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Author Topic: Diet: Don't want to feed my anxiety...  (Read 345 times)

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Offline MobileChucko

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Diet: Don't want to feed my anxiety...
« on: December 07, 2013, 12:34:33 PM »
Hi everyone...  Well, we are right in the middle of the holiday season, and my GAD is back.  My doctor started me on a new med a few weeks ago, but I know that takes time to work.  I also know that getting my anxiety back under control, is not as simple as just taking medication.  Like an insurance policy, I want to do everything I can to keep the anxiety in its box.  I know that my eating habits are far from balanced, and this time of the year, with all the holiday eats and treats, things can get much worse with me.  I am really open to any suggests of what to eat to support my weakened state, and what to avoid as well.  Thanks for your help...  Chuck
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Offline fearnot

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Re: Diet: Don't want to feed my anxiety...
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2013, 01:03:55 PM »
Foods to avoid would be:

caffeine
too much salt (you only need between 1.5 to 3 teaspoons a day)
chili or spicy powders
alcohol
refined sugar and wheat aka "gut glues" (baked goods, cakes, cookies, white bread, pasta, granola, muffins, etc)
refined soy (soy milk, tofu, soybean oil)
industrial seed oils (canola oil, rice bran oil etc)
dairy if lactose sensitive
too many legumes, nuts and seeds - avoid peanuts
junk food
fast food
candy

Foods to eat (these contain GABA, theanine and tryptophan boosters):

Water (even the slightest dehydration triggers anxiety warning bells)

Low carbohydrate, alkaline-forming vegetables eg. asparagus, bamboo shoots, beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbages, capsicum/bell peppers, carrots, celery, cauliflower, chard, chicory, choy sum, collards, cucumber, eggplant/aubergine, en choy, endive, escarole, gai lan, garlic, green beans, horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, New Zealand spinach, okra, onions, peas, pumpkin, radish, rutabagas, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tatsoi, turnips, and watercress.

Low carbohydrate, alkaline-forming fruits eaten “just ripe” are best for anxiety, such as apples, apricots, avocados, berries, cherries, coconut, currants, grapefruit, grapes, guavas, kiwi fruit, kumquats, lemons, limes, loquats, lychees, nectarines, oranges, passion fruit, peaches, pears, persimmons, rhubarb, sapotes, strawberries and tomatoes.

Nori (seaweed) is great for iodine and potassium, calcium, vitamins A, B1, C and E.

Lemon balm, rosemary, thyme and sage are natural anxiety and stress relievers in terms of herbs. Ginger for spices, and chamomile, lavender and dandelion in terms of edible flowers.

Mushrooms are great for B vitamins, selenium, copper, and potassium.

Meat with fat (not lean) and offal (livers!) are awesome for zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus, niacin, vitamin B6, choline, riboflavin and iron. A number of forms of meat are also high in K2. Grass-fed is best.

Seafood provides high-quality protein, including oil-rich fish like salmon as great sources of Omega-3 oils as well as shellfish being particularly good for zinc.

Healthy fats and oils to use for cooking include avocado oil, butter, coconut oil, ghee, lard, macadamia oil, olive oil, schmaltz and tallow.   

Bone broths (or soups with bones, especially marrow bones) are great for those suffering anxiety and from acid reflux, IBS, or FODMAPS intolerance. The glycine found in bone broths is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning that it helps you relax and improves sleep quality.

Eggs provide several vitamins and minerals, including vitamina A, B, D and E, choline, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Especially high in Omega-3 fatty acids, they are an excellent source of energy for anxiety sufferers.

Raw, fermented, full-fat dairy is probably best, such as cultured butter, yogurt, kefir, clotted milk, and aged cheese (gouda, cheddar). Full-fat, organic dairy would be next best while avoiding homogenised milk if you can.

Fermented foods and drinks to try out are sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, coconut yogurt and tempeh. While helping balance your gut flora, many fermented foods increase the amount of B vitamins present, which is especially beneficial to anxiety sufferers.

