“Let food be thy medicine” – Hippocrates
The foods we consume have strong healing properties. Some of which our Naturopathic Doctor Dr. Katie Thomson Aitken touches on in her book, Create Calm. Certain foods can make anxiety worse rather than help to make it better:
- Sugar can worsen anxiety as it causes blood sugar to go up and then crash leaving you with jitteriness, lightheadedness, and uncomfortable feelings.
- Alcohol is another, it depletes glycogen, which is sugar stored in the liver, that is used to keep blood sugar balanced.
- Caffeine wakes up your adrenal glands and sends out adrenaline. It makes your heart rush, your body jittery, and your bowels move.
Some foods can help to ease anxiety symptoms as well! These foods include:
- Eggs contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps create serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, sleep, memory & behaviour.
- Pumpkin seeds are high in potassium which helps reduce symptoms of stress & anxiety.
- Dark chocolate is a good source of magnesium. Getting enough magnesium in your diet may reduce symptoms of stress & anxiety.
- Brazil nuts are high in selenium. Selenium may improve mood by reducing inflammation, which is often heightened when someone has a mood disorder such as anxiety.
Helpful Tip: Focus on what you can add to your diet rather than what to eliminate. Focus on what you can add to a snack/meal to make it more nutritious. Ex. Adding veggie toppings to your burger to get additional nutrients. Or when eating veggies as a snack add in some hummus or cheese for protein.
By Kelly Verstraete, CHA