Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders world-wide. It is a condition that is found in children, men and women of all ethnic backgrounds and cultures. In a nutshell anxiety can be described as “intense fear or worrying about the future “and symptoms can be wide ranging and include a racing heartbeat to headaches, insomnia, sweating or fatigue.
Fortunately, anxiety can be treated and well managed through a range of therapies and treatment options.
Although have you considered the role your diet can play in helping to ease the severity of your anxiety?
We know that eating a wide-ranging diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and wholegrain in conjunction with regular exercise is the best way to keep your mind and body healthy, but what foods specifically can help ease mental health symptoms.
The biggest food contributors to our mental health are alcohol, caffeine and blood glucose/ sugar levels.
Foods that provide a slow release of energy also known as your Low Glycaemic (Low G.I.) foods are crucial for good mental health as they provide a steady release of energy which can help avoid the jitters or shakes. These foods help to stabilise your blood glucose levels preventing huge spikes and falls after meals. Low GI foods are also rich in B vitamins (thiamine, folate and niacin) which help release energy from food. B vitamins are also handy in improving mood and cognitive function, helping to ease anxiety symptoms.
B Vitamin rich foods include:
- Leafy Green Vegetables
- Liver and other organ meats
- Oysters, mussels and clams
Good quality carbohydrates to include:
- Non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, onions and tomatoes.
- Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Whole grain bread, pasta, rice
- Cow’s milk
- Fruits such as berries and watermelon
- Legumes and pulses
By including a variety of good quality carbohydrates your body is able to produce more serotonin levels which can create feelings of calmness and serenity. Remember when Mum said to have a warm glass of milk before bed as it will help you sleep, well she was right.
Foods that are rich in zinc can also help lower anxiety levels:
- Egg Yolks
- Legumes such as chickpeas
Maximising Omega-3 intake can also help by improving overall brain health, be sure to include:
- Oily fish like salmon, tuna and sardines
- Plant oils like canola and sunflower oils.
- Nuts and seeds like flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts.
Additionally staying hydrated is also very important as your brain contains roughly 75% water, and needs to be well hydrated to function at its best. Around 8 glasses of water per day is your ideal drink as it is inexpensive and having water-based drinks like teas, diluted juice and sugar free drinks can also count towards your intake.
On the topics of drinks, it’s best to keep alcohol to social occasions only and limit your intake to 1-2 glasses. Alcohol affects your central nervous system and when consumed in excess it can potentially be mood altering or disturbing.
In short, there is no one solution that fits all but factors such as making good lifestyle changes, being sure to get lots of physical activity can help ease the burden of anxiety.
Do you have a nutrition trend you’d like to discuss? Get in touch today to see how I can best help you.