The food that we eat does not only provide us the essential nutrients necessary for growth, nourishment, and survival. They also have an impact on the treatment of diseases and the prevention of certain illnesses. Just recently, scientists have established that food intake and the type of food we eat have a direct effect on how our brain functions. This study was particularly relevant to anxiety disorders.
For those who chose the natural way to combat anxiety, this article will be helpful in selecting the right kind of foods to eat and avoid. Below are the most common foods recommended by experts.
The healthy fat
Staci Lee Schnell, MS, CS, LMFT mentions in here blog “Depression rates are higher among those with a Vitamin D deficiency. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna have the most naturally occurring Vitamin D.” Omega-3 fatty acids are mostly found in fish like salmon and tuna. It has gained wide recognition mainly because of its ability to lower down cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Other benefits of omega 3 oils are linked to increasing the happy hormones in our body. By adding food intake that is rich in Omega-3, our brain cells are protected from inflammation and deterioration that can affect the release of neurochemicals responsible for our moods and behaviors.
Aside from being the universal solvent, water is indisputably an important consideration needed by every living organism. It offers a refreshing taste and hydrates the cells in our body. Our brain is the first organ to sense that we need water. The moment we are thirsty, this is already a critical indication that we need to replenish and drink. Take note – it should be water and not sugared juices or energy drinks.
Coffee and caffeine
Caffeine is a well-known stimulant. Because of its ability to increase energy and to heighten one’s senses, this is contraindicated for persons with anxiety disorders. It’s like adding insult to an injury. Persons with anxiety disorders are already suffering from uncontrollable symptoms ranging from nervousness, narrowed perception, increased vital signs, and panic attacks. When taken, coffee can lead to symptoms of worrying like nervousness, sweating, and shaking. Better avoid drinking this even the decaffeinated ones, because of its detrimental effects.
Sweets and processed food
Too much sugar does not really provide that “sugar rush” concept that we all know. In fact, eating too many sweets and refined carbohydrates can only cause a spike in blood sugar followed by a sudden drop. In another study, it showed that women are more prone to develop mood and anxiety disorders because they are fond of eating sweets and chocolates. “In the case of dark chocolate, it was particularly powerful. People consuming dark chocolate reduced the risk of depression or had a 70% lower risk of looking depressed on the scales that they used,” says Scott Bea, PsyD.
Alcohol is a depressant. A bottle or two can make you feel relaxed and it eases body tension, thus the need to drink more. But the real effect can be felt after several bottles have been consumed. Alcohol causes spikes and dips in blood sugar. It dehydrates you and causes impaired brain function—all of which can lead to anxious feelings, which then will make you want to drink more. Dr. Howard Samuels once said, “There is a fine line which makes distinguishing alcohol abuse from alcoholism.” This is creating a vicious cycle.
Vegetables and fruits are loaded with antioxidants that are beneficial to control anxiety. The means of how antioxidants contribute to helping people with anxiety is that it protects the brain from undergoing oxidative stress which can result in inflammation of the brain cells.
Milk contains an amino acid called “tryptophan” that helps produce serotonin. As you may know this already, serotonin is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating mood and sleep patterns. Now you know why we drink warm milk before going to sleep since it can really make you feel drowsy.