Food as medicine is the bomb. It is so easy, cost effective, not to mention yum.
If anxiety is something that plays on your mind then looking at your diet to ensure that it is a nourishing diet rather than a stimulating diet will help to bring the body back into balance faster.
Anxiety can be a multifaceted condition, and it is very rare that there is just one reason for the anxiety to be present. And the thing with anxiety is that some factors that may be affecting can be out of the persons control. But diet, now that is something that you can take full control of to ensure that it is a supportive diet for where your body is now.
We want to make sure that proper neurotransmitters such as GABA and serotonin are present in order to help keep the nervous system calm and anxiety levels under control. Ensuring that you have the building blocks to make these neurotransmitter is key, because without any bricks how are you going to build the house?
Protein is a great place to start, all neurotransmitters need the amino acids found in protein to help with their production, so making sure that protein intake is adequate is so important.
So where are you getting your protein from?
Legumes (beans, peas)
Dairy products ie yogurt
Nuts and seeds
Having a mix of all of these sources of protein is best as it will ensure that you are getting wide variety of food.
An example of a day of protein eating:
Eggs for breakfast
Yogurt for morning tea
Tuna through your salad at lunch
Grilled chicken for dinner
Yogurt with nuts for breakfast
Hard boiled egg for snack
Chickpeas through your salad at lunch
Lentil dal for dinner
In terms of serotonin neurotransmitter the main amino acid the we need in the diet is tryptophan. Tryptophan is able to be converted directly to serotonin so making sure that that it is in high levels is a great way to give the body its best chance for producing adequate amounts.
Foods that are high in tryptophan:
Many other micronutrients are needed for healthy neurotransmitter production such as Magnesium, Zinc, Iron and B group Vitamins. So ensuring that a varied diet is being consumed is the best way to make sure that you are getting all of these other co-factors for neurotransmitter production.
Think plenty of fresh fruits and vegetable, lean meats, eggs, plenty of nuts and seeds and wholegrain such as oats, quinoa and buckwheat.
FOODS TO AVOID TO KEEP THE ZEN
Alcohol acts as a depressor, meaning that it dampens the nervous system. Alcohol consumption, especially in excess will wipe your bodies neurotransmitter levels, making then have to be reestablished again. All the hard work that you have done during the week to build up healthy levels of serotonin and GABA can go to waste if you are binge drinking on the weekend.
Sugar is a stimulant, making the nervous system more excitable and reactive. Avoiding excess sugar intake will enable a more stable nervous system to take you through your day, as well as helping to balance out any blood sugar highs and lows.
Artificial colours and preservatives
These can often be neurotoxic or neuro-stimulant, again causing the nervous system to be overstimulated and in some instances causing long term issues in the way of neuronal changes. Avoiding sugar free versions of things and reading the neutron label of what you are reading is the best way to ensure that you are avoiding these additives. If it has a number attached to it, chances are its an artificial additive.
Having caffeine when you are already anxious is like throwing fuel onto a fire. It exacerbates the anxiety that is already being felt.
Reducing the caffeine will help to make your nervous system not as reactive, especially if you are finding that you’re relying on the caffeine to heavily.