Racing thoughts, worry or fear, nervousness, a feeling of having little to no control, racing heart, trouble breathing, muscle aches or muscle tightness, sweaty palms and sleep disturbances…these are all different symptoms and signs that our body and minds are experiencing anxiety. For some of us, it’s a temporary and situational thing (like a big exam coming up, an important decision to make, or current relationship turmoil). However, for others the anxiety may be long lasting and a part of everyday life. Luckily, there are different nutritional, lifestyle, and supplemental interventions you can use to help tame that anxiety! So here are some facts and ideas to help you:
Studies have shown that those with anxiety may have low levels of the following and may benefit from supplementation.
- GABA (neurotransmitter)
- Tryptophan (amino acid)
- Essential fatty acids
- B vitamins
- Vitamin D (think SEATTLE!)
- Additionally: probiotics
Talk with your nutritionist today about how how to incorporate these into your daily routine!
There are also dietary factors that can be very beneficial for reducing anxiety:
Caffeine: cut back on the caffeine! Not only can excessive caffeine intake mimic anxiety symptoms, but studies have also shown that those with anxiety are actually MORE sensitive to the effects of caffeine. So try and ditch that morning coffee for something different like warm water with lemon or an herbal tea!
Reactive hypoglycemia: simply put, when your blood sugar drops your body goes into panic mode…or what is more commonly known as fight or flight. This can feel and look a lot like anxiety: palpitations, sweating, hunger, and irritability. So make sure you are feeding yourself small and frequent meals throughout the day to keep that blood sugar balanced.
What else can I do? Aside from food and supplements, below are some lifestyle changes you can make to keep your mind, body and spirit feeling balanced and centered in our chaotic day to day world:
Eat Breakfast! Start your day and blood sugar off with a high protein meal
Exercise 21 minutes. 21 minutes is about how long it can take for exercise to decrease your anxiety. No need for a gym either! Find a steep hill to walk to really get your blood pumping.
ahhhhh….breathwork. Try experimenting with different breathing techniques that work to calm the sympathetic nervous system.
Get outdoors. A walk outdoors for at least 20 minutes has been shown to decrease our stress hormones.
Mindfulness. Practice being in the moment, with curiosity and non-judgement. It’s like a muscle, the more you can practice this, the stronger it gets
By Brooke Brandeberry, MS, CN, LMHCA
Gaby, Alan. (2011). Nutritional Medicine. Concord, Fritz Perlberg Publishing.
Korn, Leslie. (2016). Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health. New York, W.W. Norton & Company. Inc.
Image source: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/14-people-anxiety-depression-theri-significant-friends-family