Monday, December 2, 2013

Feeling Anxious? Avoid These Foods

Feeling stressed out and worried is not a fun thing.  Anxiety can be a medical disorder that a medical doctor can diagnose.  However, most of us just get these feelings every now and then. Or some seem to experience them a little more regularly and find them unsettling.

In Ayurveda a person is treated holistically, meaning both the body and mind are addressed.  This blog will focus on the physical tools, specifically food choices, one can use to lessen anxiety.  Looking at your diet is a good place to start in addressing anxiety.  Sometimes anxiety is the way the body tells us we are making poor food choices.  Eating right may help alleviate or eliminate anxiety.  Each person is unique and you may find that reworking your diet is enough.  Or you may find that you have to go a little deeper with lifestyle changes and/or some counseling.

Here are some foods to look at:

  • Refined sugar can cause a surge in mood and energy with a resounding crash of anxiety or lethargy.  When the body has to recover from loss or lack of energy, there is a feeling of overwhelm.  Thoughts like, "how can I possibly fit another thing in my schedule when I am feeling so tired" can cause anxiety.  Look to get your need for the sweet taste from something natural like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, avocado, apple, pear or almonds.  This will soothe and satisfy without the crash.
  • Too much caffeine can cause anxiety in some people.  If you are having more than one to two cups of coffee or other caffeine beverage a day, try cutting it out and replacing it with naturally low sources of caffeine like green tea.  Do this for about a week and see if your anxiety lessens.
  • Food sensitivities can cause anxiety.  You do not need to have a full blown allergic reaction to have a food not agree with you.  Foods like wheat, eggs, dairy or gluten can weaken your body and make it struggle for energy.  When you feel low in energy and lacking the strength to do the things that need to get done, you can get anxious.  Take stock of your diet and see how much of the common triggers you are eating and whether there is a link within one to six hours of eating the food.  Maybe you need a little more variety in your diet and a week break from a trigger food.
  • In Ayurveda a food's health value is based on how it reacts with your body type.  Maybe you are eating foods that are not suited to your body type.  An experienced Ayurvedic Health Practitioner can help you sort out your diet.  Vata types are the most prone to anxiety when they are imbalanced.  Vata does best with warm, cooked foods.
Food is the way our body nourishes itself to function optimally.  Eating is something we do many times a day, everyday.  Digestion of food is one of the pillars of health in Ayurveda.  The food we  eat has a powerful effect on our body and our mind.

Stay healthy & well,

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