I am starting a series of small articles about different aspects of anxiety. This is the first short article about foods you should avoid if you suffer from anxiety. So if you suffer from anxiety you will want to avoid these 5 foods.
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Right now, I am sure if you think about it you are probably already aware that your emotions can significantly influence what you eat. However, did you also know that what you eat can dramatically affect your mood? If you didn’t already know, some foods could worsen your anxiety. According to research conducted by Harvard Health, simple food choices can make a difference in how you feel. Here are five foods that you should avoid if you suffer from anxiety or any other neurotic condition.
Even though experts have been touting wheat bran as a super food with its high fiber content and complex, nutty flavours, it can significantly increase your anxiety, thanks to its high concentration of phytic acid. Phytic acid binds to essential mood minerals like zinc and limits their absorption by the body. People who suffer from anxiety need adequate levels of zinc to keep their symptoms at bay. Therefore, I would recommend getting tested for your zinc levels and if low, take a supplement. The one I take is Primal Zinc 500, but there are many others on the market.
For many anxious people, gluten is a sticking point, especially with patients who have celiac disease. Most non-organic wheat is treated with a herbicide called glyphosate, which has been shown to cause a nutrient deficiency of mood-stabilising minerals.
Soy, while packed with lean protein, is also packed with protease and trypsin inhibitors, which are enzymes that make digesting the protein difficult. Soy products, like tofu, are also high in copper, which is a mineral that has been linked to anxious behaviour. If you have to eat soy, get rid of the tofu and veggie burgers, and try fermented varieties like miso and tempeh, which are much easier to digest.
Coffee is one of the highest concentrated dietary sources of caffeine which can make an anxious brain even worse. Research has shown that people with anxiety disorders are particularly sensitive to feeling the nervous side effects from small amounts of caffeine. Caffeine can also impede the absorption of vital mood-balancing nutrients like B vitamins and vitamin D.
Unlike whole apples, apple juice is devoid of the slow-digesting fibre and are often packed with refined fructose. This results in blood level spikes that can trigger a flood of adrenaline and result in symptoms that look a lot like an anxiety attack. Fructose can actually alter how the brain responds to stress on a genetic level.
You know only too well that anxiety is not a fun challenge to have to deal with. However, you can reduce your symptoms and overcome your fear by avoiding these anxiety-inducing foods.
Some sugars mimic the panic sensations in the body, raising your levels of panic. If you eat chocolate for example, you can understand the initial high and then the associated low mood enhancing feelings, but you can consume chocolate, especially dark chocolate (it has less added sugars), which improves your mood and therefore reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to anxiety. Making these foods a part of a well-balanced diet can positively improve your mood and help lessen anxiety. But, I’m not advocating eating chocolate on a regular basis, I’m suggesting you might use it as a small reward.
However, lowering your intake of sugar, generally, may improve your mental health. That is important when you consider that depression impacts 10% of American adults, and about one-third of people with depression do not respond to conventional antidepressant therapies. High-glycemic diets, or diets high in refined carbohydrates, can create or exacerbate your anxiety and that can also sabotage your mood. Around 40 million adults, 18% of the population struggle with anxiety.
“Initially, sugar satisfies the craving centers in the brain, increases your blood pressure and heart rate, and can give you the feeling of an energy surge,” says Vincent Pedre, M.D., in Happy Gut. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Happy-Gut-Cleansing-Program-Eliminate-ebook/dp/B00LLIJGSW “The problem is that the ‘sugar-coaster’ keeps going up and then crashing down. The more you do, the harder you fall.”
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Low blood sugar levels can impact negatively on your anxious thoughts, making them more pronounced and this not good for your mood. We all grab a sugary treat at some time and I am sure you will recognise that you do it when you are feeling low and this behaviour triggers your brain’s reward neurotransmitter, dopamine and although you know that sugar can have a negative impact on your mood, you basically crave more of these foods that make you feel bad.
As previously mentioned there are numerous foods and drinks which can have a destructive impact on your happiness and well-being, but sugar is considered to be the most threatening. Research has pointed to sugar as having an adverse impact on your long-term psychological health, including depression and anxiety. There is a correlation between increased sugar consumption and mood disorders. Mark Hyman, M.D., in Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?, found that the average American eats about one-third of a pound of sugar or more daily. He calls this “a toxic drug dose.”
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You should also avoid alcohol, caffeine and any soft drinks with caffeine and most definitely increase your consumption of water as water flushes out the anxiety causing hormones which can exacerbate your anxiety and panic attacks. I suggest that you drink at least 8 litres a day.
My advice is to learn how to defy your anxiety, find out why you are that person who gives too much credence to your anxious thoughts and definitely cut down your consumption of these foods and work towards removing them from your diet permanently if you want to get rid of your anxiety for ever.