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Nutritional strategies to alleviate anxiety

Nutritional strategies to alleviate anxiety

October 18 | By TATH Team

With the increased demands that individuals face on a daily basis, it comes as no surprise that anxiety and anxiety-related disorders are becoming more prevalent. Anxiety can take on many forms and might include excessive worrying about a career, relationships, financial obligations, health, or overall responsibilities. In severe cases, anxiety can become debilitating and interfere with a person’s ability to live a normal life or complete ordinary tasks.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. That’s 40 million adults — 19.1 percent of the population — who struggle with anxiety. Anxiety can be effectively managed through traditional approaches, such as medication, mindfulness and relaxation techniques, and psychotherapy. Recently, the researchers have also come up with certain food choices that can help alleviate anxiety.

Connection between food and mood

Perhaps a lesser-known way of coping with and managing anxiety is through nutrition and properly nourishing the body. Eating a diet that provides essential nutrients helps keep the body balanced and enhances overall physical wellbeing. A poor diet can result in nutritional deficiencies, which can contribute to a decreased ability to regulate mood, low energy, and increased risk of developing sickness. In conjunction with other conventional approaches, dietary regulation can be a natural way to reduce and control anxiety episodes.

Many specific nutrients are connected with energy production and mood control. For example, B vitamins, are known to enhance energy while steadying the nervous system. These are found in many foods, including green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, eggs, and citrus foods. Other essential elements that can help alleviate anxiety are fatty acids. These healthy fats help balance mood and decrease depression and anxiety. Excellent food sources of essential fatty acids include salmon, flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, and tuna.

Having a healthier diet can begin with making small changes, such as increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables, eating a variety of whole grains, cooking more meals at home, and eating regular and consistent amounts of food throughout the day. Reducing the intake of caffeine, processed foods, and refined sugars can also be important towards improving diet, mood, and overall health.

Things like fried foods, high glycemic carbs, sugar and alcoholic beverages can play an important role in aggravating anxiety. Having a lot of these food items can stir anxiety levels. It is better to avoid such foods. For instance, somebody having panic attacks should avoid coffee because it can increase the heart rate and may trigger an attack.

Foods that can help alleviate anxiety

Though understanding how different foods affect the mind and the body is important, studies have proved that consuming certain foods helps in fighting anxiety. Eating these healthy and beneficial food items can help cure anxiety. Here is a list of food items that benefit in anxiety:

  • Whole grain foods: Researches have shown that true whole grains can benefit those with anxiety problems. One of the reasons for anxiety is deficiency of magnesium and whole grain is rich in magnesium. It also contains tryptophan, which becomes serotonin – a calming neurotransmitter. Eating whole grain creates energy and reduces hunger pangs – factors relevant to anxiety.
  • Seaweed: This food is rich in magnesium and has all the nutrients as in whole grains. Seaweed is a healthy alternative to whole grains and contains a high amount of tryptophan. Hence, it is regarded as a credible anti-anxiety food for people. Seaweed can also be consumed by those who have an allergy to gluten.
  • Blueberries: These are a trove of nutrients that help in fighting anxiety. They are rich in vitamins and phytonutrients (plant nutrients), with a variety of antioxidants that help in easing anxiety. Peaches also belong to this category because of their sedating or calming effects. Eating a lot of these foods can help in coping with anxiety disorders.
  • Almonds: There is nothing new to add to the goodness of almonds, which are rich in zinc, a vital nutrient that helps in maintaining a balanced mood. Almonds are equally rich in iron and healthy fats, which are an integral part of a balanced diet. Low iron levels can cause brain fatigue. A deficiency of these can contribute to both anxiety and a lack of energy. Eating a lot of almonds is a way of replenishing oneself with these valuable nutrients to combat anxiety.
  • Chocolates: Though it may sound like an indulgence, having chocolates, especially the pure dark ones without added sugar or milk, is a great way to fight anxiety. It is a suggested food item for patients of anxiety and stress. Chocolate reduces cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for anxiety symptoms. They are also laden with compounds that improve mood.
  • Maca root: It may not be a regular food item in grocery stores, but maca root powder is available in many health food stores. This can be added to several foods and beverages to reap its benefits. The root is known to possess more phytonutrients than nearly every type of fruit and vegetable, including magnesium and iron. All these crucial nutrients are the key to controlling anxiety. Moreover, the root is also used to build healthy stamina and energy.

Tackling anxiety

Anxiety is a major public health problem and is more prevalent than people assume. If left untreated, it can exacerbate into bigger problems and other psychological disorders. Early intervention is the best solution.

If you or a loved one is battling mental health disorders or an anxiety disorder and is looking for a licensed anxiety treatment center, then get in touch with the Anxiety Treatment Help. Call our 24/7 helpline 866 487-5015 and speak to a member of our team. You can also chat online to a representative for more information on anxiety disorder treatment.

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