Meditate, do relaxation and breathing techniques, practise mindfulness, come to The Hub’s yoga classes… These are all excellent ways to help if you suffer from anxiety and nervousness. However, what you may not realise is that you could well be aggravating your anxiety with the food you eat. Not for nothing do we have expressions like ‘what’s eating you?’ and feeling anxiety ‘in the pit of the stomach’… there’s a direct link between our heads and our stomachs. Scientists are beginning to call our gut the ‘second brain’ because the health of our digestive tract has a direct influence on our moods and what’s going on in our heads. Anxiety even causes internal inflammation. So here are some foods for anxiety – they’re obviously not the whole answer to curbing that flutter in your stomach and buzz in the head, but they could help.
Foods for anxiety
- omega 3s. In oily fish such as salmon, sardines, anchovies and trout. Plus linseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds and hemp oil, flax oil, rapeseed oil and spiralling and other algae.
- B vitamins. In rice milk, meat and dairy products, oatmeal, whole grains, nuts and seeds especially sunflower seeds peanuts, sprouted pulses, engevita (yeast) flakes, miso, egg and spinach.
- magnesium and zinc. In wholegrain, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, seafood, avocados, black beans, bananas, pumpkin seeds and berries.
- turmeric: has been shown to reduce anxiety and even enhance the effects of some anti-depressants
- probiotics. These are probably the no1 anti-anxiety tool in our armoury. These friendly bacteria that populate the gut need to be nurtured. Natural probiotic sources are apple cider vinegar and fermented foods but it may be tricky to slip these into your food diary every day, so we recommend taking a probiotic. Neurotransmitters such as our ‘happy hormones’ dopamine and serotonin are made in the gut and these good bacteria help the transmission of these hormones. So a happy gut equals a happy mind.
- Anxiety can be cause by over-stimulated kidneys so keeping hydrated is essential. It is also worth trying therapeutic teas that calm the nervous system such as chamomile, linseed or lemon balm.
- Increasing good sources of protein and reducing carbohydrates can help keep blood sugars balanced. Sweet foods and carbohydrates can stimulate the adrenals which increase our anxiety. Cinnamon is rich in chromium with is helpful to balance blood sugar levels.
Constant anxiety, often for no reason, could be a sign of vitamin or mineral deficiencies, gut flora imbalance or food sensitivities that are causing the body to feel stressed. It might be worth considering a hair analysis test to find out if there are underlying imbalances.
On offer at The Hub
We recommend and stock a range of food supplements including Opti 3 capsules, a high-dose source of EPA and DHA derived not from fish (as is usual) but from marine plants; Nutri’s Eskimo range, B Vitamins and magnesium. Pop in any time for advice on these. Or book an appointment with our naturopathic nutritionist Rhi Hepple to discuss how you could improve your state of mind with your diet.