Food for Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal defense mechanism of the body against stress. The body when stressed releases a certain set of hormones which, when under control, help you focus better on the tasks at hand. This phenomenon is best mirrored in improved subject-matter grasp of students just before the exams and in heightened efficiency levels of employees nearing deadlines. However, when uncontrolled, these hormones can cause panic attacks and may also lead to nervous breakdowns. Although we know the process that leads to anxiety, it is still unclear as what leads to this uncontrolled secretion of hormones in a person’s body. This makes it very difficult for people to ascertain their vulnerability towards such a condition and take precautionary measures accordingly. However, a lot of treatments are available for people who suffer from this disorder. But the best remedy is to make a few lifestyle alterations at the first signs of general anxiety. This would prevent the condition from escalating.

Foods to Reduce Anxiety Foods to Avoid During Anxiety:

  • Caffeine stimulates the adrenaline secretion in the body. It creates a “fight or flight” sensation and promotes an overwhelming desire to act on spot.
  • Salt reduces the potassium levels of the body thereby hindering the proper functioning of the nervous system and leads to more stress by increasing the blood pressure levels.
  • Processed foods contain overdoses of preservatives, flavors, and saturated fats that put pressure on the overall system.
  • Spices like turmeric, chilly and garlic contain salicylates, which speed up the body’s metabolism and cause further anxiousness.
  • Low-fat dairy products are high on calcium. The extra calcium lowers the manganese levels of the body and cause the adrenaline to pump further.
  • Sugar affects blood sugar and leads to mood swings, anxiety and also adversely affects the brain’s functioning.
  • Alcohol creates a “high” feeling by boosting up the adrenaline levels and raises the hyperactivity in the nervous system leading to anxiety.
  • Smoking also has similar effects as that of alcohol and it only worsens the anxiety levels further.
  • MSG is a common flavoring in snack foods. It is neuro-toxic in nature and should be avoided.

Food Habits to Reduce or Curb Anxiety

  • Avoid the anxiety causing foods.
  • Water keeps you hydrated. It dilutes and neutralizes the excessive hormones and enzymes being secreted in your body. Make sure to drink 8-10 glasses in a day. Drink even before you feel thirsty, as thirst is an indicator of dehydration.
  • Complex carbohydrates like potatoes and whole wheat etc take a longer time to digest and tend to make you feel full and content for a long time. This controls the blood pressure and sugar levels and reduces anxiety.
  • Stick to a diet, which comprises of 20 percent white meat or soya bean products, 30-35 percent baked vegetables and fresh fruits and remaining with cereals and grains like wheat germ, oatmeal and bread.
  • Fizzy drinks can be consumed if water, as a primary fluid, is either unavailable or hasn’t been effective all day. However, it is best to avoid it if water is available.
  • Basil leaves work instant wonders. Pick few leaves and boil with water and a little sugar to taste. Let it cool down and sip slowly.
  • Supplements of Vitamin B, C, manganese, and potassium can be taken, under medical supervision, to control anxiety.
  • Herbs like Ashwagandha, commonly known as winter cherry or Indian Ginseng, contain ample anti-anxiety nutrients and provide immediate relief from anxiety.
  • Light exercises and yoga help strengthening the body’s defense against the extra hormonal secretion of the body. They are also effective at calming the mind and body and alleviate stress and anxiety.

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