In episode 4 we delved into how to untangle yourself from thoughts so that the no longer have a control over you and your actions. In this episode we’re going to take a bit of a break from mindfulness practice to focus on nutrition, in particular how to calm anxiety with food.
More and more research indicates that diet affects mental health. Now, the research examining diet has focused more so on generalized anxiety and depression than social anxiety specifically, but I think there are definitely some lessons we can gleam from these studies that are certainly applicable to social anxiety, too.
Find out the specifics by listening to this episode…
- Processed foods increase reactive oxygen species, causing oxidative stress that may contribute to the development of anxiety.
- Reactive hypoglycaemia is when there is an excess fall in blood glucose (blood sugar) levels that causes your body to compensate by releasing epinephrine and norepinephrine (sometimes also referred to as adrenalin and noradrenalin). It also triggers the “flight or fight” response, which itself can manifest as anxiety, palpitations, sweating, tiredness, depression, forgetfulness, nervousness, poor concentration and irritability.
- Eat foods that have a low glycemic index.
- Excessive caffeine intake can cause symptoms that are indistinguishable from those of anxiety disorders like nervousness, irritability, insomnia and palpitations. And research shows that people with anxiety tend to be more susceptible to the anxiety-inducing effects of caffeine.
- Consider doing a 3 or 4 week trial of completely avoiding caffeine – coffee, regular tea, chocolate – to determine if caffeine is a contributing factor to your anxiety or not.
- Long term alcohol use can reduce levels of critical nutrients needed for brain function, such as B vitamins. Treatment of alcohol use in patients with SAD has been shown to reduce anxiety levels.
- Anxiety has been reported to be one of the adverse effects of the artificial sweetener aspartame. Avoid artificial sweeteners.
- Ruling out the possibility of food allergies and intolerances is an essential step to take when investigating underlying causes of SAD.
Testing to consider:
- Kryptopyrrol to rule out the possibility of pyroluria
- Food intolerance testing
- Celiac panel if suffering from digestive symptoms
- Glucose tolerance test to rule out hypoglycemia
You can download a copy of this episode’s transcript by clicking here.
Choose one of the areas discussed in this episode and work solely on that. The one that you believe if you were to change could make the most impact in your life and how you feel.
If you know that you probably drink too much coffee, start weaning off of it. If you know you eat drink too many soft drinks start with cutting those out of your diet. If you know you aren’t having a source of protein with each meal and each snack start by adding more healthy protein into your diet.
I’d love to hear how you make out with the changes you make… please let me know by leaving a comment below.
Then, when you’re ready, I invite to join me for episode 6…
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