Most of us think that anxiety is simply a mental or emotional distress. What we do not know is that this is also caused by some physiologic imbalances like dietary problems. The body and mind are strongly connected to each other, and they are working in synchronicity. It means that when the body fails to function, the mind could be dramatically affected, and vice versa.
Studies have shown that those who suffer from chronic anxiety are actually having imbalanced nutrition or deficits in their nutritional intake. This is the one causing mental and emotional distress.
In order to alleviate anxiety, you must learn to modify your diet. Take in foods that can increase your gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA). It is an amino acid that functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and spinal cord. It helps calm down and stabilize the mood and is linked with the production of endorphins or also known as the happy hormones.
Foods that can help increase GABA are mostly from the group of complex carbohydrates. These include brown rice, potato, spinach, banana, mackerel, whole wheat, almonds, orange and broccoli. However, these foods do not contain GABA but glutamic acid, which catalyzes GABA synthesis.
Anxiety is said to be caused by imbalances in the brain chemicals or neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. This is the reason why serotonin is always included in anxiety-related article like this one.
Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that helps control mood, sleep, and pain perception. In order to increase the level of serotonin, one must consume tryptophan-rich foods such as turkey, red meat, fish, milk and dairy products, nuts, banana, oats and dried dates. Tryptophan is a necessary precursor of several prominent biomolecules including serotonin and niacin.
Speaking of niacin (Vitamin B3), this can also help relieve anxiety because of its ability to lower cortisol levels. Increased levels of cortisol, also called the stress hormone, causes insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, impaired concentration, fears and phobias, social withdrawal, and feelings of hopelessness. Niacin can be found in a variety of foods including liver, poultry, meat, fish, cereal, peanuts and legumes.
Another very beneficial nutrient that can help combat anxiety is the famous Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C). Most of us think that Vitamin C is only effective against colds or flu, but this is the time that we correct our misconception.
Vitamin C deficiency weakens our ability to fight stress and thus increases our susceptibility to anxiety. People with a high level of Vitamin C are able to respond quickly to stressful situations than those with low Vitamin C level. Very reputable sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, tangerines, and limes. Other reliable sources are tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, cabbage, and papaya.
Even the most extravagant vehicle in the world requires fuel to run smoothly, and so does the brain. In order for it to function at its optimum, proper nutrition must always be attained. All the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and our jam-packed schedule should never be an excuse to take our health for granted. Health should always be put on a pedestal, albeit difficult sometimes.