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How To Eat When You Have Anxiety

Creating A Diet To Improve Anxiety

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Anxiety isn’t directly caused by diet, but your diet is a contributing factor to both the experience and the severity. Since eating a healthier diet is also important for your health and your self-esteem, changing your diet when you suffer from anxiety can provide many benefits. In addition to changing your diet, you should work to learn how to manage your anxiety.

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How To Quickly Calm Your Anxiety About Eating

Does eating make you feel anxious? Like, deciding between grilled chicken and pizza gives your anxiety a dose of caffeine?

The enemy is at work and he has strangled us with thoughts about dieting, body image, and contradictory eating recommendations.

Thats not how it was meant to be.

Food was created to be a blessing and you can calm your anxiety about eating.

God tells us that we should keep our minds on things above and that means it is possible to stop fretting about food. Because, when were worried about these worldly things, our minds are distracted from what matters most!

What is anxiety about eating?

You can spot anxiety about eating by its primary mode of operation, a lack of peace. If you catch yourself doing any of these things, you may have some anxiety about your eating:

  • Spending an unusual amount of time picking out what to eat.
  • Staring, overwhelmed, at a grocery store shelf unsure of what to buy.
  • Feeling stressed about what is the right food choice.
  • Avoiding a social event because something thats being served might not fit what youre allowed to eat.

Also, this obsession and anxiety about eating is truly a plan of the enemy to keep us involved in ourselves and out of fellowship. A stray sheep is certainly not what we want to be

You love the Lord, and His priority is people. Your hearts desire is to align your priorities with His. But when youre so wrapped up in thoughts about food and body image, its hard to do.

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:

  • Cheese

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Podcast Episode Show Notes

What can you eat? What should you eat? With so many diet rules out there, how are you supposed to figure out what to eat? And even when you do, you feel guilty about it anyway.

Diets have made planning your plate stressful, which leads to not eating enough or overeating. From restriction to binge eating, dieting is robbing you of peace and joy.

In this episode, discover how to walk in freedom from those diet side effects with a few simple truths that can help you stop the cycle.

Foods To Ease Anxiety

Types of Eating Disorders

Heres a list of foods to help get you through this stressful time.

1. Almonds

Almonds provide a significant amount of vitamin E, which has been studied for its role in anxiety prevention.

2. Asparagus

Asparagus contains a valuable amount of folate. Folate is a mood boosting nutrient very helpful to those who suffer with anxiety and depression.

3. Avocados

Avocados are rich in stress-relieving B vitamins and heart-healthy fat that may help to lessen anxiety. Vitamin B6 helps the body make several neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which can influence mood.

4. Beef

High-quality protein like beef rich in zinc and essential amino acids that produce the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which have the potential to improve mental health.

5. Blueberries

Blueberries are packed full of Vitamin C and antioxidants which have been shown to provide anxiety relief.

6. Cashews

Cashews are another high quality protein rich in zinc.

7. Chamomile

People around the world use chamomile tea as an herbal remedy because of its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and relaxant properties.

8. Dark Chocolate

Chocolate has a high tryptophan content, which the body uses to turn into mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, such as serotonin in the brain.

Dark chocolate is also a good source of magnesium. Eating a diet with enough magnesium in it or taking supplements may reduce symptoms of depression.

9. Eggs

10. Green Tea

11. Kale

12. Liver

13. Oysters

14. Pickles

15. Pumpkin Seeds

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What Causes Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some family members have it while others dont. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain are involved in fear and anxiety. Some researchers think that misreading of others behavior may play a role in causing or worsening social anxiety. For example, you may think that people are staring or frowning at you when they truly are not. Underdeveloped social skills are another possible contributor to social anxiety. For example, if you have underdeveloped social skills, you may feel discouraged after talking with people and may worry about doing it in the future. By learning more about fear and anxiety in the brain, scientists may be able to create better treatments. Researchers are also looking for ways in which stress and environmental factors may play a role.

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Anxiety To Eat Psychology And Psychosomatics

Dependence on sweets is formed not only on a physiological level but also on a psychological level. The body requires additional carbohydrates with a higher level of cortisol, the stress hormone.

In case of constant problems and worries, you probably want to eat all the time. In these cases, food can create a feeling of psychological support.

Unfortunately, high cortisol levels combined with impaired insulin production have a double impact on health.

