HOW YOUR DIET AFFECTS ANXIETY
Food and anxiety help the body regulate mood. If you’re anxious, you may choose food and beverages you believe make you feel good. But not all food is created equal when fighting anxiety symptoms, and sometimes you need other help.
WHAT IS ANXIETY?
“Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. It can be a normal reaction to stress. For example, you might feel anxious when faced with a difficult problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision.”
American adults are the prime demographic for anxiety, but it also affects children with symptoms starting before age 21.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Symptoms fluctuate depending on the kind of anxiety disorder you experience. Common symptoms of an anxiety disorder may include physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms.
- Cold or sticky hands
- Dry mouth
- Heart tremors
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- Muscle tension
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling panic, worry, and uneasiness
- Recurrent thoughts or flashbacks of bad experiences
- Frenzied, obsessive thoughts
- Failure to be calm and still
- Ritualistic behaviors, like washing your hands continually
- Problems sleeping
WHAT CAUSES ANXIETY?
The triggers of anxiety aren’t entirely known. Life experiences which may include trauma seem to launch anxiety disorders in people who may be susceptible to anxiety. Inherited traits could also be a factor.
There could be medical causes:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory problems
But anxiety can also result from an underlying medical condition if you don’t have blood relatives with anxiety, have never had it before, and don’t avoid things that could trigger symptoms.
HOW YOUR DIET AFFECTS ANXIETY
If you’re looking for food that may help control anxiety symptoms, you’re not alone. You may be one of 40 million U.S. adults on the same quest. Some research indicates that certain foods soothe moods and make you feel calmer, while other foods do just the opposite, at least in the short term. If you have stress that ends in anxiety or panic attacks, dietary modifications may relieve anxiety symptoms.
A prominent precursor to anxiety is stress, which revolves around the constant demands and pressures we all experience daily. Stress can be chemical, emotional, mental, or physical in its composition. Nearly anything you encounter can result in stress, which is why doctors, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals tout the benefits of making good food choices to fight stress and anxiety.
Here are some tips to fight anxiety:
- Diminished blood sugar, inadequate hydration, using alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco can also trigger or imitate anxiety symptoms.
- Eating regularly and avoiding hypoglycemic states are very important. Avoid sugar, both real and artificial forms.
- For the best hydration, plain spring water is best, and you should enjoy six to eight glasses daily.
- Nicotine doesn’t trigger or cause anxiety, but its withdrawal can mimic the symptoms, and people with anxiety sometimes soothe themselves with a smoke. Nicotine use can lead to higher blood pressure and heart rate, both symptomatic of anxiety and precursors to even more severe health conditions.
- If someone experiences anxiety, it’s not unheard of to use alcohol as a crutch to calm their nerves. Still, heavy drinking is problematic in its own right, with unique emotional and physical issues.
What should you add to your meal choices?
- Follow a healthy and well-balanced meal plan, such as the Mediterranean diet
- Reduce sugary and processed foods to control symptoms of anxiety
- Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol, and eschew cigarettes
- Try zinc-rich foods (broccoli, kale, legumes, nuts, oysters, and whole grains)
- Your diet should include magnesium-rich foods: avocado, dark leafy greens, and fish
- Asparagus, avocado, leafy greens, and meat are rich in vitamin B
- Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids are a good choice
- Consume more probiotic-rich foods (fermented foods like kefir and yogurt)
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
Controlling anxiety symptoms typically begin with a medical exam or psychiatric assessment to ensure there isn’t a physical problem triggering the condition and assess your personal and family history of possible mental illness. Beyond that, your healthcare provider will use several tools to aid in the diagnosis, like blood tests, diagnostic procedures, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Popular treatment options include psychotherapy and ketamine infusion therapy.
If you’re suffering from anxiety, there are many things you can do to minimize symptoms, including psychotherapy and certain medicines. Your healthcare provider may also recommend lifestyle changes, with one of the most effective being consuming healthy meals daily.
Ketamine infusion therapy is one promising option. Call us today to learn more about this innovative new treatment option.