Anti Anxiety Diet

The causes of anxiety are many, but three very important factors appear to be environmental, genetics, and lifestyle. You can’t change your genetics, and it s not always possible to change environmental factors (it’s not always easy to change jobs, etc…); but you do have total control over your lifestyle. A main component of lifestyle is diet, and what you eat can have a tremendous impact on your anxiety. The following are our top tips for an anti anxiety diet:

First of all try to limit coffee as much as possible. Coffee, and other caffeine-rich foods and beverages, are strongly anxiety-inducing, and will increase your nervousness, irritability and general anxiety. Many anxiety sufferers resort to coffee to counteract their fatigue, which is a common symptom of anxiety, but drinking coffee will make it harder to sleep at night. This will simply exacerbate fatigue in the long term. The same goes for alcohol. Many anxious persons use alcohol as a tranquilizer, but in the long term it will increase anxiety levels further, not to mention other health problems associated with alcohol consumption.

A diet high in fat and simple sugars will make anxiety worse. The main fats to avoid are the saturated kinds, such as those found in meat products, butter, and full-fat milk. Choose lean meats whenever possible, opt for low-fat spreads and switch to semi or skimmed milk. Limit sweets and chocolates, and avoid excessive consumption of sweeteners. Instead, have more complex wholegrain carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, fibre-rich cereals, fruits and vegetables. Natural carbohydrates such as these are rich in vitamins and minerals, and will not cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. You should also limit the use of strong spices, as these can add to your tension.

In addition, make sure you are drinking enough water. Headaches, light-headedness and apathy are common symptoms of dehydration, and can make your anxiety worse. Most adults require at least two litres of water daily; more if you are overweight, very active, or live in warm climates.

You should also make sure you diet is rich in magnesium, as this mineral helps to relax tense muscles. Good magnesium sources are whole grains, beans and legumes, and tofu. The amino acid tryptophan also has a relaxing effect on the body; good sources include oats, sesame seeds, and poultry. Yet another important anti anxiety nutrient is omega 3 fatty acids, such as that found in walnuts, seeds, and oily fish. Omega 3 fatty acids can reduce anxiety and depression.

You should combine an anti anxiety diet with lots of physical exercise, at least five times a week for 30 minutes each time. Being active will help to burn off pent-up energy and will help to balance your hormones and neurotransmitters, which are often imbalanced in anxious persons.