Have you ever heard of the saying you are what you eat? It’s a concept that is thankfully beginning to have much more of an impact as focus on holistic health rises. Studies are beginning to highlight the connection between certain foods and our mental health including, of course, anxiety. There are foods out there that actually act as stimulants, encouraging the release of certain hormones which contribute to your heightened state of awareness i.e. your anxiety symptoms. Avoiding these foods can have a dramatic impact on not only your anxiety levels but on your stress levels and your mood. Here are four foods and drinks that could be feeding your anxiety and making it worse.
Coffee contains one of the highest sources of concentrated caffeine which is your anxious brain’s worst nightmare. Studies have suggested that if you suffer from social anxiety you are most likely to suffer the nervous side effects of caffeine, perpetuating your anxious symptoms and making remaining calm even harder. Instead of reaching for the coffee to kick start your day, give herbal teas a go. Research suggests that drinking chamomile tea has anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. There is also relaxing effects and health benefits of drinking Peppermint and Green tea.
2. Red wine
We all know the calming and relaxing effects of a glass of wine, but do not be fooled. This effect is only short term. Long term effects of self-medicating with alcohol consist of disturbed sleep, blood sugar level swings, low mood and of course dehydration. These are all things you want to avoid if you are suffering from anxiety as they interrupt any natural state of calm and promote high-stress levels, making anxiety much harder to control.
3. Processed foods
If you don’t know what’s in it, don’t eat it! Many processed foods contain a melting pot of chemicals, all of which can affect your hormone balance which can have a dramatic impact on anxiety levels. They are also typically high in trans fats or hydrogenated fats that have been linked by the US National Library of Medicine to most anxiety symptoms. The fact they are also very unhealthy should also be noted, after all, a healthy body means a healthy mind!
Cutting out sugar completely from your diet comes very highly recommended when looking at your anxiety holistically for very good reasons. Firstly; sugar, like alcohol, is a temporary solution to negative feelings such as stress, depression or anxiety. However, long term consumption of sugar can actually make those feelings worse. It does this by causing a sharp spike and then drop in your blood sugar levels which can increase the release of adrenaline and cortisol, both hormones that cause panic attacks and stress responses.
Regularly consuming all of or a combination of these foods and drinks can cause chemical imbalances in the body, prevent healthy blood flow to the brain, disrupt aspects of the neurological system and act as stimulants increasing panic, anxiety and stress responses.
So if you are looking for a simple holistic life style change to make to begin better managing your anxiety, why not start with your diet! For more help and guidence you can book your initial consultation here.