Anxiety and Diet -
Joanne Wilkinson

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How to use diet to treat anxiety!

The connection between the gut and the brain is astounding, you will notice that when you feel nervous or afraid you can feel butterflies in your stomach or feel nauseous, this is because of that connection. Stress and emotion cause unbalance in the gut, and an unhealthy gut causes stress, anxiety and depression, it can be a vicious cycle. Anxiety affects the gut by sending signals from the brain to the gut, digestion can be speeded up or slowed down, inflammation can be caused, and pain can be felt more prominently, or in other words these signals cause functional gastrointestinal symptoms.

A clean and healthy diet helps to manage anxiety and relieves symptoms, 95% of serotonin receptors (the happy hormone) are in the gut, so the health of the gut is imperative. Simple carbohydrates such as refined sugars and milk products cause blood sugar to peak and dip making a person feel on edge, these should be avoided along with processed foods, alcohol, sugar and caffeine. Foods that help to decrease anxiety symptoms are foods rich in magnesium such as leafy greens, legumes and nuts, these promote a feeling of calm, foods rich in zinc have proven to ease anxiety, Omega 3 Fatty Acids found in oily fish, probiotic rich foods, asparagus, foods rich in vitamin B, all promote the discharge of dopamine and serotonin making this a safe and accessible way of treating anxiety. A connection has been found between a low number of antioxidants in the body and anxiety, it is therefore recommended that antioxidant rich foods such as blueberries or good quality dark chocolate are included in an anti-anxiety diet. When you are feeling out of sync and anxious, boost your gut health to boost your mental health! Always check with a medical professional before making any drastic changes to your diet.