or need to burn this energy off. Another source of anxiety is the fact that caffeine inhibits the chemicals that cause us to calm down.
Researchers have reported that sufferers of anxiety find themselves more anxious after having their daily fix of caffeine. It is common to experience a drop of anxiety levels as soon as caffeine is lessened or (better yet) completely eliminated from your diet altogether.
More Foods to Avoid: Alcohol
An anxiety diet is also one that consumes a lot of alcoholic beverages. Doctors and medical specialists have always recommended that alcohol should only be taken in moderation, and this should be even more apparent for those suffering from anxiety or panic disorders.
Alcohol has been known to affect the quality of your sleep, making you feel tired, exhausted and anxious in the morning. Although alcohol can be used as a sedative, it also has the potential to provoke depressive and melancholic states. These states are counterproductive when trying to treat anxiety; and in the end, encourage it.
It’s normal for sufferers of anxiety disorder to turn to alcohol in an attempt to “escape” from their anxiety. Unfortunately, the chance for alcohol dependency coupled with its potentially destructive characteristics make alcohol a potentially deadly concoction when mixed with anxiety.
It is highly recommended that alcohol intake be kept to a minimum, or if possible, eliminated completely from your diet.
A Crash Course of Foods to Eat
Fortunately, getting rid of your anxiety diet doesn’t mean that you have to leave yourself starving. There is still a countless number of great tasting meals that you can indulge in while keeping your anxiety at bay.
- Fresh fruit is both delicious and nutritious, and to top it all off it’s great when you need to eat something on the go with little to no preparation. Lots of fruits have detoxifiers that help you get rid of various chemicals that keep you tense and anxious. On top of that, they are packed with fibers and vitamins to keep you healthy and raring to go.
- Water does seem like a no-brainer, but most people tend to forget how important H2O is in our lives. Constant hydration is very important in keeping your body flushed of toxins and re-energized. Drinking water is not the same as drinking your favorite sweetened and carbonated beverages. Stick to the real thing and you’ll be the better for it.
- Tryptophan rich foods such as turkey, chicken, oats and soy contain amino acids that help you relax while boosting your metabolism and sleep patterns. Tryptophan is a precursor to the chemical serotonin which helps calm your mind even during the most stressful of moments.
- Omega-3 fatty acids in foods such as a walnuts, flax seeds and sea foods such as salmon and shrimp go a long way in relieving stress and reducing anxiety. Researchers have reported that individuals who feel depressed and stressed are usually lacking these foods.
But the list doesn’t end there; check out more foods below and which ones you should be bringing to the dining table more often:
More Foods to Eat: Complex Carbohydrates
One particular group of foods that will help you curb your anxiety are complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates include foods such as potatoes, pasta, cereal, rice, nuts and corn.
Carbohydrates, especially the complex kind, release chemicals such as serotonin that aid in comforting and relaxing your body. Complex carbohydrates also help in keeping blood sugar levels up so you have enough energy to get through your day without feeling drowsy and woozy.
However, if you do feel any of these things, it might be because you’ve “crashed” from too much of a good thing. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a lot of complex carbohydrates are lumped among the dishes that are categorized as “comfort foods”. These are primarily the dishes that make us feel happy and satisfied after consumption.
Bear in mind however, that complex carbohydrates are particularly unhealthy for those prone to or who suffer from diabetes. Since complex carbohydrates are designed to raise your blood sugar level, these foods are not recommended for those who need to keep their blood sugar low, and regulated.
More Foods to Eat: Vegetables
It may sound a cliché, but fruits and vegetables really are good for you. Just like fruits, vegetables are high in nutrition while being able to deliver quite a wallop in terms of fiber. This helps you detoxify your body and can keep the chemicals in your body clean and balanced. On top of that, foods such as tofu, whole grain meals and black beans can act as a powerful muscle relaxant that help you feel energized yet calm at the same time.
Remember, keeping your diet in check may seem harder than it looks, but getting rid of your anxiety producing diet should be your first step to an anxiety free life.