Far too many of us underestimate the power of a proper diet in treating anxiety.
Nutritionist Catia Ruthner (W Estética & Spa) cannot emphasize this fact enough and wants to share some tips and advice on how to receive the nutrition you need:
1) Which foods should we be looking for?
Foods rich in vitamin C decrease the secretion of the cortisol hormone. Triggered by the body's experience of a stressful stimulation, the adrenal gland releases cortisol in an attempt to make sure that the feelings of stress and anxiety reach all parts of the body. By eating foods with vitamin C, you are promoting the proper functioning of the nervous system thus increasing the feeling of well-being.
Examples: Orange, acerola, lemon, kiwi.
Foods rich in tryptophan reduce the symptoms of anxiety affecting the brain. Amino acids increase the production of serotonin (AKA the happiness hormone), and thus increase feelings of relaxation and well-being. I would suggest two servings of tryptophan-rich foods a day.
Examples: Poultry, eggs, cheese, oil-seed, fish, peas, banana.
Foods rich in omega-3 (AKA the good fat) help reduce anxiety symptoms because they are rich in EPA and DHA - the fatty acids that improve brain function.
Examples: Tuna, salmon, sardines, flaxseed, chia.
Vitamin B-rich foods, especially B6, B12 and folic acid, are very important for the nervous system because they participate in the production of serotonin.
Examples: Beans, milk, eggs, yogurt, brown rice, oats, green vegetables, bananas, liver.
Magnesium-rich foods will improve sleep quality and blood circulation, and are thus also crucial to improving one's well-being.
Examples: Banana, avocado, whole grains.
2) Which foods should we avoid?
Sugar and sweets in general, alcohol and other beverages such as sodas and processed juices, refined flours (cakes, breads and biscuits) and highly-saturated fast foods. All of these should be avoided as much as possible.
3) What makes these foods so great?
I always emphasize to my patients that a healthy and balanced diet is one of the keys to appeasing the harmful effects of anxiety on our health. Foods rich in tryptophan, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B, antioxidants and omega-3 are crucial to both physical and mental well-being.
4) So, just how important is food in the treatment of anxiety?
I believe that food re-education is the key to many diseases of the body and soul. We need to take a more conscious look at what we eat and our body will respond in a very positive way. So always make good food choices.
I believe that re-educating people about food will change the way that we, as a society, choose to fight many of the diseases afflicting the body and the soul. We need to be more conscious about what we eat and, I can assure you, our bodies will respond in a very positive way.
My ultimate advice: try to always make good food choices.