Anxiety & Nutrition : Food for thought? – Anxiety Blog
Food for thought?
Lots of us look for comfort food when we are feeling low, disconnected or depressed. I personally find myself going for comfort food it releases dopamine and usually makes me feel better (temporarily). Interestingly food is also go-to when we are feeling good. I always find myself making excuses: Birthday parties, Halloween treats and Christmas dinners to name a few. It is difficult to get into a good practice of eating clean and healthy. It is commonly known that a poor diet can cause the symptoms of anxiety to increase. These may include light-headedness, headaches, digestive problems, faintness, jelly legs, headaches and feeling panicky. Often associated with low blood pressure. I have done a bit of research into diet and how it can affect our mentality:
Carbohydrates increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. If carbs are you’re go-to, lean towards complex carbs such as whole grain bread and rice, these release energy into the body slowly. When we go for our sugar fixes in sweets, candy or white bread and rice it hits your body fast and causes a rush of insulin which rapidly drops blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling fatigued and lethargic.
Vitamins & supplements
A lack of B vitamins such as B12 and folic acid can cause depression in some cases. Supplements or food that are rich in B vitamins can help ward off anxiety. These are found in beef, chicken, leafy vegetables and citrus fruits.
Good Fats & Bad Fats
There is evidence that consuming omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) can be uplifting and mood enhancing. It’s found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, herring, mackerel anchovies and sardines. Studies have shown that people who took omega-3 fatty acids along with their prescription antidepressants improved more than those on antidepressants alone. Omega-3 fatty acids can also reduce the risk of heart disease – bonus. Research has shown that people who eat high-fat dairy products, fried food, processed meats and sweetened desserts had a 58% higher chance risk of depression. Stick to the whole foods such as fish and vegetables.
Protein helps with the production of brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine which are neurotransmitters which carry impulses between nerve cells. High levels of these chemicals can improve alertness, energy, and reaction time. Protein found in fish, meats, cheese, eggs, nuts, beans, soy and lentils.
Things to avoid
People regularly consume coffee and other beverages to feel more alert and awake during the day. Despite that caffeine inhibits serotonin levels in the brain. When serotonin is low it can cause irritability and depression. Energy drinks, tea, coffee, and even hot chocolate contain caffeine. It is a stimulant and can keep you awake which leads to stress and anxiety. Regular sleep promotes a good mood. Caffeine is also a diuretic which will cause you to urinate more, this can lead to dehydration – which also can cause depression. Alcohol is also a no-go. Alcohol can seem to ease anxiety and stress in the short-term. In the long-term its a depressant like caffeine and also a diuretic. Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol and keep hydrated.
I hope that this post has offered some insight or gives you more thought on what you’re putting into your body. This shows that mind and body are more connected than I thought.
Thank you for reading!
Peace out folks!
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