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Eat up that anxiety?

No changes in diet (other than, perhaps, a massive reduction in coffee intake!) are going to have a dramatic affect on symptoms of an anxiety disorder, but making small changes to the way you eat can help a lot when you combine this and other lifestyle modifications with other doctor prescribed anxiety treatments.

According to doctors at the Mayo Clinic, here are 6 nutritional strategies to help minimize the symptoms of anxiety:

  1. No more coffee! Avoid consuming caffeine, so either minimize your consumption, or even better, avoid coffee entirely. Caffeine stimulates your brain and can increase feelings of anxiety.
  1. Forget the Atkins diet! Eat plenty of carbohydrates that will in turn stimulate the production of serotonin in the brain. Eating a carbohydrate rich meal can create feelings of peace and well-being, so fill your days with healthy whole grain foods. Try bran muffins, real whole wheat bread, brown rice and others.
  1. Happy Hour is a no-no – minimizing your consumption of alcohol is an effective way to reduce anxiety symptoms. Alcohol may initially quell anxiety, but can cause worsened symptoms as it wears off. Heavy alcohol use can interfere with the effectiveness of medications, increase the severity of symptoms and lead to anxiety provoking withdrawal symptoms. Not to mention the anxiety of hangovers.
  1. Stay hydrated – a loss of fluids can leave you more vulnerable to symptoms of anxiety
  1. Eat often – don’t skip breakfast, in fact eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and a couple more small meals in between. Keeping your blood sugar stabilized with frequent small portions of healthy food can also stabilize mood.
  1. Make tryptophan an “essential” daily nutrient. Tryptophan is found in foods such as cheese and milk, whole grains, sesame and sunflower seeds, beans and rice, amongst many others. This nutrient is an essential precursor of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin.
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Page last updated Aug 01, 2012

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