Phase : A Rough Start Then Calmness
I’d been warned by Axe and Miller about “keto flu,” the flu-like symptoms some people experience right as they’re starting ketoses, such as nausea, irritability, and fatigue. I only experienced one symptom: brain fog. By the end of the week, the fog had started to break, but mentally I was less with it than usual.
After a week, the fog lifted, and as the weeks went on, I had a few side effects. My cravings for sweets kicked in and my workout performance began to suffer. But at the six-week mark, I realized I had been feeling more grounded. Trying the anti-anxiety diet wasn’t the only thing I started doing to manage my anxietyI’d also been gratitude journaling, going to yoga, drinking more water, and spending more time with friendsbut I really did feel calmer.
Is Soy Or Almond Milk Better For You
Soy milk contains more protein than almond milk. Soy milk contains more heart healthy polyunsaturated fats. Almond milk is lower in calories compared to soy milk, and contains more heart healthy monounsaturated fats. Almond milk contains slightly more sodium than soy milk, and both milks do not contain lactose.
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Recommendation: Download The Food Monster App
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App with over 15,000 delicious recipes. It is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals, and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
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Food For Anxiety: Use Asparagus In Your Meals
How often do you have asparagus in your home or with your meals? Chances are that you dont bother until you go out to a restaurant and it just happens to be included as part of the meal. Well, its time to start stocking up and using it on at least a twice-a-week basis.
One of the main reasons for various mental health problems is a lack of folic acid. If youre pregnant or you have children, youll know that pregnant women are recommended to take more folic acid to help with the babys brain development. This vitamin yes, its one of the B vitamins helps the development of the nervous and the neurotransmitters in the body.
Those who have low levels of folic acid tend to suffer from depression and anxiety. The excellent news is that asparagus is full of it.
You dont have to spend hours cooking it. You can saute the vegetable, grill it, or even steam it. It works with the majority of meals, and is delicious as part of your Sunday roast. If youre looking for a healthy snack, have it with a salsa or hummus dip.
A Holiday Recipe For Stress Reduction
I promised a quick and delicious recipe using some of the foods I mentioned to help reduce stress. While there are many to choose from this one is perfect for getting your morning off to a great start and has probiotics, antioxidant-rich berries, and omega-3s. And for even greater stress relief can be made ahead of time so you can just grab it and go in the morning!
So, if you do nothing else for yourself this week, make this berry smoothie for breakfast and get your day off to a good start.
And dont forget to sign up for my email list for more helpful tips in the new year and be the first to hear about my new cooking classes!
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Other Possible Food Intolerances
Be aware that you may be sensitive or intolerant to other seemingly healthy foods, and if so, they should be avoided to maintain good mental health.
This is discussed in Brain Allergies: The Psychonutrient and Magnetic Connections by Dr. Willam Philpott, MD.
For example, eggs are an incredibly nutritious and healthy food, but Im personally intolerant to the egg whites, so I throw away the whites and just eat the yolks.
Its not a big deal though because the yolks are the healthiest part of the egg anyway.
But I originally figured this out by following an elimination diet.
You eliminate all possible food allergens and then add them back in one by one and see if you have a negative reaction.
You can learn more about it in this book.
Some of the most common food allergens that could affect your mental health include:
Kicking The Dairy Addiction
Its not easy to eliminate dairy from your diet. While the connection between addiction and dairy is not as strong as sugar or alcohol, it still exists and is just as difficult to overcome.
Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C., president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and founder of the Barnard Medical Center, explains that one of the main ingredients in dairy is casein, which has opiate molecules built in. Barnard refers to casein as dairy crack.
The key to kicking a dairy addiction is implementation, preparation, and self-compassion. Implement a slow rollout plan that incorporates plant-based dairy substitutes, allows for indulgences, and relies on readjusting your lifestyle for preparedness.
If youre a dairy addict, plan ahead by trying out dairy alternatives. Use these recipes from the Food Monster App to get started.
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Be Careful With Alcohol
The connection between alcohol and anxiety is interesting. Many people do use alcohol to help with anxiety, especially right before a social event. Alcohol can even be a tool for taking the edge of a severe panic attack.
Alcohol is also a double-edged sword. It tends to make anxiety symptoms worse in the long-term. Theres also the risk that youll end up dependent on alcohol to manage your anxiety, which isnt what you want.
