180 Nutrition: It has been estimated that in any given year, 2 million adults in Australia have an anxiety disorder. Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include a racing heart, shaking, being unable to relax, persistent worry, difficulty sleeping, and being unable to control one’s worries. Many individuals with anxiety are also prone to panic attacks. These are sudden, short (about 10 minutes in duration), and intense periods of time in which severe symptoms of anxiety are experienced.
Conventional treatment for anxiety disorders include medication, as well as regular help from a mental health professional. However, since proper nutrition has the power to impact all areas of your health and wellbeing, certain nutrients can actually decrease anxiety. While these nutrients are not intended to be used as a primary means of treatment, they are excellent in supporting the mind and body. Explore some of the best nutrients for alleviating the symptoms of anxiety.
Keeping your mind and body healthy requires the right combination of vitamins and minerals in your diet. Magnesium is one of the top minerals for helping alleviate anxiety. Why? It serves as a natural muscle relaxer, and it helps calm the nervous system. The effects of magnesium are most profound on the physical symptoms of anxiety, but also calm emotional symptoms as well. Although it can be challenging to get enough of in your diet alone, magnesium is available in many forms. Magnesium can be taken as a supplement, or it can be applied to the skin by spray, gel, or with an epsom salt bath.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Multiple studies have demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids can be quite useful in treating anxiety disorders. The primary reason for this is the support that the supplement provides to the brain. Foods that are highest in omega-3s include chia seeds, certain types of fish (such as salmon), flaxseeds, and soybeans.
While it is a food rather than a nutrient, the compounds found in dark chocolate are exceptional for calming the symptoms of anxiety. One study in particular found that “individuals who consumed 74% dark chocolate twice daily for two weeks had improved levels of stress hormones commonly associated with anxiety, such as catecholamines and cortisol.” Therefore, moderate consumption of dark chocolate can help relax the body, and calm the mind.
Foods to avoid if you have an anxiety disorder
In addition to the anxiety-busting nutrients and foods that you should be incorporating into your diet, there are specific foods and beverages that you should avoid. Anything that contains caffeine, alcohol, or sugar should be limited or avoided completely. These substances have been shown to aggravate the symptoms of anxiety, and make symptoms much worse. To avoid unnecessary flare ups of the condition, it is best to be aware of how these substances affect you personally, and adjust accordingly.
Although it is also important to seek conventional treatments for anxiety, proper nutrition can significantly influence one’s symptoms. By incorporating certain foods and nutrients, and avoiding others, you can better manage your anxiety.
This article was written by Jane Munro a health enthusiast and freelance writer.