Nutrition for Anxiety is a great way to take control of your symptoms more effectively. In the below blog we will mention top nutrition for anxiety and lifestyle tips to develop your own anxiety reduction plan.
What causes anxiety?
Anxiety is the feelings we have when we are worried, tense or afraid. Especially about things which are about to happen. Anxiety is a normal response to stress that helps to avoid situations that threaten our sense of security. The perception of threat will engage our fight or flight response (sympathetic nervous system) and will enable us to react quickly to life threatening situations. It will cause physiological and hormonal changes to help fight or flight to safety. Whilst this is a normal response, modern lifestyles involve constant stresses which cause over activation of our sympathetic nervous system. This can lead to an inappropriate response to our daily stressors causing anxiety syndrome instead. Other factors which can cause anxiety are impaired physiological reactions and hormonal imbalances.
Women are twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder as men. The greatest age of onset is between 10 and 25. Not having social connections to share problems and issues. Moreover experiencing a traumatic event can contribute towards anxiety. People will anxiety disorders are at an increased risk of developing medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiac ischemia and obesity.
What anxiety can do to your body?
Anxiety can cause difficulty concentrating, irritability and tense muscles. It can disrupt your sleeping patterns and difficulty overcoming worries. In more severe cases it can cause heart palpitations, chest pain or accelerated heart rate. Moreover, sweating, trembling and shaking. Furthermore, shortness of breath, dizziness and headaches. You could experience nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal distress and fainting. Panic attacks, compulsive behaviour and dread of social interactions.
What foods trigger anxiety?
When struggling with anxiety food can often become a coping mechanism. You can turn to food for comfort or avoid food so your food relationship can become unbalanced. Any foods that will stimulate your fight or flight response are best to avoid eating. Therefore avoid caffeine as it is a stimulant which means it will give you a quick burst of energy, but then it will make you feel anxious and disrupt your sleep. Avoid alcohol and smoking as these will deplete your vitamin B levels which are important for brain function. Avoid fruit juice and all energy or fizzy drinks as they contain aspartame and sugars which disrupt the blood sugar levels and cause anxiety. Furthermore avoid processed foods as they are high in sugar and contain harmful gut bacteria. Poor gut health has been linked to anxiety so having a plan to proliferate good bacteria is all important.
Nutrition for Anxiety
Top nutrition tips are to eat regularly to maintain constant blood sugar levels. Blood sugar drops will make you feel tired, irritable and anxious. Eating regularly and choosing slow release energy foods will help to keep your sugar levels steady. Instead of bigger lunch and dinner try to eat smaller poritions spaced out more regularly. Consume 7 portions of vegetables and 2 fruit per day as they contain minerals, vitamins and fibre we need to keep mentally alert. Expose your skin to sunlight for 20 minutes per day to increase Vitamin D levels which can decrease anxious behaviour.
Nutrition for Anxiety – Foods that Help with Anxiety
Eat more dark, leafy greens like spinach, watercress, dandelion, bok choy and swiss chard as they are rich in magnesium helps with brain function. Consume sunflower seeds, fish and eggs, beans and walnuts, asparagus, almonds, whole grains and liver as there all contain B vitamins which are good for brain function and calming anxiety levels. Furthermore poultry, meat, dark chocolate and buckwheat contain tryptophan which is a precursor to serotonin (happy hormone) which can help improve your mood and sleep. Oily fish is an great source of omega 3 fatty acids as well as walnuts, chia or flaxseeds, which are all beneficial for brain health.
Nutrition for Anxiety – Foods that Help with Anxiety
Eat plenty of gut friendly foods like fermented foods which are rich in probiotics able to moderate the connection between gut and the brain. Increase protein (animal or plant based) as these help you to feel fuller for longer which will help avoid the temptation of unhealthy snacking. Moreover eat healthy fats such as oily fish, poultry, nuts, seeds and avocados as your brain needs fatty acids for healthy functioning. Increase water consumpation to 8 glasses per day (2 litres) little and often. If you are dehydrated this can cause headaches, constipated which won’t help with your mood.
Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Anxiety Levels
Whilst it is important to look at nutrition is it also worth addressing lifestyle factors to reduce your anxiety. Increasing exercise and encouraging healthy sleep patterns. Moreover listening to relaxing music and relaxation techniques are all useful factors to consider. Having a good social support, intellectual stimulation and sleeping patterns will be beneficial. In addition, many patients also experience physical symptoms related to anxiety so considering osteopathy or sports massage as part of a total anxiety reduction programme would be worthwhile.
Anxiety and Talking Therapy
Talking therapy will help you understand your thought patterns and recognise your triggers. Write down a list of your triggers to understand what aggravates your anxiety. Understand your anxiety responses, do you experience headaches, feel irritable and have muscular tensions. Furthermore do you have digestive issues and put on weight with comfort eating. Write down things you can and cannot control. For the things you cannot control cross them off the list as there is no point worrying about them. Focus your energy on things you can control. When we are anxious, we can get caught up in unrealistic thoughts that amplify the issue. Therefore make a list of your unrealistic thoughts that in retrospect are simply not true. You then have the ability to change your thoughts to become realistic. There are plenty of resources and support groups with MIND.
Can Pilates Help to Reduce Anxiety Levels
Pilates is a good form of low impact exercise focussed on muscular stretching and strengthening. It helps to concentrate on the mind body connection through challenging but calming exercises. Pilates improves your mood as physical activity causes endorphins to be released and causes a positive feeling in the body. Furthermore, Pilates you will focus your attention on flowing movements and your breath for a hour which is calming and therapeutic. Pilates can make you more present and therefore help you manage your anxiety more effectively. Moreover you will leave sessions feeling less stressed and energised. Activity can enhance wellbeing through a better sense of self-confidence and the ability to take up a challenge. Pilates classes are a great exercise to include as part of your anxiety reduction plan. Interested? Book a Pilates consultation now.
Can Osteopathy Help to Reduce Anxiety Levels
Seeing an Osteopath should be a therapeutic calming experience by telling them your worries. Then receiving hands on treatment for your muscular tensions. An Osteopath will articulate the joints of the spine where the autonomic nervous system emerges which should feel relaxing. Moreover they will address you muscular tensions through gentle muscular stretching. An Osteopath will encourage diaphragm breathing through lower rib stretches, joint manipulations and go through breathing exercises. Furthermore calming you and your nervous system down should have a positive effect with your digestion. An Osteopath will give home based stretching and strengthening exercises to help manage the physical effects of anxiety. To learn more about how you can reduce your anxiety, book an Osteopath consultation now. With us at the Wellthy Clinic
MIND (2020) Anxiety and panic attacks https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/anxiety-and-panic-attacks/about-anxiety/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlpu4k9H76AIVh-3tCh3KowtSEAAYAiAAEgJogvD_BwE