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What we put in our body can have a direct impact on
how we feel physically and emotionally. It is important to be aware of what
you are putting in your body and how some foods could actually be increasing
your experience of anxiety - especially if you are a sensitive person. Some
of the anxiety your experience may actually be due to particular stimulants
your are consuming, or deficiencies in particular vitamins and minerals.
The following information is extremely important in your overall recovery
program from anxiety. Think about your lifestyle and what you may be doing
that could be exasperating your anxiety. Bourne,E.J. in his book
Anxiety and Phobia Workbook',( 1995), outlines how
stimulants, salt, preservatives, hormones in meat, and sweet refined foods
can potentially exasperate your anxiety.
Caffeine coffee, tea, alcohol, coke stimulate an adrenal response in
your body, which can provoke anxiety, nervousness and insomnia to name a few
side effects. They also deplete the body of necessary vitamins and minerals that
help balance our mood and nervous system. Recommended dosage less than 100mg
per day (one cup of percolated coffee or two diet cola beverages per day. Less
than 50mg per day is preferable.
this is as strong as caffeine it stimulates increased physiological arousal,
vasoconstriction and makes your heart work harder. Smokers tend to be more
anxious than non-smokers and tend to sleep less well than non-smokers
beware of prescription drugs that contain caffeine and amphetamines, and
recreational drugs such as cocaine that increase levels of anxiety and panic
attacks in people using them.
Salt depletes the body of
potassium, a mineral important to the proper functioning of the nervous system.
Salt raises blood pressure that in turn puts a strain on the heart and arteries
and hastens arteriolosclerosis. Recommended dosage do not excess 1gm of salt
There are over 5000 chemical
additives in commercial food processing. Our bodies are not equipped to handle
these, and little is known about long term biological effects. Try and eat whole
unprocessed foods as much as possible. Try to purchase vegetables and fruit that
havent been treated with pesticides (organically grown).
Hormones in Meat
Most commercially forms of meat
have been fed hormones to promote fast weight gain and growth. One hormone
diethylstilbestrol (DES) has been implicated in the development of breast cancer
and fibroid tumors. Try to replace red meat, pork and poultry with organically
raised beef, poultry and fish such as cod, salmon, snapper, sole, trout.
Sweet, refined foods
Reduce intake of sweet refined foods as
these affect the blood sugar that can lead to anxiety and mood swings while also
affecting how the brain functions.
Ref: Bourne,E.J.,(1995) 'The Anxiety and Phobia
Workbook, p.333 -337 passim.
MSG from Chinese takeaway should
be avoided as it can have a major irritating effect on the nervous system
producing the following: headaches, tingling, numbness and chest pains.
Drink Soda Water
Soda water increases the levels
of carbon dioxide that helps the body to become balanced when someone is
hyperventilating. Soda water also decreases smooth muscle contractions and
dilates blood vessels, which allows blood to flow easily around the body.
Be aware to check for food
allergies as they can be one of the main causes of many emotional
Food to eat to reduce anxiety
and maintain calm state
Stressful Eating Habits
Stress and anxiety can be
aggravated not only by what you eat, but the way you eat. Any
of the following habits can aggravate your daily level of stress:
Eating too fast or on the run
Not chewing food at least 15-20 times per
Eating too much to the point of feeling
stuffed or bloated
Drinking too much fluid with a meal which can
dilute stomach acid and digestive enzymes (one cup with a meal is
These behaviours put strain on
your stomach and intestines in their attempt to properly digest and assimilate
food. This increases stress in two ways:
Directly through indigestion, bloating, and
Indirectly through malabsorption of essential
There are specific nutrients
which can decrease anxiety. These include:
muscle relaxation, maintenance of the heart muscle, neuromuscular transmission
and widening of the blood vessels. A
deficiency of magnesium can cause:
Cold hands and feet
B Complex Vitamins
these are the spark plugs for our body. They help provide energy by acting with
enzymes to convert major nutrients such as carbohydrates to energy forms. They
are important for the normal function of the nervous system and are helpful in
bringing relaxation or energy to individuals who are stressed or fatigued.
A deficiency of certain B vitamins will cause:
Loss of appetite
maintenance of electrolyte balance, muscle contractions, nerve transmission,
regulation of cell division, hormone secretion and bone and teeth
formation. A deficiency can cause:
The information in this second part of Nutrition has been provided by Janet Schloss, a qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist from Brisbane, Australia.
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