Saturday, February 2, 2013

Reduce or Eliminate Anxiety and Depression with Food!

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Anxiety is one of those things that can affect your life and day to day relationships. In many cases, where there is anxiety on a regular basis, there comes depression as well, and it seems that depression has the ability to keep you down for long, torturous periods of time if you don't get a grip on ways to get out from under its clutches. This article discusses various foods to increase in your diet that will help minimize anxiety and help alleviate depression.

See the list of foods below to include and those to avoid in your diet where it concerns anxiety and or depression!

   ***Please note though, that anxiety and depression should always have support by a doctor, and the idea of changing or adding to your diet may not be all you need, so I encourage you to talk to your doctor about additional support that may be necessary beyond food!

My Challenges with anxiety!
I must come clean here and let you know that I have struggled my entire life with Social Anxiety. I can't say that depression was always a secondary factor of my social anxiety, but as the years passed, and I aged, I find that I fall into short bouts of depression that are directly related to my social anxiety. I couldn't let this keep me down, and I had to find a way to function in every day life that didn't hurt!

I am sure you have viewed all of the new meds available for anxiety and depression on television with their terrifying lists of side effects and conditions that can occur with the use of these meds. To tell you the truth, I am absolutely convinced that if it can will happen to me, so I can't see myself taking a treatment for one problem, just for the possibility of more severe problems.

I decided to do some research a while back, of the foods I was already eating and those foods that could potentially help lower my levels of anxiety. To my surprise, this change in diet and eating habits really worked for me. Although it has been difficult incorporating my new diet into my families meals, I feel much more at ease in social situations when I incorporate or remove items from the two lists below. I have continually strived to be more consistent with this plan because I felt so much better when I did test this theory.

Foods to add to your diet to reduce stress and anxiety:
  • Tryptophan Rich Foods- “Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, and serotonin, a neurotransmitter, helps you feel calm,” says San Francisco nutritionist Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, a spokesman for the American Dietetic Association.
    • Turkey
    • Chicken 
    • Bananas
    • Milk
    • Oats
    • Cheese 
    • Soy 
    • Nuts
    • Peanut butter 
    • Sesame seeds
  • Foods Rich in Vitamin B- Try a B-12 supplement as well. Studies show that vitamin B deficiencies cause depression in some.
    • Beef 
    • Pork 
    • Chicken 
    • Leafy greens 
    • Legumes 
    • Oranges and other citrus fruits 
    • Rice 
    • Nuts 
    • Eggs
  • Whole Grains- Try the switch to whole wheat breads and brown rice and avoid the whites! The processed carbs offer only a quick fix of energy and you are left feeling down in no time.

  • Omega 3 fatty acids- Found in fatty fish and also great for heart health to include more.

  • Proteins- “The ideal for mood-boosting,” Villacorta says, “is to combine complex carbohydrates and protein, and to spread your meals throughout the day.”

    • Greek yogurt 
    • Fish 
    • Meats 
    • Cheese 
    • Eggs 
    • Nuts 
    • Beans 
    • Soy  
    • Lentils
Foods to AVOID in your diet that can cause anxiety and depression:

  • Caffeine- Inhibits levels of serotonin in the brain.
  • Candy/sweets- Including those containing table sugar, honey or corn syrup
  • Alcohol- Have 1 glass of wine instead of a bottle :)
  • Hot dogs- and other processed foods and sweets.

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