3 TIPS for ANXIETY
Anxiety is something that affects so many people. It can include symptoms such as a racing heart, excess sweating, a tight chest, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, “hamster” thoughts (those thoughts that just keep going around and around in your head), and worry, to name but a few.
While you will need a variety of strategies to help manage and reduce your anxiety, a healthy diet is a solid foundation for treatment. Here are 3 dietary tips that can make a big difference. Add a rainbow of fruit and veges!
1. CUT CAFFEINE – coffee is not your friend!
If you suffer with anxiety, it is likely that coffee is not your friend! I see a lot of people with anxiety in my clinic, and always recommend that those with anxiety avoid caffeine, in particular coffee. It is a stimulant, and can produce the same symptoms as anxiety – that jittery feeling, sweating, increased heart rate, and in some, can even lead to a panic attack. If you get these symptoms from coffee (I do), and you suffer from anxiety, it will feel like you are anxious, and you will therefore feel anxious. So if you suffer from anxiety, ditch the coffee! Coffee should also be avoided if you have reflux, insomnia, or adrenal fatigue. If coffee truly is your friend, enjoy one or two a day before lunchtime, as the caffeine in it has a long half-life, and you want to get the most from your beauty sleep at night!
2. EAT PROTEIN AND GOOD FATS
Your body needs good fats and protein in order to make your “good mood” and sleep hormones and messengers. One thing you can do to boost your mood and reduce anxiety, is to have a good protein with each meal, and some healthy fats. Good proteins include eggs, meat (not processed), chicken, fish and legumes. Good fats are found in seeds and nuts (raw unsalted), avocado, and oils such as olive and coconut oil (not vegetable oils). Look at your diet and see where you can improve. I suggest starting with breakfast for 2 reasons. It sets you up for the day, and also, so many people start the day with a bowl of cereal or toast with only butter or vegemite or jam – mostly carbs. Add some egg or avo to the toast, or make the cereal a homemade muesli and add nuts and ground up seeds such as LSA (a blend of ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds you can buy in the supermarket).
3. MINIMISE OR AVOID SUGAR
Eating sugar causes blood sugar levels to go up, and then crash. When your blood sugar levels are low, this is called hypoglycaemia. Hypoglycaemia can exacerbate, or in some cases even cause anxiety. As a nation, we consume far too much sugar on a daily basis. You only need to look at the obesity figures to know this is true. Our biggest problems are soft drinks and packaged foods. Low-fat or fat-free products are also loaded with sugar to compensate for the loss of flavour which occurs when all the fat is removed (the fact that it is the sugar that is making you fat is a subject for another discussion on another day!). Even so-called healthy breakfast cereals have sugar in them, and things like bottled sauces can be full of sugar, despite them being savoury. The best way to reduce your sugar intake is to reduce and then remove packaged foods from you diet.
Again, look at your diet and see where you can reduce sugar in your diet? Start with one meal or item at a time. If you do have a sugary treat sometimes, make sure you have some protein and fat just before to help balance out the sugar spike and crash.
If you need help with improving your diet, or exploring other ways to reduce anxiety, please contact me. I would love to help you.