Topics covered in this blog:
- What is the cause of anxiety
- How our diet is connected
- Which foods and drinks make anxiety worse
- Which foods and drinks can actually help
What is the cause of anxiety?
It is difficult to pinpoint why people develop anxiety, though there does seem to be a strong genetic component. Some people actually inherit the tendency towards it from their parents, while others might develop it during childhood or later on in life due to traumatic or stressful life events. Sometimes it's a combination of both, but whatever the cause it can be a debilitating and difficult condition that often requires a combination of approaches in order to treat it effectively . Recent studies have shown that what we eat and drink can have a big impact on our anxiety levels, and since this is something that everyone can have control over we are going to explore it a little today.
How our diet is connected
As we're becoming more aware of these days, diet is something that affects not just the body but our mind too. When we are feeling tired in the morning, we drink a cup of coffee. This instantly makes us feel alert and ready for the day. However, a few cups too many and you’re fighting the shakes away! Coffee is a perfect example of something that actually causes anxiety when we have too much of it. Therefore, if you suffer from anxiety it’s recommended that you reduce your coffee consumption or even consider stopping it completely. You can also try decaf coffee, though be aware that this still contains a small amount of caffeine and sensitive individuals might still be negatively affected.
Which foods and drinks make anxiety worse?
There are many processed foods and drinks, such as Coca Cola, milk chocolate, biscuits, ice cream and alcohol that leave you feeling worse after you have them. In fact, anything sugary will make you feel more anxious, especially if consumed in large quantities.
Which foods and drinks can actually help?
Today I thought I’d share some tips with you to help you avoid feeling anxious after eating, because we can’t always rely on positive thinking or hypnotherapy to totally eliminate anxiety. In order to take complete control of our feelings and thoughts we have to take control of our eating and drinking habits too. Therefore, I have come up with a mental health trip recipe list of 10 amazing foods you can try that actually help reduce anxiety.
Take a close look and keep this in mind for when you’re next looking for a tasty snack. You want food to make you feel better, not worse!
Salmon is a type of fatty fish, just like trout, sardines and mackerel. Fatty fishes are packed full of omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA. They are extremely good for us. Not only do they promote a healthy heart, they also boost brain power and are good for memory and faster thinking processes. DHA also helps prevent feelings of anxiety. It's believed that Omega-3 helps reduce brain inflammation and prevents brain cell dysfunction, which is a common occurrence for people that suffer from anxiety and depression. A further nutrient that’s in salmon which is good for lowering your symptoms of anxiety is Vitamin D. This is the same vitamin that we get through the sun's rays. It helps the brain adapt to change better, which is often a common trigger for anxiety.
Egg yolk is another good source of Vitamin D. Eggs also promote healthy growth and development because they contain amino acids. One of the amino acids found in eggs, tryptophan, helps us create Serotonin, which is a chemical produced in our brain to help regulate memory, sleep, behaviour and mood. It is believed that the production of Serotonin is linked to positive thinking and brain activity. When we produce Serotonin we create a natural relaxant for ourselves to help relieve feelings of anxiety.
3. Yogurt & dairy
Yogurt and dairy products, like cheese and milk contain probiotics, which are a type of healthy bacteria. Recent studies have shown that these probiotics support healthy digestion, as well as mental well being. They reduce inflammation in the brain and increase the production of our mood-booster transmitters, in other words our ‘happy’ signals.
4. Brazil nuts & almonds
Brazil nuts and almonds are very rich in one magic ingredient, Selenium. This is known to promote a positive mood and helps reduce inflammation in the brain, which is one of the correlated conditions in people that suffer from anxiety. They are also high in antioxidants, especially Vitamin E. Studies have shown that low levels of Vitamin E are related to depression.
