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Anxiety – What can a good diet do?

Imagine today you’re going shopping, to school, work, the movie theatre, or to catch up for a drink with a friend.  Life’s good!  Yet the very next day you wake up with unexpected anxiety. No rhyme, no reason, just a big fat feeling of crapola!   

Many of you are still shocked by what Rona is causing to the whole country, some states more than others. We’re not used to staying or working under the stay-at-home rules. But here we are, in a different world, being asked to completely change our familiar habits and routines.

With so many things happening at the moment, it’s pretty common for someone who has anxiety to also suffer from depression, and vice versa. Symptoms vary, and some people only experience them now and then. However, someone who experiences symptoms for six months or longer may have a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). These feelings can make you feel pretty ordinary, and trying to cope with anxiety can feel like a pretty massive challenge. 

How Exactly Does a “Good Diet” Relieve Anxiety

questionWhen someone is experiencing anxiety, they’re often treated with specific therapies and medications. But the right diet and a few lifestyle changes can often bring very noticeable changes. According to Wilson, “Research suggests that mood disorders have a lot to do with your lifestyle choices and what you eat. This means that the ‘fix’ for anxiety might be not only medication and therapy but also a few sensible dietary changes.”

The right choice of food can be a powerful tool for people dealing with depression and anxiety. Focus on eating whole foods, and lowering or eliminating the amount of processed foods, including sugar and snack foods, can make a massive difference. This can have a direct effect on the production of neurotransmitters and brain chemistry that can increase or lessen anxiety-related behaviors. 

In addition to a good diet, other healthy guidelines include strategies such as moving or doing exercise, meditation, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine, can help to relieve anxiety. Follow these healthy tips and rules below to help people wash away stress and anxiety. Are you ready? Let’s do it!

A Good Diet Keeps Anxiety Away

  1. Include some protein. According to integrative doctor adelaide, to keep your blood sugar steady so that you have more energy as you start your day, it’s recommended to add protein to your breakfast. You could add protein powder to your milk to use on muesli, or add some nuts and seeds instead.  Or else go for eggs, mushroom, and avocado.
  2. Drink plenty of water. Drinking plenty of water helps you to avoid dehydration. It’s recommended to have eight glasses of water per day because even mild dehydration can affect one’s mood, contributing to anxiety.  A tip for you, times your weight by 28ml to get your personal requirement (65kg x 28ml = 1820ml per day).  More on hot days, less on cold ones.
  3. Limit or avoid alcohol. People often use alcohol as a way to relieve stress. On the contrary, alcohol use can lead to anxiety by depleting nutrients like Zinc, B12, and folate, which are all needed to make serotonin and dopamine.  I’ve picked this up on countless occasions with patients.
  4. Limit or avoid caffeine. For those people who are used to starting the day with a cup of coffee, it is advisable to limit your caffeine intake. Why? Although it helps you stay awake and alert, caffeine is one of the most common things that trigger anxiety disorder. You know what…. It’s actually OK to feel tired!!  The more you accept what your body is telling you, the more you’re able to provide it with what it needs.  It doesn’t need a stimulant, it needs rest!
  5. happy woman mixing bowl with saladTry to eat healthy, balanced meals. Eating balanced and healthy foods is an essential supplement for overall physical and mental health. Nutrients we get from eating healthy foods can help improve blood flow and brain functioning.  Focus on whole foods. Avoid processed ingredients and packaged foods. 
  6. Exercise. Staying in bed and wallowing for the whole day, not doing anything or moving much, contributes to anxiety. Exercise (i prefer to call it “movement”) helps to improve mood, enhance self-esteem, and increase energy levels. Accordingly, it alleviates symptoms associated with panic and anxiety.

7.Eight hours of quality sleep every night. Healthy sleep is fundamental to good mental health and helps reduce the chance of experiencing anxiety. Aim for a minimum of 7-8 hours of quality restful sleep each night. Set a regular “in bed time”, and a regular lights off” time.  Be as regimented with your sleep as you possibly can.

Does the Anti-Anxiety Diet Work?

Creating a healthy diet plan can contribute to your general mood or sense of well-being, but it’s not always a substitute for treatment. If you think you’re feeling symptoms of anxiety, you can also consider counseling (psychotherapy), coaching, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, or breathwork and other treatments.  Medications are sometimes an option for certain individuals, though will not get to the root of the cause.

To get more information about how a proper diet can make a difference to anxiety, contact a functional medicine practitioner or a nutritional medicine specialist in Adelaide!