This connection doesnt mean that you need to avoid alcohol entirely. Simply be careful about when you drink and why. If taming your anxiety is the main reason for wanting a drink, its better to choose another item on this list instead.
Food For Anxiety: Try Turkey Instead
When youve had your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, do you feel panicked and worried? Chances are that you definitely dont. Youll feel satisfied, full, and possibly a little tired. Its the turkey thats to blame for that. More specifically, its the tryptophan within the turkey that is responsible for that.
Tryptophan is necessary in the brain to help support the release of serotonin. This is the hormone responsible for reducing pain and improving calmness.
Youll find it in other types of meat, too, but turkey is the most beneficial. When you eat the skinless turkey meat you consume fewer calories than most other types of meat. Not only will you help to eliminate anxiety, but you will also boost your weight loss efforts.
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How To Remove Breast Milk Without A Pump
Hold your breast with your fingers and thumb cupped around your breast in a C shape, near but not touching your areola. Then: PRESS your fingers and thumb back towards your chest. COMPRESS your breast between your fingers and thumb, moving them slightly towards your nipple without lifting them from your breast.
How Does This Diet Help Anxiety
The theory behind the plan is that inflammation, gut distress, and neurotransmitter imbalances can lead to and amplify anxietywhile anti-inflammatory foods, the keto diet, and gut-friendly foods can reduce it.
How can the keto diet help? By going low-carb, you can change the rate of glucose metabolism in the brain so there’s a more active conversion of glutamate to GABA, the neurotransmitter linked to relaxation. “Because GABA is a mood stabilizer, the idea is that the ketogenic diet acts as a mood stabilizer,” Feller said. Anecdotal reports have also suggested that following the keto can help reduce anxiety symptoms, fear, and depression, Feller added.
As for how inflammation and anxiety are linked, Miller said people who have anxiety tend to have a high amount of inflammatory chemicals in the body. That “causes a surge of excitatory neurotransmitters, which creates even more anxious thoughts and feelings,” Miller explained. And since 90% of serotonin is made in the gut, when the GI tract and gut are inflamed, the production of serotonin may be hindered. That in turn increases feelings of stress, Miller said.
Armed with this info and curiosity, I decided that trading 612 weeks of my life for a less stressed-out existence was a reasonable deal. So I put faith in this food-as-medicine approach, even if the research is still emerging, and investigated whether it could really ease my anxiety.
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Food For Anxiety: Opt For Rooibos Tea Instead
If youre not a fan of chamomile tea, you could opt for rooibos tea instead. This is a red bush tea from Africa and has been used for centuries to help calm the nerves and reduce anxiety, easing mental health problems.
Studies back up the claims that rooibos tea helps to eliminate anxiety. So far, there are some links that the tea helps to reduce the amount of cortisol that is released into the system. This is the stress hormone that makes anxiety worse.
When the stress hormones are kept to a minimum, youre able to release more happy hormones into your system. This then helps to keep more stress hormones at bay, since the happy hormones balance everything out.
As happy hormones are release, the hormones that act as a natural painkiller will also be released. You end up not feeling as much chronic pain on a daily basis, boosting your mood even further. Check out more info on liquid diets for morbidly obese here
Does Alcohol Help With Anxiety
Theres some truth to the idea that alcohol can reduce stress. Alcohol is a sedative and a depressant that affects the central nervous system. At first, drinking can reduce fears and take your mind off of your troubles. It can help you feel less shy, give you a boost in mood, and make you feel generally relaxed.
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More Natural Herbs For Ocd
Milk thistle and its antioxidant properties are promising in managing OCD symptoms but it may also be beneficial to explore other herbs for OCD treatment to bolster and round out a supplement regimen.
Below is a short list of 4 widely available and very affordable herbs with some serious natural health benefits for OCD sufferers:
Food For Anxiety: Repair The Cells By Eating Blueberries
As the cells get damaged and die, they can cause problems within the brain. Free radicals in the body can affect the repair and growth of cells, meaning that you increase the risk of Alzheimers, dementia, and cancer. If youre a naturally anxious person, the idea of this can make you worry more.
Well, its time to support the cell growth and repair through eating blueberries. Out of all the berries, blueberries pack the most punch with the high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C. They help to support your immune system, while fighting off the free radicals within your body.
