Diet

You know the phrase “you are what you eat”?

Well, to a certain extent, that’s true. Listening to your body and understanding your unique reactions to different foods can have a huge positive impact on your quality of life, especially when it comes to anxiety. The way one reacts to various foods is highly individual, so I will speak from my own experience. Foods high in sugar tend to spike my blood sugar levels, giving me a giddy, lightheaded, overstimulated feeling that it’s easy to equate with a panic attack. Caffeine produces a similar effect, even in small amounts, like the caffeine found in dark chocolate. Also, even some healthy foods, like avocados and olive oil, are difficult for my digestive system to process when I’m stressed, causing cramping, bloating, etc. When I’m under a lot of stress, it’s helpful for me to avoid or moderate my intake of such foods. It’s also calming to know that my elevated heart rate is due to the cup of coffee I drank earlier, and doesn’t necessarily have to mean I’m about to have a panic attack. Everybody is different; you may be sensitive to different foods, or not feel that your diet has much of an effect on your emotional climate. It can be helpful to keep a food diary at first, so you can track your reactions to specific foods and tailor a diet that makes you feel your best.

Here are some helpful links about diet and anxiety:

An article from the mayo clinic about the effects of food on anxiety:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/expert-answers/coping-with-anxiety/faq-20057987

An interesting list of foods that may help with or increase anxiety:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/anxiety-pictures/anxiety-foods-that-help-foods-that-hurt-0118.aspx#01

The Purple Fig’s personal account of how taking control of her diet changed her life:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/the-purple-fig/anxiety-food_b_3044721.html

A more involved list of foods to enjoy, moderate, or avoid:

http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/treatment/diet

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