Nutrition & Anxiety
Anxiety is a huge issue these days for adults & kids alike. More than ever these days after the strangest, most uncertain year we have had. It can be a very isolating and lonely place, as it can be very hard to truly understand anxiety or panic attacks if you haven’t suffered from them personally.
I sum up my own experience as thinking that the body is an absolute wonder, a perfectly functioning self healing organism, given the right environment & constituents, but what if these factors aren’t there, the body is left vulnerable, then add circumstances – work, stress, life!
Well the body can only take so much & at some point, especially in this situation where the body is not supported functionally, something can come along that is just the straw on the camels back & can trigger this process of anxiety. Literally the body’s way of saying to us ‘something’s gotta give!’. And the process itself then can be self-fuelling, in that it’s a horrible feeling, so you can quickly become anxious about the anxiety! Well the good news is there is hope & there is lots you can do!
So of course there are many lifestyle factors that will help like reducing stress, mindfulness, meditation, breathing, lightening your load, talking to people, knowing you are not alone & that you are very much normal! But nutritionally there is an awful lot you can do also to improve the situation and some things that really make things work, some may be things you may not have eer connected….
We get all our vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids from a healthy diet, but what if the diet is not so healthy? Then we may be left short of what we need to function optimally. Add to that that if you are stressed you have a greater need for these nutrients. Take B vitamins & magnesium as an example these are very much involved in our stress response, but equally are easily depleted by stress. So increasing your healthy foods or adding a supplement may help greatly and also there are so many natural options to help ease anxiety in the moment, so its really worth getting some advice from a holistic practitioner or in the health shop.
Blood Sugar Imbalance
Sugar and processed foods can play havoc with our blood sugar balance. A balanced blood sugar is fundamental for good health and when it is imbalanced there is a huge hormone involvement there, which can have detrimental daily effects on our mood, emotions, anxiety. Stress hormones are released when we go down on a blood sugar low, which can really add to anxiety. Sugar and caffeine are other factors at play here, due to their impact on our blood sugar and their stimulation of our adrenals, reducing these can have a massive impact on our mood. Adding protein to your meals and choosing low GI carbs are the first steps to balancing your blood sugar but again getting some advice & support on this can really make the difference.
The gut-brain link is well documented in recent years. The brain is directly connected to the gut via the vagus nerve and there is bi-directional communication going on here all the time. So it makes sense that stress effects our digestion and our gut microbiome impacts our mood. Poor gut bacteria balance or a vulnerable gut lining have been linked to anxiety and mood issues. Improving your gut microbiome and building up the health of the gut can have a fantastic impact on anxiety.
We are always creating a certain amount of inflammation in the body, which again given the right environment and anti-inflammatory foods we should be able to handle, but when things get too much and the supportive foods aren’t there we get into the situation where there is systemic inflammation. We can actually protect the body by eating the right foods, the phytonutrients or antioxidants in these foods have beneficial effects on the body and brain and can really help to reduce any negative symptoms going on.
So whether its for yourself or someone close to you, go about getting some help & advice today on how you can starting fuelling your body and brain with the foods & elements that are going to help you get back to yourself and start feeling great! Improving my nutrition along with lifestyle improvements has really helped to keep anxiety at bay and manage my stress better!