7 Ways Your Diet Affects Your Anxiety 

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What you eat represents how you function, physically and mentally. Good eating habits promote mental health, whereas questionable food choices demote your mental health. 

Many people who suffer from anxiety can get anti-anxiety medication from online pharmacies, such as medambien, for quick relief. Still, they need to understand when the drug isn’t as effective as it should be. Chances are, their eating habits may be interfering with the medication’s effectiveness. Though a diet change isn’t a cure for anxiety, it does help manage specific symptoms and speed up recovery. Following are 7 ways in which your diet can affect your anxiety. 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Unfortunately, many people skip breakfast, which is unsuitable for their health. Starting your day with a healthy and fulfilling breakfast with lots of protein, healthy carbohydrates, fruits, and dairy keeps you energised and active throughout the day. A good breakfast helps you have a good mood and a fresh mind. Foods like lean meat, eggs, beans, and legumes are rich protein sources. Good carbs are rich in oatmeal, whole grains, quinoa, whole-grain cereals and bread. Also, eat yoghurt as it is rich in probiotics and calcium. 

  • Eating fruits and vegetables 

 Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants. Eating a healthy portion of vegetables and fruits provides the brain with all the necessary nutrients it needs to function properly. Dr. Martha, PhD, Oxford University, says: “Your brain needs certain vitamins and nutrients to synthesise serotonin and dopamine, a.k.a, happy hormones. That is why you need to monitor your eating habits when you are trying to improve your mental health.”.

Vitamins such as A, B, C, D, and K are involved in the production of brain chemicals that act as mood regulators. Antioxidants protect the brain from toxins and oxidative stress. Fibre from various fruits and vegetables ensure gut health. And lastly, minerals like magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron are necessary for proper cognitive function. 

  • Adding omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids, or simply omega-3s, are a class of lipids (fats). These fatty acids are crucial for the healthy neural network of your brain. If your diet doesn’t contain enough fish, then you may be lacking omega-3s in your diet. Fish meat and fish oil are the richest sources of these fats. 

Omega-3 fats are antioxidants and neuroprotectants, meaning that they protect your brain cells from oxidation and toxins. They also prevent the brain from having psychological issues, including anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression. In a 2018 study, omega-3s showed visible improvement in people with anxiety symptoms.

Which omega-3 fats are best for anxiety?

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) present in fish oil are considered the most beneficial fatty acid type. Multiple studies have shown that PUFAs are effective for psychological recovery and proper cognitive function. They also help improve sleeping patterns. 

  • Drinking enough water

There is no doubt that water is your health’s best friend. According to several studies, drinking five or more than five cups of water daily can lower the risk of anxiety and depression by 30 to 35 percent. In contrast, consuming less than a glass of water per day increased the likelihood of the onset of anxiety and depression by 50 percent. Another 2018 study found that people who drank less water had worse anxiety symptoms than those who drank more. 

Therefore, drink plenty of water daily (around 8 to 10 glasses) to keep yourself hydrated. Lack of water or dehydration can alter the brain chemistry, leading to unexpected mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Even mild dehydration can cause a bad mood. 

  • Caffeine intake 

Drinking a lot of coffee when you have anxiety is usually not a good idea. Studies show that caffeine may worsen the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Drinking coffee or any other beverage with high caffeine content makes you restless, jittery, and sleepless. Feeling such is similar to your body’s natural fight-or-flight response under stress. Therefore, you may need to limit your daily caffeine intake if you struggle with an anxiety disorder. According to the FDA, consuming more than  400 mg (milligrams) of caffeine every day (about 4 to 5 cups of coffee) may increase the risk of anxiety and panic attacks in individuals with caffeine sensitivity. 

  • Drinking alcohol 

Like caffeine, drinking too much alcohol is also not a good option when you have anxiety. Excessive drinking can disrupt your brain activity, increasing your anxiety levels as you struggle to do basic routine tasks. 

Since alcohol has sedative-like properties, you may relax with a controlled drinking session, but only under your doctor’s advice. Chemically, alcohol is an antidepressant. So, occasional drinking may even help relieve anxiety and de-stressing. However, you need to be careful not to overdo it. Because once you get used to drinking, you develop tolerance to the anti-anxiety effects of alcohol. This can make anxiety and stress harder to deal with. 

  • Eating highly processed foods 

It’s a known fact that foods loaded with sugar and refined carbs are harmful to your health. While most of us are well aware of their physical health effects, they are unhealthy for your brain too. Dr.Murrey at American Psychological Association explained: “When the majority of diet contains foods that are mostly sugar and trans-fats, then there isn’t much room left for nutrient-rich foods with lots of protein, fibre, vitamins, probiotics, and antioxidants. Our brain uses more nutrients than any other organ. Nutrient-deficient diet puts your brain at higher risk of developing mental health issues. So, while processed foods may not directly cause anxiety, they can surely worsen the symptoms or contribute to its early onset in people without an anxiety disorder.”

Conclusion

Your diet plays a significant role in determining the intensity of your anxiety. Some eating habits like excessive junk food, caffeine, and alcohol consumption can worsen your anxiety. Whereas eating enough fruits and vegetables, protein, fibre, and healthy carbs and fats can relieve your anxiety. Hydration is equally important as well. 

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