Anxiety is a common disorder with many contributing causes and factors however many of these are related to nutritional deficiencies. Today's’ fast passed lifestyle means food choices are full of highly processed, nutrient poor options often with simple sugars and carbs, further exacerbating the issue. Anxiety is the body’s normal defence response to danger or perceived danger also known as the “fight or flight response “and is activated by emotional stress. An anxiety disorder is seen when anxiety continues after the stressor has been removed, becomes an inappropriate response or extreme. Anxiety can be associated with:
Magnesium: Magnesium is an essential dietary mineral, often found depleted in Western diets and involved in large variety of biochemical reactions. Magnesium helps modulate stress and anxiety responses, lower blood pressure, improve glucose tolerance and reduce neuronal excitation. Foods high in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Copper/Zinc: Elevated copper levels and low zinc levels are associated with symptoms such as anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, brain fog, nervousness glucose imbalance and sexual dysfunction. Zinc is required to balance and support copper and healthy neurotransmitters levels in modulating mood. Copper can be elevated and zinc low with vegetarian and vegan diets. Foods high in zinc include pumpkin seeds, oysters, seafood, poultry, beef and lamb.
Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverage, following water which is not surprising due to its stimulating effects. Caffeine however can increase anxiety symptoms, headaches and restlessness. A 235ml brewed cup of coffee contains approximately 95-165mg of caffeine, black tea, approximately 25-48mg of caffeine and green tea, approximately 25-29mg of caffeine.
Its best to avoid caffeine or reduce it with anxiety as it can exacerbate symptoms of nervousness, jitters and restlessness such as elevated blood pressure and stress response such as elevating the stress hormones cortisol, noradrenaline and adrenaline.
A good quality organic green tea is a better option as the caffeine content is low, well tolerated by most people and full of health benefits including neuroprotection. It can also have a calming effect my reducing cortisol levels (see my blog on anti-inflammatories).
Diet: Anxiety and stress can cause blood glucose fluctuations by causing a rise and then a drop in levels resulting in an increase and exacerbation of anxiety symptoms. Foods such as high glycaemic index options and simple sugars can also cause this sharp rise in blood glucose and insulin levels. Increase complex carbs and fibre, focusing on fruits and vegetable sources, reduce sugary foods and beverages and focus on a whole food diet.
Please note: Supplementation must not be taken without professional instruction. Please contact a health care provider for further information prior to taking the mentioned supplements. To provide any suggestions of topics you would like covered by Melanie White natural Health Solutions contact me at mwnaturopath.com
References: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3738454/pdf/nmi-4-2011-001.pdf https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20049372 http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1984-31742-001 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2257922/pdf/nihms40260.pdf https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452159/