How to Curb Your Anxiety- with Food

I'm reading a fascinating book called The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution by Trudy Scott, CN. It is full of real life stories of people managing, reducing, and in some cases eliminating anxiety by choosing to eat different types of foods. It also has a ton of helpful explanations about how and why foods are correlated with anxiety.

Let food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.
— Hippocrates

Now, let me say one thing right away- I am all about enjoying food. Preparing and sharing a meal is great for your relationships AND your tastebuds. Foods that include gluten, sugar, and fat are... delicious. Totally eliminating entire food groups is not what I advocate. However, there also happens to be a growing pile of research suggesting that certain foods can make anxiety worse. There's also lots of evidence for the relationship between your gut and your brain. I'll leave the heavy duty research to the scientists, and present to you a few food suggestions to help your anxiety:

  1. Scott points out that having too little zinc and vitamin B6 is correlated with anxiety. Try adding seafood- fresh fish or oysters! Not into that? How about some carrots, red meat, or Gouda cheese?
  2. Add some tasty yogurt or kimchi to your diet. A new study is showing that eating fermented foods has a positive effect on social anxiety, particularly in young adults.
  3. Of course I couldn't forget about caffeine. Have you noticed more anxiety symptoms (pounding heart, sense of dread, upset stomach) after having too much caffeine? Everyone has a different caffeine tolerance- what might make you feel a little jittery could make someone else feel on the verge of a panic attack. My recommendation is to reduce your caffeine intake and then just notice how you feel. Once you have a good idea how much you can tolerate, try sticking to those guidelines to help your anxiety.

Are you ready to make some life changes? Changing your diet is a great first step. Cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based therapies are also excellent, evidence-based treatments for anxiety. Click here to get started with a counseling appointment- I look forward to hearing from you!