Youll find that you dont get as ill as often. Your immune system is able to fight the diseases that life throws at it. You can also reduce the anxiety over getting ill or being forced to slow down in later life.
Its easy to add blueberries to your diet. They make delicious snacks or you can add a handful to your porridge on a daily basis. They work well with bananas when frozen to create healthy ice cream.
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Other Foods That Help With Anxiety
While the above are some common foods that help with anxiety, there are others. For example, turkey is known for containing tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is responsible for producing niacin. Niacin helps to create the neurotransmitter, serotonin which increases mood. If tryptophan is in turkey, does turkey help anxiety? According to the University of Michigan, because tryptophan helps with the production of serotonin, turkey may help reduce anxiety. Eating turkey may also help regulate sleep and mood, both of which can benefit people living with an anxiety disorder.
Researchers have also examined the link between chia seeds and anxiety. Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids like fish do, so by adding them into your diet you can help reduce your anxiety symptoms. A link also exists between Swiss chard and anxiety because Swiss chard is high in magnesium which, like dark chocolate, helps decrease mood disorder symptoms.
Other food you can incorporate into your diet to help with anxiety include:
Is Almond Milk Cow Milk
Almond milk contains no cows milk or other animal products, making it a great option for people following a vegan diet and those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk. Being dairy-free, almond milk contains no lactose at all, making it a suitable milk replacement for people with lactose intolerance.
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Eat Greek Yogurt And High
Protein helps stimulate the production of the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine, which, like serotonin, are neurotransmitters and carry impulses between nerve cells. Higher levels of norepinephrine and dopamine have been shown to improve alertness, mental energy, and reaction time, Villacorta says. Good include Greek yogurt, fish, meats, cheese, eggs, nuts, beans, soy, and lentils. “The ideal for mood boosting,” Villacorta says, “is to combine complex carbohydrates and protein, and to spread your meals throughout the day.”
Foods High In Calcium Like Dairy Products Can Lower Cortisol Levels
Calcium has been known to reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone associated with anxiety. According to an article published in Nutrition Research and Practice in 2012, researchers in Korea found an association between low-calcium diets and depression in middle-aged women.
Some good sources of this nutrient include dairy products such as milk and cheese, as well as green leafy vegetables like kale and collard greens.
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Oranges And Other Vitamin C
Better known for its immune-boosting properties, vitamin C can also alleviate anxiety. In 2003, researchers in Germany illustrated that this nutrient can be useful for stress management. Their experiment entailed making test subjects give a public speech and solve math problems. Half the subjects were given 1,000 mg of vitamin C. Those who didnt take the vitamin displayed clear signs of stress such as increased levels of cortisol and higher blood pressure. More recently, a 2015 study found that vitamin C helped reduce stress levels among students.
Oranges are a common example of a vitamin C-rich food. Strawberries, broccoli, and kiwi also contain it.
Food For Anxiety: Eat An Avocado Daily
If you dont want a full avocado then try half an avocado a day. This fruit has gained an unfair bad reputation because of its oils. The truth is that it is one of the best ingredients for all sorts of health benefits. In particular it will help with boosting the mental health through various nutrients.
Avocados are full of healthy fats, which are full of various B vitamins. As weve already noted, B vitamins are essential in keeping the mental health supported. They are the nutrients that support the neurotransmitters, keeping the cortisol hormone to a minimum.
At the same time, the healthy fats actually help to reduce blood pressure. When your blood pressure is kept to a minimum, youll find that your stress levels naturally stay low. That means your body doesnt feel the adrenaline and you dont have to deal with anxious feelings. Youll find it easier to handle a stressful situation.
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Achieving Better Mental Health Through Diet
Be sure to talk to your doctor if your anxiety symptoms are severe or last more than two weeks. But even if your doctor recommends medication or therapy for anxiety, it is still worth asking whether you might also have some success by adjusting your diet. While nutritional psychiatry is not a substitute for other treatments, the relationship between food, mood, and anxiety is garnering more and more attention. There is a growing body of evidence, and more research is needed to fully understand the role of nutritional psychiatry, or as I prefer to call it, Psycho-Nutrition.
About the Author
Uma Naidoo, MD, Contributor