Some nuts and seeds that are good are almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, chia seeds, flax seeds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pepitas, pine nuts, pistachios, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts.
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Offline MITRush

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Re: Diet: Don't want to feed my anxiety...
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2013, 02:02:37 PM »
The above list is very good, and I don't mean to undermine it, but something to think about.

Say your problem was only generalized anxiety/ panic, which mine was, as diagnosed by your healthcare professional.  There are foods that will over-energize your nervous system, and there are foods that will help to restore some level of balance.  However, I noticed at some point that I was making myself anxious when I ate something sugary- it wasn't the sugar doing it.  If I was around friends eating sugar, I wouldn't notice and think later, "hmm, those sugary treats didn't affect me like they usually do."  This goes for all kinds of things.  I'm not saying not to eat healthy, as I try to when I can, but I made it a point to note that it wasn't the food that was giving me the symptoms, it was my attitude of fear toward not eating healthy/ sufficiently.  It's that attitude of fear that keeps the anxiety alive.

One thing I try to do, not for anxiety, but for my body and well-being in general, is to eat pumpkin seeds and spinach a few times a week for the magnesium and zinc.  But if I don't, no big deal.  You said you want to keep anxiety "in its box."  The way to stop feeding it is to let it out to the best of your ability, to let it do whatever it wants to, because you want your mind to know that there actually is no problem, it's just over-sensitization.
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Offline fearnot

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Re: Diet: Don't want to feed my anxiety...
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2013, 02:54:45 PM »
Been pointed out that I forgot bananas. They are great too - being natural beta-blockers.

MITRush is right about the sugar, so long as sugars like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup are kept as a 'treat' as said and not eaten as a whole food group.

Sugar is iffy for people who are sensitive to it - and in an anxiety state, we tend to be hypersensitive to anything and everything.

When we eat sugar, and it's ‘burned’ along with oxygen to produce energy in our body, our pancreas secretes insulin to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. When our blood-insulin levels rise, this triggers an increase in the level of endorphin, a ‘feel-good’ brain chemical. Yet when the effects of a sugar ‘high’ wears off, the effect of insulin stays, causing a negative mood swing. When endorphins are low, people then feel anxious and also more aware of pain, and so they might eat more sugars to feel better or crave for fatty foods, such as fries, pizza, potato chips and burgers. Then you are stuck in a sugar spike and crash loop - an anxiety rollercoaster.
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Offline CarrieAnn

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Re: Diet: Don't want to feed my anxiety...
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2013, 03:55:52 PM »
Fearnot, great information! I recently found out that I am allergic to wheat so I have eliminated all gluten from my diet. I try to eat a healthful diet, and have pretty much all my adult life. I do believe in everything in moderation though. Sometimes nothing makes me happier than a chewy, chocolate brownie or cookie dough ice cream :)

Something interesting, in my worst bout of anxiety a few years ago I wouldn't eat breakfast before I went out (normally I would have had breakfast) and in skipping it my anxiety was soooo much worse. I recently started eating breakfast again before I go out and I am much calmer now. 

My advice is, eat meals at regular intervals. Have healthy snacks in between. Drink lots of water. Keep your diet well balanced. And having the occasional splurge is ok :)
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Offline Nann James

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Re: Diet: Don't want to feed my anxiety...
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2013, 05:15:05 PM »
I have been suffering from anxiety badly lately. It is most certainly related to the poor diet I have been eating since I went off active dieting. But, I also feel like the dieting / working on eating healthier took up a large portion of my time and thus cutting that out... gave me so much more time to worry about *stuff*.

So eating more healthy will give you more to do... and more to focus on.
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Offline Kissa

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Re: Diet: Don't want to feed my anxiety...
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 08:16:04 PM »
The past few months, I have been trying anything and everything to get my anxiety under control without any further help. I used to live on energy shots/coffee/soda when I worked as a 911 dispatcher. (Yes, that is an anxiety ridden job, I had to quit) Now I've managed to pare down my caffeine usage to next to nothing. However, I am still stuck on decaf soda. I do drink coffee but 99% of the time its decaf.

I'm convinced that it is helping, but not near enough to make things better!
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