5. Dark Chocolate
It is a well known fact that chocolate makes many of us feel better. However, it is important to know what type of chocolate is best for us. Milk chocolate triggers the release of endorphins in our brain, which makes us feel amazing. However, the sugar in milk chocolate leaves noticeable feelings of anxiety. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, releases the right chemical in our brain, which are called flavonoids. Flavonoids are a more reliable source of pleasure than endorphins, which sometimes mislead us as they react to just about anything that gives us a high. The release of flavonoids also improves blood flow, as well as neuroinflammation and serotonin production.
6. Fresh fruit and veg smoothie
When you feed your body the right foods and nutrients it will respond positively to stress and moments of tension. In fact, a study carried out by the Maryland University recorded that consuming 3000mg of vitamins a day reduces anxiety and feelings of depression. So, next time you’re feeling a little thirsty and you’re wondering what to make yourself to drink next, chop up some fresh fruit and vegetables too! You can find some great recipes online to see what fruit tastes better with what vegetables. Don’t forget that healthy shakes are great for boosting your energy and mood, but they also supplement a small meal too. So, if you’re in a rush or you don’t wish to cook, get the blender out and have some fun making yourself a nutritious smoothie!
7. Bananas & blueberries
Bananas are also rich in the same amino acid, tryptophan, that we find in eggs. This is what helps produce serotonin in your brain that can ease feelings of anxiety and promote good mental health. Then another great fruit beginning with ‘b’ to help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety — are blueberries! Blueberries are rich in Vitamin C, antioxidants and flavonoids. These are all really amazing to help improve mental health and reduce feelings of anxiety
Turmeric is a spice that is used in cooking, especially in South East Asia. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a polyphenol that helps regulate your mood and ease feelings of anxiety. It is also high in antioxidants, which help reduce brain inflammation as well as prevent cell damage that is often caused by stress. As turmeric is a spice. It is easy to add to any meal! It will add flavour as well as leave you feeling more relaxed and less anxious.
9.The ‘Right’ Tea
A cup of steaming tea can be really relaxing, if it's the right tea. Now, I’m not referring to black tea or an ‘English brew,’ as it’s often called. Instead, herbal teas like chamomile act as a healthy relaxing sedative. Green tea contains amino acids, which are also good for calming you down and regulating serotonin and dopamine. Finally, for those really suffering from anxiety, take a trip to your local herb shop and look for Valerian Root Tea. It is especially good for relieving stress and anxiety, and also promoting a good sleep for people that suffer from insomnia too.
Now finally, the one and only essential thing that we need in our diet over anything else is…
Our body is made up of 60% water. Our brain and heart are 75% water; and our lungs, 85% water! Therefore, our most important ingredient of the day has got to be water. If you find that you drink very little water, or hardly any, I would suggest that you start doing so. Dehydration will naturally cause feelings of anxiety. When we are dehydrated our body begins to function badly, our brain loses focus and minimal endorphins are produced. These are the hormones that relieve stress and pain. Therefore, whether you suffer from anxiety or not — always keep hydrated and drinking water.
Use these facts for peace of mind! Now that you know what to eat and what to avoid you can actually snack out on something that will help prevent anxiety rather than adding to it. The more of these foods and drinks that you eat, the better your frame of mind will be. You want to feed yourself the right nutrients, like antioxidants and Vitamin D & E, as well as DHA, EPA and amino acids. They will help boost your mood incredibly by producing serotonin and dopamine in your brain, which sponsor a better frame of mind as well as help reduce inflammation.
Therefore, if you add some of these 10 amazing foods and drinks to your diet you will be promoting a healthier mind and keeping your mood swings and feelings of anxiety under control. And with the help of Clear Minds hypnotherapy audios to help Eliminate Anxiety, you are sure to be feeling better in no time!
Klamer, H. (2018) The Seven Best Drinks To Reduce Your Anxiety. Anxiety, Panic & Health. https://anxietypanichealth.com/2018/12/11/the-7-best-drinks-to-reduce-your-anxiety/ Elliot, B. (2021, May 25) Food That Helps Ease Anxiety. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-foods-that-reduce-anxiety Chrichton-Stuart, C. (2018, August 1) What are some foods to ease your anxiety? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322652