A Natural Approach To Health
Eating For Anxiety
We had a question the other day about anxiety.
Anxiety disorder is fairly common.
It can affect people at any age and can be either acute or chronic.
Acute anxiety disorder usually shows up in panic attacks.
A panic attack is where your body’s natural “fight or flight” reaction happens at the wrong time.
This stress causes your body to make more adrenaline.
The increased adrenaline makes your body increase its metabolism to quickly create energy for your body to use.
In addition, your muscles tense, and heartbeat and breathing become more rapid.
Even your blood changes slightly, making it more prone to clotting.
In the face of a threat like an assault, an accident, or a natural disaster, this type of reaction is perfectly normal and helpful for survival.
At other times, these symptoms can be distressing and frightening.
If you’re having a panic attack you’re often overwhelmed by a sense of impending disaster or death, which makes it impossible to think clearly.
Other feelings include shortness of breath; a smothering, claustrophobic sensation; heart palpitations; chest pain; dizziness; hot flashes and/or chills; trembling; numbness or tingling in your extremities; sweating; nausea; a feeling of unreality; and a distorted perception of the passage of time.
Panic attacks are usually abrupt and intense.
They can occur at any time of the day or night, lasting from several seconds up to half an hour, though it often feels like they’re much longer.
The attacks themselves are very unpredictable; some people experience one every few weeks, while others may have several a day.
They’re often triggered by stress or certain emotions, but may also be a response to certain foods, drugs, or illness.
Some attacks happen with no apparent cause.
Many people with acute anxiety disorder become fearful of being alone and of visiting public places because they fear having a panic attack.
For years, panic attacks were considered a psychosomatic phenomenon.
But, repeated studies have shown the disorder has a real, physical basis.
Experts believe panic attacks are caused mainly by a malfunction in brain chemistry with the brain sending and receiving false “emergency signals.”
Panic attacks are now recognized as a potentially disabling but treatable condition.
Chronic anxiety is a milder, more generalized form of this disorder.
Many sufferers feel a vague sense of anxiety much of the time, but the intensity of the feeling doesn’t reach the levels of those in an actual panic attack.
They may feel chronically uneasy, especially in the presence of other people, and tend to startle easily.
Headaches and chronic fatigue are common among people with this form of the disorder.
Generalized anxiety disorder can begin at any age, but the onset typically occurs in your 20’s or 30’s.
To deal with anxiety it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily.
*A body under stress is more vulnerable to free radical damage. Bilberry and milk thistle are rich in flavonoids to neutralize free radicals. Milk thistle also protects your liver.
*Catnip, cramp bark, hops, kava kava, linden flower, motherwort, passionflower, and skullcap promote relaxation and help prevent panic attacks.
*Fennel relieves anxiety-related stomach upset, reduces flatulence and abdominal tension, and relaxes your large intestine. It’s most effective when taken as a tea, before or after meals, and has no known side effects. Lemon balm and willow bark also soothe stomach distress.
*Skullcap and valerian root can be taken at bedtime to promote sleep and help prevent panic attacks at night.
*Mandarin oil can help alleviate the oppressive feelings of anxiety and depression. It can be rubbed on your skin, added to bathwater, or used in massage or aromatherapy. Try diffusing 5 drops of mandarin oil along with 3 drops of bergamot oil in an aroma lamp to relieve stress.
*Include in your diet apricots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, broccoli, brown rice, dried fruits, dulse, figs, fish (especially salmon), garlic, green leafy vegetables, legumes, raw nuts and seeds, soy products, whole grains, and yogurt. These foods provide valuable minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, which are depleted by stress.
*Try eating small, frequent meals rather than the normal 3 meals a day.
*Limit your intake of animal protein. Concentrate on meals high in complex carbohydrates and vegetable protein.
*Avoid foods containing refined sugar or other simple carbohydrates. Your diet should contain no simple sugars, carbonated soft drinks, tobacco, or alcohol.
*Don’t consume coffee, black tea, cola, chocolate, or anything else containing caffeine.
*Keep a food diary to find correlations between your attacks and the foods you eat.
*Learn relaxation techniques. Biofeedback and meditation can be very helpful.
*Get regular exercise. Any type of exercise will work – a brisk walk, bicycle riding, swimming, aerobics, or whatever fits your individual lifestyle. After a few weeks of regular exercise, most people notice an improvement in anxiety symptoms.
*Be sure to get enough rest.
*Learn breathing techniques to help manage an acute attack.
*Call a trusted friend or family member. Talking things over can diffuse anxiety.
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