Anxiety problems are the most common mental illness in America, affecting 40 million adults over the age of 18 years old. To put that into perspective, that makes up a whopping 18% of the population!
Anxiety can be dangerous to your mental and physical health. To cure or prevent anxiety outbreaks, incorporating stress reducing techniques, like meditation and exercise, are a must! But that’s not enough. To effectively tackle anxiety, you need a holistic approach, that includes eliminating stress-inducing foods and adding in mood-regulating foods.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress or dangerous situations. Often referred to as a “fight or flight state,” anxiety can become crippling when it occurs on a regular basis or flares up in inappropriate circumstances.
Chronic anxiety can take a serious toll on your health. Some of the negative side effects, include:
- High blood pressure
- Digestive issues
- Panic attacks
While the causes of stress are varied, the most common causes include:
- Thyroid problems and imbalances
- Hormonal imbalances
- Anxiety-stimulating foods, like alcohol and sugar
Foods That Worsen Anxiety
Simple food choices can make the difference between anxious mood swings and more stable mood wavelengths. Steer clear of these foods and ingredients that have been proven to not only cause anxiety-symptoms, but speed up and worsen downward spirals.
- High Sugar Foods: sugar causes blood sugar spikes and dips (think, a blood sugar rollercoaster) throughout your day, increasing anxiety outbreaks
- Caffeine: too much coffee causes anxiety, try limiting coffee and black tea to no more than once per day
- Alcohol: puts your body into an anxiety-like state and makes it difficult to manage stress
- Processed and refined flours: these foods act similarly to sugar in the body, leading to blood sugar fluctuations and mood swings
Foods for Anxiety Relief
Eliminating anxiety-causing foods is half of the equation. In addition to cutting out foods that lead to anxiety flare ups, it’s important to add foods into your diet to limit, prevent and cure anxiety outbreaks.
- High calcium foods (calcium’s mineral content is relaxing and reduces anxiety outbreaks)
- Magnesium rich foods (nuts, sea vegetables and avocados’ high magnesium content help to calm nerves)
- Omega-3 fatty acids (reduces inflammation, stabilizes mood and DHA regulates brain function)
- High Vitamin B content foods (grass-fed beef, brewer’s yeast and green leafy vegetables are all high in vitamin-B to help regulate mood)