Something that my mother has always taught me is that diet contributes to everything. Your diet affects every part of your body, every condition you have, large or small. So your diet can help to reduce anxiety, but it can also help to make it worse.
I am no expert, but I’ve noticed through experience with my own symptoms and plenty of research that what I eat can either lessen or aggravate the anxiety I experience every day.
This list below goes over some diet changes, supplements and teas that could aid in reducing your anxiety. Remember I am not a health professional. This is only what has worked in my experience.
Reducing Anxiety Through Diet
Here’s a few eliminations and additions you could make to your diet that could help reduce anxiety. I know all of these eliminations could be hard to cut out of your diet completely. I’m not going to lie to you. I have trouble with it all the time, but there is really only benefits to eliminating these things from your daily diet.
Even just trying to lessen the amount you consume, instead of eliminating it cold turkey, will help.
1. No Caffeine
Caffeine is a biggie. I feel like the reasons are obvious, but caffeine can cause and worsen the amount of anxiety that you have. I haven’t had a cup of caffeinated coffee in years. I stopped the day I noticed it had literally made me shakey.
Let me tell you from experience, if you’re already anxious and try to have coffee while studying for a test, it will have quite the opposite effect you’re looking for.
So say no to your daily caffeinted coffee and energy drinks. Decaf coffee also still has a small amount of caffeine in it, so I tend to avoid it. Only once in a blue moon do I let myself have a small decaf coffee.
2. No Sugar
Another biggie. Sugar, like caffeine, gives you more energy and if you already have excess energy from anxiety, it’s only going to worsen the effects. Too much sugar will only do bad things. A sugar rush can actually mimic the symptoms of a panic attack.
This, I admit, has been very hard for me to eliminate from my diet completely since I clearly love baking yummy desserts, but I am slowly working day to day to try to reduce the amount of sugar I’m eating. I’m currently working on eliminating refined sugar from my diet and only using natural sweeteners (i.e. honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar) in what I make.
If you’re interested in trying a sugar free diet, I follow the candida diet when I feel I need a good detox.
3. Eat Less Processed Foods
This also has to do with sugar. A lot and I mean a lot of processed foods have added sugars in them. Us Americans love our sugar. So this will lead to your blood sugar having highs and lows, again mimicking and aggravating your anxiety symptoms.
Processed foods also have loads of chemicals and preservatives that are harmful to your body in addition to aggravating anxiety.
This means eat less packaged foods, less premade meals, less soda etc. Pretty much everything in a box at the supermarket is processed.
4. Eat Whole Foods and Stay Hydrated
This goes hand in hand with the eliminations, since you will naturally be eating healthier once you eliminate the amount of caffeine, sugar, and processed foods you are eating.
The literature says that eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of whole foods and staying hydrated could help lessen the symptoms of anxiety.
Supplements to Reduce Anxiety
There are the supplements I have incorporated into my daily routine to increase my overall health and prevent my anxiety from worsening. These might work for you too. Consider them a preventative and should be taken on a routine basis to have the anxiety reducing effects.
Studies suggest a diet high in foods that contain Zinc, Vitamin B, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids could be beneficial to reducing the symptoms of anxiety. If you aren’t eating enough foods that contain these vitamins and minerals, a supplement might help.
Not all multi-vitamins are alike, so do your research and/or ask your doctor for help in deciding.
3. Herbal Teas & Supplements
There is a list of herbs out there that are beneficial for your health as well as combating the symptoms of anxiety and depression. I’m just getting into herbs myself, but there is a lot you can do with them. You can make tinctures and teas yourself or buy them from an herbalist or trusted source.
Here’s just a few herbs that can help with reducing your anxiety: chamomile, lemon balm, lavender and valerian. If you don’t want to buy these herbs loose from an herb supplier, you can buy some tea at the supermarket. My favorite brand is Traditional Medicinals. My tea cabinet is stocked with it.
3. Essential Oils
Essential Oils are a great tool for to help reduce anxiety as well. Their smell can be used in many ways.
Lavender is one of the most calming smells on this planet. I really do feel myself starting to relax the minute I smell it.
An essential oil diffuser would release the scent throughout your home to create a calm atmosphere. You can also buy a few different oils and make some calming blends to put into your diffuser. Lavender, Orange and Frankincense smells lovely.
There are a couple other uses for essential oils in reducing anxiety. I carry around a lavender roll on oil with me. When I start to feel anxious, I roll some onto my wrists and put a dab under my nose.
There’s also an aromatherapy stress ball you can make yourself using a balloon, some flour and essential oils. Here’s the post, try it out!
I hope one of these options will help you the way they’ve helped me. Check out my Body & Mind posts for more posts on Anxiety and Stress reducing options.
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Disclaimer: I am not a trained health professional. These are practices that have helped me personally over the years. If you want professional advice, seek out a health care professional.