‘I am just being Anxious’ or ‘this is just my Anxiety’ is something we all constantly tell ourselves. More often than never, we like to undermine our mental stress by naming it Stress and Anxiety. However, Anxiety is not just one condition. In fact, it is the root cause for many serious psychological, mental and physical health conditions. Getting to the root cause and treating anxiety is extremely essential as it may worsen into something far more serious and complicated.
“Anxiety is the feeling of apprehension and severely stressed over any probable, made-up or real cause”
- The condition manifests itself in different forms for different patients. The severity of anxiety episode depends on many factors such as gravity of the situation, mental strength and temperament, potential physical disorders and diseases etc.
- Treatment of anxiety is many folds. However, the main focus is to equip the patient to handle the anxiety episode without any foreign help.
- Therapy, well-balanced diet and adherence to one routine etc. are some of the various ways by which depression and anxiety can be handled.
What Anxiety does to your body:
Signs and symptoms of anxiety usually vary from mild to severe. The pain and trauma associated with an anxiety episode can cause serious physical damage such as heart conditions, hypertension, diabetes, epilepsy etc.
Some of the frequently observed symptoms are as follows:
- Elevated heart rate
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness
- Pain or tingling sensation in hands and feet
- Loss of appetite/ raised appetite
- Inability to concentrate properly
- Tension in the muscles or feeling lethargic
- Hot flushes and dry mouth
- Over sweating
Common types of Anxieties:
There are many different types of anxiety episodes depending upon the origin of the condition. They range from Phobias to Panic episodes.
Some of the common types are as follows:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive compulsory disorder related anxiety
- Phobias such as fear of height, flying, water, closed spaces, being left alone etc.
- Selective mutism
- Separation anxiety
- Social anxiety
How long can Anxiety last:
The duration of any anxiety episode depends on the cause and type of anxiety. However, usually a minor episode lasts for upto 30mins to an hour. However, there is no sure shot way to predict the duration of any episode. It could last from a few hours to upto days and weeks.
Foods that worsen the Anxiety:
Food and mental health go hand in hand. When it comes to treating any mental condition there is no ‘one kind of’ diet that can work for everyone universally. However, health professionals have been able to pinpoint towards a certain food groups that can damage the mental peace.
Some of these foods are as follows:
- Fried foods esp. deep-fried foods
- High sodium foods
- High sugar foods
- Processed meat and baked goods
- White flour products such as white bread
- High caffeine containing foods
- Artificial sweetening agents
- Carbonated and frizzy drinks
- Alcohol and other abusive drugs
Treating Anxiety with the food you eat:
The millennial minds of modern-day generation are coping with a lot of troubles such as a Pandemic, global warming, and social media presence. The mental health of nearly every person on planet earth have atleast once or twice took a serious hit amid all these very serious situations.
‘You become what you eat, so eat good and feel good’ is the most adapted mantra of todays’ times. Some of the foods that can significantly improve mental health are as follows:
Power up with Zinc:
Zinc has proved its worth time and time again w.r.t. mental health. It helps maintain poise and calm by strengthening the Vagus Nerve. Vagus nerve is linked to relaxed state of the body. In addition, Zinc being an essential micro nutrient; is required for optimum immunity of the body.
Foods containing Zinc are as follows:
- Beans such as green beans
- Kale, spinach, broccoli
Essence from Herbs:
Anxiety is largely linked to poor dietary habits. Although, in some cases the triggers and onset for anxiety aren’t just poor eating habits, but also the inability to cope with stressful scenarios. Therefore, scientists have long stressed on the intake of beneficial teas and essences from different calming herbs. Some of these herbs are as follows:
The antioxidants from the green tea are the army that our body needs to fight off those nasty free radicals. It also contains ample quantity of L-theanine. L theanine helps keep the body calm, relaxed and free from oxidative stress.
The infamous maypop or passion flower has been used for centuries as a calming agent. The herbal tea produced by passion flower helps reduce anxiety attack by folds. Its mode of action is rapid increase in Gaba aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitters in the brain. The consequent effect is relaxed state of mind.
Intake of lemon balm tea on a regular basis once or twice a day also helps improve anxiety symptoms. Patients report to have more mental strength and poise. It also increases the concentration of GABA neurotransmitters in the brain.
Make room for Magnesium:
Generally, we all tend to focus onto the proteins and carbs in our diet. However, we forget the vital role micronutrients such as magnesium & potassium play in our bodies. Following are some of the ways by which magnesium helps in treating Anxiety:
- Stimulate and influence hormonal pathways in the endocrine system. Low and high conc. of magnesium effects pituitary gland and adrenal gland secretions. It also effects hypothalamic and cortical stimulations in the brain.
- Low conc. of magnesium in cerebrospinal fluid also leads depression episodes concomitantly leading to anxiety disorders.
Foods containing magnesium are as follows:
- Coconut milk
- Chia seeds
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, fenugreek leaves
- Lima beans
- Okra and peas
- Brazil nuts
Oh my! Omegas:
Omega 3 and 6 are the gems that cannot be ignored and overlooked esp. when considering mental health. Omegas are the responsible for formation of brain cells particularly neurons. The neuronal fibers have fatty layer on them. Fats from omega make up this fatty layer. Thus, replenishing on omega rich diet on a daily basis can significantly reduce anxiety and stress symptoms.
Food rich in omega 3- and 6- polyunsaturated fatty acids are as follows:
- Nuts such as walnuts, almonds
- Winter squash
- Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds
Vitamin C to the rescue:
The beneficial effects of vitamin C or Ascorbic acid are innumerable. It is a strong antioxidant and keeps the body happy and recovered from inside out. Some of the benefits of vitamin C in treating anxiety are as follows:
- It acts as a strong antioxidant against oxidative stress. The oxidative stress can potentially cause severe mental issues such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s, depression and Anxiety.
- Prevents multifold health conditions by improving immunity, skin conditions, CVS diseases, sleep deprivation and other anxiety symptoms too.
Food rich in Vitamin C are as follows:
- Citrus fruits such as grape fruit, lemon, lime, oranges, tangerine etc.
- Berries such as raspberry, strawberry etc.
- Kiwi fruit
- Spinach, kale, broccoli
- Centrifugal Juicer
- 2 medium tangerines
- 1 navel orange
- ½ grapefruit
- ½ lime
- a sprinkle of lemon zest
- 1 cup cold water
Not all psychological or physical conditions are alike and therefore require specified treatments. It is essential to get proper diagnosis and treatment from a professional. But it is also important to try to provide our body with all the essential weaponry for a fight against all these diseases. Healthy and well-balanced diet is the weaponry esp. when it comes to fight against anxiety and depression. Let’s heal from inside out.