Right now, a lot of people are being challenged mentally and emotionally—financial challenges, worrying about elderly/vulnerable family members, loss of routine/work, sense of helplessness, fear, etc. Anxiety is, no doubt, something many Canadians are dealing with currently as it is a byproduct of living through chaotic times. Food and nutrient intake impacts multiple biochemical processes that influence our behaviour, according to recent studies. In addition to supplying the body with nutrients, these biochemical processes also influence brain processes, including higher-level cognition, such as social decision making. Below, six things we can add to our health and wellness regimenes to help reduce anxiety as per Jenna Mangan, certified nutritional practitioner, CanPrev Natural Health. Unchecked anxiety can greatly impact a person’s day-to-day life. These tips may be helpful in alleviating anxiety without having to rely on too many outside resources. —Vita Daily
limit caffeine intake. Caffeine may cause nervousness and jitters, none of which is good if you are already feeling anxious. During this time, it might be a good idea to lower caffeine intake to help keep you calm throughout the day and also ensure you can fall into a good night’s sleep.
get good sleep. Speaking of sleep. If you are feeling anxious you may also find it hard to fall asleep and get a good night’s rest. Sleep is so important for the body especially during these high alert times. Avoid caffeine and large meals before bed so that you can fall asleep faster. It’s also a wise idea to shutdown your screens a good hour or so before bed and to try and keep a regular sleep/wake schedule.
balance mood and anxiety by regulating neurotransmitters. Think of minerals as tiny building blocks that when stacked together create the framework for building bones, blood cells and a healthy immune system. The mineral magnesium itself is responsible for over 800 functions in the body. That’s a lot. Most notably it plays a role in helping us calm the nervous system and help us find a better sleep. It’s also involved in the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps control sleep and wake cycles. Muscle tension due to lack of magnesium will also prevent good sleep.
healthy fats. Getting enough healthy fats does so many wonders for the body and mind. These are foods like avocados, walnuts, ground flax, organic eggs, and wild fish—foods that support satiety, mood regulation, blood sugar regulation, sleep and energy balance. These foods have positive effects on our hormonal system which in-turn helps keep our cognitive and emotional health in check.
ashwagandha. An exciting adaptogenic herb that is well studied and proven to be beneficial for not only stress and anxiety, but also weight loss (which can also accompany stress), libido lift for men and women, and overall enhancement of well-being. It can be used for acute stress, which is great for someone experiencing anxiety or also used for long term use for someone experiencing chronic stress. This could be mental, physical or even emotional stress.
increase your zinc intake. The hippocampus, an area of the brain, controls learning and mood and actually contains some of the highest zinc concentrations in the body. These are the largest storage sites of zinc and are involved with our emotions. One study carried out on 100 female high school students found that zinc deficiency may negatively affect mood. The best food sources of zinc include oysters, red meat and poultry. Pumpkin seeds, legumes and other plant-based foods also offer high amounts of zinc.