5 Tips How To Fight Anxiety With Your Diet

by Ryan Rivera

Anxiety is a powerful emotion, and one that has a complex number of causes. Contrary to popular belief, anxiety isn't something that can be easily cured by simply swallowing an herb or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While exercise does play a role in the development of anxiety, anxiety disorders aren't caused by sleep, they're not caused by poor air quality, and perhaps most importantly, they're not caused by diet.

But just because your diet doesn't create anxiety doesn't mean that it can't be used to help relieve it. Your diet is only a part of the way you fight anxiety, but with smart choices you'll find that your anxiety is easier to manage, and that the treatments you try are more likely to work.

Anxiety And Diet: Myth From Fact

It's important to remember that there are a lot of anxiety myths out there with regard to diet. For example, there is a claim that bananas – which have serotonin – can help cure anxiety.

But there's little research evidence that that's the case. It's important to make sure you're not choosing a diet based on pseudoscience and old wives tales. Make sure that you're making smart decisions with regard to your food choices.

How to Reduce Anxiety With Diet

High Magnesium Foods – Research into magnesium and its effects on health are still ongoing, but many studies have linked low magnesium levels to strange physical sensations like shaky nerves, muscle weakness, pains, heart arrhythmia, headaches, and even anxiety itself. Over 80% of the United States is at least mildly deficient in magnesium due to modern food processing practices, and magnesium deposits are used up during times of stress. So make sure you're getting foods in your diet with high magnesium levels, including spinach, black beans, and almonds.
Drink Water – Studies have also shown that many people with anxiety live dehydrated each and every day. It's not clear why this is the case (perhaps from sweating while anxious?) but it is clear that dehydration causes your body to work less efficiently, possibly leading to an "on edge' feeling that makes your anxiety worse.
Avoid Grease – Avoiding greasy fast foods is a no brainer when it comes to eating healthy. But it's not just eating healthy that's an issue. Greasy foods also cause fatigue (which may lead to faulty thinking and a greater likelihood of anxiety) and they cause physical stress as your body tries to process the food which studies have shown may lead to mental stress.
Drink Coffee – "What?!" you may ask. According to the internet, coffee is supposedly terrible for anxiety. But that's not what the research says. In fact, studies have shown that one or two cups a day can actually improve mood. It's only coffee in excess (more than 3 cups a day) that can lead to anxiety. Although you may want to avoid coffee if you get panic attacks. Panic attacks may be affected by caffeine consumption due to changes in heartbeat rhythm
Whole Grains – Like avoiding greasy foods, "whole grains" is a fairly common answer when people talk about eating healthier. But once again, there are potential added benefits that may improve anxiety. Whole grains often have magnesium, which is valuable for reasons noted above. They may also have tryptophan, which studies have shown helps create serotonin in the brain. And fiber-rich foods may reduce stomach discomfort which can prevent some of the more distressing anxiety symptoms. Eating more whole grains has many potential benefits, provided you do not have gluten sensitivity.

None of these changes are going to suddenly and drastically improve your anxiety. But anxiety is a cumulative condition. The more you experience in any one area, the more anxiety you experience overall. By changing your diet to calm your anxiety, you'll decrease the severity of your anxiety symptoms and, in turn, make it easier for you to make other changes that will stop your anxiety once and for all.

About the Author: Ryan Rivera altered his diet to make living with anxiety much easier. He now writes about anxiety and related mental health conditions at Calm Clinic dot com.

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