Anxiety is a common emotion that people feel when something is bothering them. It could be about their family, friends, work or even themselves. Anxiety is triggered by a variety of factors. While the feeling usually goes away eventually, there are people whose reaction is persistent and overwhelming.
What exactly is anxiety, what causes it and could diet and fitness help reduce its effects?
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion that is brought on by being worried or feeling tense. It can be triggered by recurring concerns. Once the anxiety reaches its pinnacle, it can affect a person’s day-to-day life.
What Causes Anxiety?
It is uncertain what exactly triggers anxiety disorders. Sometimes, only one trigger is necessary. Others may need more than one trigger to consider their situation severe.
Some of the possible causes of anxiety include environmental factors, family history, medical condition, brain condition and drug withdrawal. Other studies point out that one’s diet and fitness can also increase the severity of anxiety.
What Dietary Triggers Should you Avoid?
Studies have shown that there are certain types of food that can trigger severe anxiety. Here are some of the dietary triggers you should avoid:
People often take caffeine to kick-start their day and give them a boost of energy. However, this should not be taken by those with anxiety disorders because it can intensify anxiety symptoms. It can trigger panic attacks and increase bouts of nervousness. Physical symptoms can also be seen in anxiety sufferers such as shaking and trembling.
If you cannot live without caffeine in your life, it is essential to decrease your intake gradually. Doing it immediately can only lead to withdrawal symptoms and aggravate anxiety.
Alcohol and Sugary Treats or Drinks
Like caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks or treats can also cause problems for people with anxiety. They can lead to nervousness and sleep disruptions, as well as increase the onset of mood swings. They will also feel weak and unable to do their activities. Physical symptoms may also become prominent with more intake of these substances.
Foods high in MSG
MSG or monosodium glutamate is a common food additive added to food to give it extra flavour. However, those with anxiety disorders will have to avoid these foods to prevent aggravating their anxiety attacks. Aside from mood swings, panic attacks and sleep disruptions, food high in MSG can induce dizziness and sweating.
Anti-Anxiety Food to Include in Your Diet
If there are foods which can trigger anxiety, there are also foods you can eat more of to help keep your anxiety down. Here are some examples of anti-anxiety food you can add to your diet.
Salmon, trout, herring and sardines are known to have high omega 3 – a fatty acid that can help with cognitive development. It can also help regulate your brain’s neurotransmitters and prevent inflammation.
Egg yolks are also considered an anti-anxiety food you can include in your diet. Egg yolks have high vitamin D and protein levels, which helps with development.
It also contains an amino acid known as tryptophan that helps create serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can improve one’s memory, behavior and mood. It is also said that it is capable of improving brain health and reduce anxiety.
Several studies indicate that dark chocolate can help reduce stress and improve one’s mood. It is high in polyphenols which reduces brain inflammation and improve blood circulation levels. It can also improve serotonin production.
Turmeric is often used as a spice for Indian and Asian cooking. Studies show that turmeric has high curcumin levels, which can help reduce stress and inflammation. In turn, it can reduce instances of anxiety and depression.
Turmeric goes well in a variety of meals and it doesn’t taste bad. You can even add it to smoothies.
Green tea can do wonders for those with anxiety. It has high levels of theanine, an amino acid that has calming effects. It is also capable of improving serotonin and dopamine production, which can improve brain health.
How Does Exercise Help?
Aside from food, poor fitness can lead to anxiety. One becomes conscious about their physical state and often worries about every single health problem that happens.
Exercise can help people reduce stress. It also improves one’s mood and self-esteem aside from giving you energy. The more one maintains a regular exercise routine, the more the mood improves. Exercise is also a good way for people to release their built-up tension, which can reduce anxiety.
What Kind of Exercise You Can Do to Prevent Anxiety?
If you are building an exercise routine to help you reduce anxiety levels, there are a lot of routines you can add.
To help you get started, here are some exercise routines you can add:
Yoga is well-known for helping practitioners reach their inner zen. It relaxes practitioners and strengthens them at the same time. Yoga is very flexible, using meditation, fluid movements and breathing exercises. Once you finish a session, you will feel energized and less anxious.
Tai chi is another type of exercise you can try to reduce anxiety. Like yoga, this exercise uses fluid movements and breathing exercises to clear the mind and strengthen the body. It also improves body function and reduces the effects of problems like arthritis and heart failure.
If you want to find a way to reduce the tension and strengthen your body, kickboxing is the way to go. This discipline teaches practitioners punching and kicking and helps improve coordination. When it comes to stress and anxiety, the movements can help you release it and reduce your stress.
Outdoor Sports or Activities
Being close to nature is a good way to unwind and reduce anxiety. You can jog in parks or pursue outdoor sports. The ambiance nature provides will help you forget your worries and improve your mood as you enjoy its wonders.
It is not uncommon for us to feel anxious about the things around us. Sometimes, the feeling is warranted when you need to pay attention to things in your life that are a risk. However, if your anxiety becomes unbearable, it is time to look into ways you can reduce these feelings. With a proper diet and exercise, you will have a better chance in combatting anxiety and help you live life without worrying too much.
This article was written by Azik Alexander in consultation with The Phobiaman Clinic, Harley Street, London. The Phobiaman Clinic is the UK’s leading Anxiety, Fear and Phobia Treatment Clinic.