Anxiety causes stress that depletes the body of its stores of nutrients. Our diet can compound the problem and actually increase anxiety.
Certain foods and substances tend to create additional stress and anxiety, while others promote a calmer and steadier mood. Some natural substances have a direct calming effect and others are known to have an antidepressant effect.
Caffeine is something many people in America and Europe are used to bringing in their daily lives. Though many studies have shown that this addictive stimulant can help produce symptoms of anxiety, insomnia and the like.
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, many sodas and even certain medications. Always ask your doctor about a medication before using it. Also, ask the doctor if there is an alternative medication if your medicine contains caffeine.
Coffee, tea, alcohol, and coke stimulate an adrenal response in your body, which can provoke anxiety, nervousness and insomnia to name a few side effects. They also deplete the body of necessary vitamins and minerals that help balance our mood and nervous system. Recommended dosage – less than 100mg per day (one cup of percolated coffee or two diet cola beverages per day. Less than 50mg per day is preferable.
Nicotine is as strong as caffeine and stimulates increased physiological arousal, vasoconstriction and makes your heart work harder. Smokers tend to be more anxious than non-smokers and tend to sleep less well than non-smokers.
Stimulant drugs can also cause anxiety. Beware of prescription drugs that contain caffeine and amphetamines, and recreational drugs such as cocaine that increase levels of anxiety and panic attacks in people using them.
Be aware to check for food allergies as they can be one of the main causes of many emotional problems.
Food to eat to reduce anxiety and maintain calm state:
- Wholegrain cereals
- Wheat germ
- Brewers yeast
- Paw paw
- Stone fruit
Salt depletes the body of potassium, a mineral important to the proper functioning of the nervous system. Salt raises blood pressure that in turn puts a strain on the heart and arteries and hastens arteriolosclerosis. Recommended dosage – do not excess 1gm of salt per day.
Reduce Your Sugar Intake
When you have anxiety, sugar is an enemy – especially if taken in high amount. Too much sugar can rob our body of essential nutrients. Yet don’t be so fast as to replace the sugar with artificial sweeteners, they too can cause anxiety as well as other health concerns.
There are over 5,000 chemical additives in commercial food processing. Our bodies are not equipped to handle these, and little is known about long term biological effects. Try and eat whole unprocessed foods as much as possible. Try to purchase vegetables and fruit that haven’t been treated with pesticides (organically grown).
Hormones in Meat
Most commercially forms of meat have been fed hormones to promote fast weight gain and growth. One hormone diethylstilbestrol (DES) has been implicated in the development of breast cancer and fibroid tumors. Try to replace red meat, pork and poultry with organically raised beef, poultry and fish such as cod, salmon, snapper, sole, trout.
Sweet and Refined Foods
Reduce intake of sweet refined foods as these affect the blood sugar that can lead to anxiety and mood swings while also affecting how the brain functions.
Drink Soda Water
Soda water increases the levels of carbon dioxide that helps the body to become balanced when someone is hyperventilating. Soda water also decreases smooth muscle contractions and dilates blood vessels, which allows blood to flow easily around the body.