Dietary changes can be made if you think that your anxiety is worse because you’ve been eating a lot of sugary foods, having too much coffee, or drinking too much alcohol. According to an article in Psychology Today, certain foods could be linked to aggravated symptoms of anxiety.
Generalized Anxiety And Your Diet
More often, generalized anxiety is linked to a common condition called reactive hypoglycemia. A person suffering from this condition have their blood sugar dropped to very a low level after eating food or drinking beverages that have too much sugar.
In a series of studies, experts have found that by making some dietary changes, people who report heightened anxiety related to reactive hypoglycemia can improve their condition.
Here are some of the changes they have to make:
- Reducing or eliminating caffeine from their diet.
- Increasing protein intake.
- Limiting their sugar and carbohydrate intake in general.
Unfortunately, if you are chronically hypoglycemic you need to consult a healthcare professional even if you already follow a healthy diet. By doing this, you can determine the possible medical causes of this condition, such as kidney disease, diabetes, and medication side effects.
Chronic alcohol abuse has been linked to anxiety associated with hypoglycemia and malnutrition. You should seek advice from a medical professional for you to be able to deal with the physiological consequences of drinking too much alcohol.
In addition to alcohol and sugary foods, caffeine was also found to be the reason for an increased risk of anxiety. Drinking caffeine increases your body’s levels of epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol in the blood, which can cause feelings of “nervousness” in adults with no history of mental health concerns.
Furthermore, coffee consumption can also cause feelings of increased generalized anxiety. There were times wherein caffeine may cause panic attacks in people who are predisposed to anxiety or panic. It was reported that many people diagnosed with chronic generalized anxiety have experienced a decrease in the severity of symptoms when they limit their coffee intake.
A dietary deficiency in tryptophan, an amino acid, can cause a decrease in brain serotonin levels. L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid that’s also a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter. If you have low levels of tryptophan, you also have a reduced serotonin production in the brain, which can cause conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, mood disorder, and depression.
Consume more foods that contain tryptophan if you want to prevent the side effects of this deficiency. Include the following in your diet:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
A proper diet can keep your body healthy and can help you manage your anxiety.
Can Antioxidants Help?
It was believed that anxiety is associated with a lowered total antioxidant state. This means that eating foods rich in antioxidants may help ease the symptoms of anxiety disorders.
Listed below are the foods that are rich in antioxidants:
- Nuts (walnuts and pecans)
- Fruits (sweet cherries, black plums, Gala, Granny Smith, or Red Delicious apples, and prunes)
- Vegetables (kale, spinach, artichokes, beets, and broccoli)
- Spices with both antioxidant and anti-anxiety properties (turmeric – with its active ingredient curcumin – and ginger)
- Berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries)
- Beans (black, dried small red, Pinto, and red kidney beans)
The following foods can also help reduce anxiety:
- Experts believed that zinc-rich foods can help lower anxiety. Some of its sources are oysters, cashew, beef, liver, and egg yolks.
- According to a study, mice that are deficient in magnesium have shown to have more anxiety-related behaviors, and that foods full of magnesium can help you feel calmer. Leafy greens like Swiss chard and spinach are some of the good sources of magnesium
- In a separate study published in the journal Psychiatry Research, it revealed that there is a link between probiotics and reduced symptoms of social anxiety. Therefore, if you want to manage anxiety, consume probiotic-rich foods like kefir, pickles, and sauerkraut.
With the help of these “feel good” foods, the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine can be promoted. Consume the foods listed above to manage your anxiety naturally instead of taking drugs that are linked to negative side effects.