The body sends a signal that additional energy is needed , then the energy from carbohydrates is used quickly. This creates a circle from which it is difficult to get out.

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Eat Well And Eat Consistently

If youre hoping to reduce stress, keep in mind this one key piece of advice: Dont skip meals. Eating on a regular schedule every three to five hours helps balance your blood sugar levels. Being in a chronic state of low blood sugar is stressful on your body and can increase cortisol, so maintaining a balanced blood sugar can go a long way.

And tempting though it may be, dont turn to supplements to get the vitamins and nutrients your body needs.

We know what impact nutrition has on your body, whereas supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, Barth says. I always tell people: Go with food first.

Dont Expect These Meals To Magically Change Your Day

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A salad isnt going to prevent the feeling you get when emails or social expectations wont stop coming.

In fact, the study about L-theanine found that cognitive performance didnt really change, which sucks to hear but also take it this way: your anxiety isnt you.

And there are many other therapeutic methods you can build and develop.

Think of your anxiety tool kit like a magician who needs more than one trick. Food is the natural source for you to maintain energy for all your other coping mechanisms, like breathing, CBT, and talk therapy.

Oh but before we forget, potential anxiety-inducing foods heres the official list:

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Beef And Foods Rich In Vitamin B Ease Anxiety

Studies have shown a relationship between the B vitamins, including thiamine or vitamin B1, and mood. A deficiency in B vitamins, such as folic acid and B12, can trigger depression in some people. You can take a vitamin B supplement or eat foods that are rich in B vitamins to ward off anxiety. These foods that help with anxiety include beef, pork, chicken, leafy greens, legumes, oranges and other citrus fruits, rice, nuts, and eggs.

Accept And Allow That The Sensations Youre Experiencing Are There

Subconsciously our brains are so smart, that we often avoid feeling any kind of physical discomfort. Our brains do this so quickly that you instantly move into suppressing it and covering it up with something else. Moreover, thats actually what emotional eating is, a misguided attempt to help you not feel bad. So accepting these sensations and acknowledging that theyre connected to emotional eating is a huge part of this step.

And now that you have this new, zoomed out approach to your physical sensations, and you realize theyre just messengers. These messenger physical sensations are telling you theres something you need to atone to. And you can then tell the part of your brain that wants to take care of you, and wants to make you feel safe, that its not so bad.

You can tell that part of your brain that you trust yourself to be with the uncomfortable sensations.

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Characteristics Traits And Symptoms

Food anxiety is induced or triggered by food and can interfere with a persons health, daily activities, and quality of life.

When the cause of food anxiety stems from a fear of how food will affect the body, in the absence of body image disturbance or fear of weight gain, characteristics may include:

  • Dramatic restriction of food or types of food
  • Only eating certain textures
  • Lack of appetite or interest in food
  • Fear of choking or an allergic reaction
  • Picky eating that gets worse over time

However, when body image distortion or fear of weight gain causes food anxiety, signs may include:

  • Becoming overwhelmed with food choices
  • Overly restricting food because the person is not sure what to eat
  • Obsession with weight or body image

Regardless of the root cause, those with food anxiety become tense when thinking about or deciding what to eat. This creates a physiological reaction called the fight or flight reaction. It causes symptoms such as:

  • A rapid heartbeat
  • Stomach-churning or butterflies in the stomach
  • Shakiness or clamminess
  • Rapid breathing

Take Care Of Your Pantry

5 Foods To Avoid If You Have Anxiety

To learn how to control anxiety about eating, the first thing we have to do is something that seems very logical: not to have the temptations at home. When we go to the supermarket, we can fill the shopping cart with endless products that we must avoid having in the pantry if we want to avoid anxiety about food.

We advise you to substitute tempting products for healthier ones: instead of a chocolate muffin, get some cereals with chocolate and fiber Instead of microwave popcorn, buy nuts. The result is simple: if you dont have it at home, you wont feel like eating it.

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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

How To End Anxiety About Eating

Negative thoughts can come up multiple times a day or even multiple times a minute! Here are some tools that you may need to use frequently. And the more often you use them, the more they become your habit!

Keep doing them until youre doing them most of the time. Then, youll start to do them even on a bad day. Even when youre in a moment of food stress, these tips can help you find peace, quickly!

