Food and Anxiety | Anti-Anxiety Diet
A question I get asked often is, what are the best foods to eat for anxiety and what should I avoid?
Unfortunately, through anxiety we sometimes turn to alcohol and establish a bad diet, usually through a need to suppress how we feel. Which may work in the short term, but never in the long term. It can lead to weight gain, a lack of energy, hangovers and a general feeling of unease and restlessness. Changing your diet and lifestyle can help many forms of anxiety and the symptoms that go with it.
As I was recovering, I decided to eat more healthily and found that, through this, I had so much more energy and I felt calmer and less depressed. I also understood the importance of burning off all my excess nervous energy and took up a fitness regime that suited me. These changes in my life made a lot of difference to how I felt overall. They are not the only answer to anxiety, but they can bring some much needed relief to the way we feel.
Good foods and bad foods for Anxiety
Try and eat a healthy, whole foods diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. Try and include foods that are rich in the B vitamins, such as whole grains, nuts, green vegetables, eggs and fish.
To help lift moods and help calm anxiety, keep away from processed foods and eat more natural products. Also, what we drink can have an effect on our stress levels. Although drinking alcohol seems to have a calming effect short term, it dehydrates the body, leaving us feeling more anxious than ever. If you feel you can’t give up altogether, then just try and moderate it.
Avoid fizzy drinks loaded with sugar, instead drink plenty of water, I am personally not a big fan of water and drink the flavoured variety which is fine also. Avoid having too much caffeine. Again, there is no need to give it up completely, just try and moderate it.
Below is a small list of foods to avoid and those to include in your daily diet to help with the symptoms of anxiety and stress. Again, I don’t expect you to be perfect, I certainly wasn’t, but a few changes may help you feel the benefits. Click the two links below to see which foods to eat and which to avoid.
- Wholegrain foods
- Brown Rice
- Cottage Cheese
- Fresh Fish
- Poached Egg
- Baked potato
- Peanut butter
- Fizzy drinks
- Processed food
- White bread
- Fast Food
Exercise and Anxiety
Exercise is also great for anxiety, especially outdoors. It not only helps burn off all the stressful energy that can build up in the body, but is also a great mood lifter. Exercise can also help change your mind-set, boost self-esteem and help calm an over active mind. Even if you just start with a walk in nature, just being in the outdoors in the fresh air and different surroundings, can really help lift your mood and bring a new focus to your day.
I personally found exercise a huge benefit, it was not the reason for my recovery, but it did play a big part in it. I started off not being able to run 20 yards, to completing a half marathon, if you follow me on Instagram, you will see me in action. I also bought a bike and joined a walking club and started swimming. Not easy for someone who suffered with anxiety, but once I started, I got the bug and felt a whole lot better.
Benefits of Exercise
- More energy
- Reduction in stress
- Increase self-esteem
- Improved sleep
- Overall lift in mood
- Create a new focus and meet new people
- Helps declutter the mind
- Leads to a better diet
- Weight loss.
I always say that eating well and taking up some form of exercise is better and more effective than any tablet and without the side effects. This is another question I get asked often should I take medication with anxiety?