Alright friends, it’s time for another anxiety tip…#2!
In my last post, tip #1, I shared the importance of recognizing when anxiety shows up. I’m hoping by now all of you have started taking notes in your journals with the points I mentioned, trust me friends, when you start noting the when, where and how things show up it becomes very clear.
So, tip two, the food you eat…
For those of you who have followed me for a while, you know I am a former obese woman. I was heavy for most of my growing up years into my early twenties. Although I have put back on a small amount of the weight, I have maintained a 130-pound weight loss for over two decades. And, darn proud of this one! What I didn’t know for many many years was how impactful the food I was eating was on my anxiety. What I also wasn’t aware of until the last couple years was the impact of food on depression.
Looking back to your journals for a moment, review if you have times your anxiety is sparked after eating. If it is, look at the foods you ate. Are there consistencies? Now I am no medical practitioner, but I can tell you, I have at least four foods I can think of quickly that spark my anxiousness and one of them is considered a “healthy food”. For a long time, I thought, well it’s because I don’t want to go backwards in my weight goals but considering I can eat a burger and sweet potato fries with no sign of anxiety I ruled that out quickly.
The four that impact me quickly, Roasted Almonds (raw almonds do not trigger me?). This one took me to a while to pinpoint but after tracking how my foods were making me feel it became very clear. The other three definitely make sense considering they are far from healthy foods, most refined sugars (of course I think we can all agree that sugars are not exactly good for us), pizza (I figured for a long time that this was due to the bread but bread in itself isn’t a trigger for me so it may be the high sodium content?) and Splenda. Oh, and most recently I was triggered quite significantly by what I thought was a healthy option for a protein bar.
What do the experts say, you ask? Well, from the research I found there are some consistencies but also some differences. The top that came out in all the articles I read:
Caffeine (I believe this one is all about moderation)
Refined Sugars-let’s face it, there is no part to refined sugars that are good for us and although I do believe it is OK to indulge on occasion be prepared for how it is going to make you feel
Aged, fermented or cultured foods
Soda (diet too) whether it is refined sugar or fake sugar they will impact you
Processed foods; additives, preservatives, flours and sugars are the primary drivers of this one
Gluten and toast were on a couple of the lists; as I mentioned earlier, this is one that I am not always impacted by
Dairy-this is another that had conflicting information which I will come back to. My recommendation be aware of yourself, your body and how you feel. I am triggered by some dairy and not by others.
Foods high in sodium-this is one I am newly watching as I had not been as in tune to it in the past. I may have more to come here.
If you are anything like me, you may be thinking, shit, what can I eat, right? Well, as I have said, pay attention to your body and how you feel, that is your biggest indicator.
Natural whole foods, grass fed meat, fruits and vegetables are always the healthiest options!
Finally, let’s look at the other side, what foods are good to reduce anxiety?
Turkey and foods high in tryptophan
Brazil nuts-let me tell you friends these nuts are yummy!! They contain Selenium which is good for improving mode and reducing inflammation
Beef and foods rich in Vitamin B
Fatty Fish-salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, and herring. These are all high in Omega 3 and good for mental health. My personal favorite on these is salmon, I can’t speak much for the taste of the other three.
Complex Carbohydrates-as you may recall I mentioned gluten in the triggers. Complex carbs such as whole grains, whole wheat bread or brown rice can help increase serotonin production in the brain helping mood.
Vitamin D! Yes, get more sun and supplement when you need to. If you struggle with depression in the winter check out sun lights, I recently learned of these and from what I have researched they mimic the sun light. More to come on these in a future post.
Eggs-great for vitamin D, Protein and serotonin
Pumpkin Seeds-good source of potassium and zinc
Dark Chocolate (higher percentage the healthier)
Tumeric-The active ingredient in Tumeric, Curcumin, may help reduce inflammation
Yogurt-as I mentioned earlier this one conflicts with the dairy mentioned earlier. Apparently, there is research on this that the bacteria is helpful for positive impact on the brain
So, there you have it friends, ideas and suggestions for what to avoid and what to try to balance you out from anxiety. We are NOT all created equally what one of you find to work well the other may be triggered by and vice versa.
Journal, pay attention to your body, and adjust until you find that sweet-spot with which foods are right for you!
Stay well my friends!