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Can Anxiety Disorders Be Prevented

You cant prevent anxiety disorders. But you can take steps to control or reduce your symptoms:

  • Check out medications: Talk to a healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies. Some of these contain chemicals that may make anxiety symptoms worse.
  • Limit caffeine: Stop or limit how much caffeine you consume, including coffee, tea, cola and chocolate.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle: Exercise regularly and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Seek help: Get counseling and support if you experienced a traumatic or disturbing event. Doing so can help prevent anxiety and other unpleasant feelings from disrupting your life.

How Can Food Affect Mood

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Knowing what foods we should and shouldnt be eating can be really confusing, especially when it feels like the advice changes regularly. However, evidence suggests that as well as affecting our physical health, what we eat may also affect the way we feel.

Improving your diet may help to:

  • improve your mood
  • help you think more clearly.

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Creativity In The Kitchen

Another of the ways you have to know how to control anxiety to eat is by making your diet include dishes and flavors that appeal to your palate. The trick is to replace the less healthy dishes that seem so appetizing when you have anxiety, with other healthier and also very tasty.

Reinvent your favorite dish to have a healthy diet by changing, for example, a Bolognese pasta dish for one of whole meal pasta with vegetables: the feeling of eating pasta is the same but the result is more beneficial to our health. Do the same with other dishes that are tempting to your palate!

Where Do I Go From Here

In addition to talking to your family doctor, check out the resources below for more information about anxiety disorders:

Anxiety Canada

Visit www.anxietycanada.com for anxiety resources for children, youth, and adults. Learn more about anxiety, use My Anxiety Plan to help manage anxiety, download the MindShift app, and find local mental health professionals and services across Canada.

BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use Information

Visit www.heretohelp.bc.ca for info sheets, tips and personal stories to help you understand anxiety disorders. You can also take self-tests to check in on your anxiety, mental health, and well-being.

HealthLink BC

Call 811 or visit www.healthlinkbc.ca to access free, non-emergency health information for anyone in your family, including mental health information. Through 811, you can also speak to a registered nurse about symptoms youre worried about or talk with a pharmacist about medication questions.

Crisis lines arent only for people in crisis. You can call for information on local services or if you just need someone to talk to. If you are in distress, call 310-6789 24 hours a day to connect to a BC crisis line, without a wait or busy signal. The crisis lines linked in through 310-6789 have received advanced training in mental health issues and services by members of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use Information.

About the author

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The Difference Between Normal Worry And Gad

Worries, doubts, and fears are a normal part of life. Its natural to be anxious about an upcoming test or to worry about your finances after being hit by unexpected bills. The difference between normal worrying and generalized anxiety disorder is that the worrying involved in GAD is:

  • Excessive.

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What Foods Negatively Affect Mental Wellbeing

5 Foods Not To Eat If You Have Anxiety

Teralyn Sell, PhD, psychotherapist and brain health expert, says the biggest food culprits that contribute to stress are caffeine, sugar, alcoholic beverages, and not eating at all.

She explains that, Foods or beverages that contain caffeine can increase your heart rate, causejitters, make it difficult to sleep, etc. Though caffeine doesnt cause anxiety, it can certainly contribute to it.

While many health professionals point to common culprits like sugar and processed carbohydratesas the causes of stress, McMordie believes it is connected to not eating.

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What Are Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses that have similar symptoms around problem anxiety, though the cause of anxiety may be different.

Selective mutism

With selective mutism, people cant speak or communicate in some situations. Its common for children with selective mutism to speak around their immediate family members but not at school. Many people with selective mutism also experience a lot of anxiety. People with this illness have normal language abilities, they just cant communicate in certain situations. Selective mutism is often most noticeable when children start school and have to manage more social interactions. While many children seem to outgrow selective mutism, they may continue to experience anxiety problems like social anxiety disorder into adulthood.2,3

Generalized anxiety disorder

People with generalized anxiety disorder or GAD worry or feel anxious most days. They worry about different parts of daily life, such as their home, work, family, health, finances, and the future. Triggers for anxiety can change from day to day. These worries are extreme or unrealistic and hard to control. Many people with GAD say its almost impossible to stop their anxiety and that they cant remember the last time they felt relaxed. GAD can cause a lot of physical signs of anxiety, like muscle tension, headaches, stomach problems, and sleep problems.4

Specific phobia

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