Dealing with anxiety can be an uphill task. The frequent brooding, stress, a sense of dread, fear, and dizziness are often the warning signs of anxiety. Statistics state that, globally, 1 in every 4 individuals experiences some form of anxiety. Managing anxiety requires a change in lifestyle, diet, and a positive approach towards overcoming it.
What Causes Anxiety
If you have an important exam or a meeting, it’s normal to feel anxious about your performance. Most us often experience anxiety due to work or school-related stress, financial stress, or a rough patch in a relationship. Sudden physical or emotional trauma, such as the death of a loved one, is also a major contributor to anxiety. In certain cases, drug abuse or overdose can result in anxiousness.
However, if you have been experiencing anxiety for several months on an everyday basis, and are unable to carry on daily activities, you could be affected by anxiety disorders. These disorders are psychological, and could require therapy.
What To Eat:
The magnesium contained in green vegetables such as spinach, has properties that reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Spinach helps regulate the nervous system, and reduces irritability.1
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acid, which is known to safely reduce anxiety. According to studies, the ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids lowers the anxiety and stress levels by a significant amount.2
3. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate, a probiotic food, has protective effects against anxiety. Individuals who are genetically predisposed to social anxiety can benefit greatly by consuming probiotics. Other kinds of food rich in probiotics include pickles, yogurt, tempeh, and sauerkraut.3
Cashews contain healthy amounts of zinc, which is known to reduce anxiety. Zinc is an element commonly used in therapeutic drugs to effectively treat several psychological disorders. Other sources of zinc are oysters, egg yolk and beef.[/ref]Torabi, Mozhgan, Mahnaz Kesmati, Hooman Eshagh Harooni, and Hosein Najafzadeh Varzi. “Effects of nano and conventional Zinc Oxide on anxiety-like behavior in male rats.” Indian journal of pharmacology 45, no. 5 (2013): 508.[/ref]
With its anxiolytic properties, asparagus is known to inhibit anxiety. Asparagus root, in particular, has proven effects in reducing symptoms of anxiety. The medicinal plant is also used in traditional medicine in treating anxiety disorders.4
What Not To Eat
1. Processed Food
Processed food is a strict no-no if you are facing anxiety. The refined flour and artificial sweeteners used in processed foods, such as hot dogs and instant noodles, tend to affect the nervous system, and cause mood disorders. Always opt for organic food, if you have the choice to.
A stimulant and psychoactive drug, caffeine can make you feel nervous, nauseous, light headed, jittery, and anxious! Even if you’re not fighting anxiety disorders and are only mildly anxious, it is beneficial to replace your morning coffee with herbal tea or home-made fruit juices.
Alcohol is a depressant, and is known to cause hypersensitivity. A toxin that can hamper the functioning of the brain, alcohol can heighten symptoms of anxiety, making you feel depressed. While a glass of wine may not make you anxious, a night of mindless drinking will, and is better avoided.
4. Fried Food
Fried food is often cooked with hydrogenated oil, which is harmful to the body. If consumed on a regular basis, it can gradually increase your blood sugar levels, and can trigger anxiety-like responses. The next time you eat out, skip the french fries, and go for baked goodies instead.
If you’re suffering from anxiety, eating food that contains gluten can increase your symptoms. To avoid consuming gluten, replace your bread and wheat products with whole grain alternatives.
How To Overcome Anxiety
- Practice deep breathing exercises when you are presented with a situation that could trigger fear and anxiety.
- Meditate regularly, and perform yoga.
- Keep your body active, as anxiety can worsen with lethargy.
- Talk to your friends and family, and seek emotional support.
- Approach any situation in a positive manner, and know that you will do just fine.
- Keep your diet and lifestyle in check.
- If you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, consider therapy.
Keeping your diet and lifestyle in check can significantly reduce anxiety. If your symptoms are too intense, ask for help – from friends, family, or a therapist.
|↑1||Sartori, S. B., N. Whittle, A. Hetzenauer, and N. Singewald. “Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: modulation by therapeutic drug treatment.” Neuropharmacology 62, no. 1 (2012): 304-312.|
|↑2||Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K., Martha A. Belury, Rebecca Andridge, William B. Malarkey, and Ronald Glaser. “Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: a randomized controlled trial.” Brain, behavior, and immunity 25, no. 8 (2011): 1725-1734.|
|↑3||Hilimire, Matthew R., Jordan E. DeVylder, and Catherine A. Forestell. “Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: An interaction model.” Psychiatry research 228, no. 2 (2015): 203-208.|
|↑4||Cheng, Long, Guo-feng Pan, Xiao-bo Sun, Yun-xiang Huang, You-shun Peng, and Lin-yan Zhou. “Evaluation of anxiolytic-like effect of aqueous extract of asparagus stem in mice.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).|