Beyond Stress...and article about dealing with stress and anxiety.
Proper diet is enormously helpful in controlling anxiety. One reason is “the only way the brain can get its raw ingredients is through the diet,” says Emmons.
Another factor is the harmful feedback loop between sugar and cortisol. “One of the jobs of cortisol is to make you hungry for foods that quickly replenish glucose. If people keep eating high-sugar foods that increase their cortisol levels, it becomes a vicious cycle,” Emmons explains.
Poor diet also stirs up unhealthy levels of inflammation. “With anxiety, one of the problems in the brain is that it becomes overactive. Inflammation tends to overactivate the body and that includes the brain,” says Emmons.
Chronic inflammation also ties into cravings for sweets. That leads to excess fat accumulation, “usually in the middle of the body. That abdominal fat produces more stress hormones,” Emmons notes.
In addition to reducing or eliminating consumption of sugar, refined carbohydrates and fried foods (along with caffeine and artificial sweeteners), Emmons suggests eating a wide variety of unprocessed, organic foods, particularly complex carbohydrates and colorful fruits and vegetables. (He recommends the crucifers, a vegetable family that includes broccoli and cabbage, for their detoxifying effects.)
Your diet should also include cold-water fish for their omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to reduce both inflammation and anxiety (Brain, Behavior and Immunity 11/11).
Emmons recommends supplements that help build a more resilient brain. They include a high-quality multivitamin or B-complex; vitamin D, low levels of which have been linked to depression; the minerals calcium, magnesium and zinc; and the herb rhodiola, which helps with not only anxiety but also energy levels and mental focus.
Other herbs that can take the edge off of nervousness include passionflower, eleuthero, chamomile and hops.
Emmons also suggests supplements such as GABA, a calming brain chemical; L-theanine, a green tea compound that promotes both calm and focus; 5-HTP, which helps with both anxiety and depression; and NAC, a potent antioxidant.
According to a study in the October 2010 issue of Nutrition Journal, “nutritional and herbal supplementation is an effective method for treating anxiety and anxiety-related conditions.” (Speak to your practitioner before starting any supplementation program if you are taking medication for anxiety or depression.)
Full Article: http://energytimes.com/pages/features/1204/anxiety.html