The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.”
They go on to explain that “[p]eople with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry. They may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness, or a rapid heartbeat.”
In the United States, anxiety is a very common mental health issue and over 40 million adults currently have this disorder.
Anxiety in the animal kingdom is actually a natural response to stimuli and dangerous situations, but for many modern sufferers, this is not a temporary situation. Many people who have anxiety issues though, are constantly dealing with feelings of being overwhelmed and their anxiety affects their ability to complete everyday tasks and participate in everyday activities.
Modern medicine and psychiatric support can help those with anxiety greatly. According to the Mayo Clinic and other medical and mental health professionals, there is also a direct connection between diet/nutrition and anxiety symptoms.
The human body is a complex machine and our mental state is greatly affected when we do not have a healthy and balanced lifestyle. One of the key components of a healthy and balanced lifestyle is eating healthy and balanced meals throughout the day.
If you suffer from anxiety disorder or have ongoing anxiety symptoms, the following diet and nutrition guidelines have the potential to make a difference:
Drink water and stay hydrated.
The human body is made up of around 60%, so being hydrated is kind of critical for our overall functionality. We agree with Forbes Health’s recommendation of “drinking 2.7 liters (or 91 ounces or 11 cups) for adult women a day, and 3.7 liters (or 125 ounces or 15 cups) for men.”
Drinking enough water and staying hydrated helps in a number of areas:
- Supports the manufacturing of hormones and neurotransmitters
- Regulates body temperature through sweating and respiration
- Helps with digestion
- Helps deliver oxygen throughout the body
- Flushes waste through the system
- Support cell growth and health
- Lubricates joints and membranes
If you are not a water fan, add a little lime or lemon juice to add some flavor or invest in a water filter for your tap. There are also really fun water drinking challenges and milestone trackers in apps that support daily hydration on your phone if you need an extra level of support.
Limit or completely cut out alcoholic beverages.
Alcohol affects people differently and even though it is a natural “downer” and it can serve to calm people, it also has the ability to amp up aggressive and edgy emotions and reactions. Depending on the drink, alcoholic beverages can have an insane amount of sugar or caffeine as well.
Alcohol affects natural sleeping patterns, contributes to dehydration, lowers blood sugar levels, and can actually contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety.
Limit or completely cut out caffeinated beverages.
We know people love their coffee drinks, but if you suffer from anxiety disorder or anxiety symptoms, limiting your intake of caffeine might help regulate some things in your body.
Caffeine is a stimulant that directly impacts the brain and nervous system, so too much affects your body in a lot of negative ways:
- Increase in heart rate
- Increase in blood pressure
- Dizziness and headaches
- Insomnia/abnormal sleeping patterns and habits
When you’re dehydrated, not well rested, and not feeling well all of these contribute to
overall anxious experiences and dynamics.
Use the Healthy Eating Pyramid as a guide for your meals.
Your body functions the best when it has a steady flow of calories with the correct nutritional components. When your body functions well, your mind functions well, so eating healthy has the ability to directly impact your mental health and outlook.
The British Journal of Nutrition recommended guideline for meals is “eating 3 balanced meals (350 to 600 calories each) and 1 to 3 snacks per day (between 150 and 200 calories each).” Waiting too long between meals directly impacts your blood sugar and the level of nutrients available to be used by your body and mind.
The Healthy Eating Pyramid is a guideline by the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health to ensure a healthy lifestyle with key nutritional components.
Prime Behavioral Health Support
If you are located in Southlake, Texas, or the great Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and suffer from anxiety disorder or have anxiety symptoms, the team at Prime Behavioral Health is standing by to support you.
Our licensed and caring staff is here to help bring relief and healing to those suffering not only anxiety, but a variety of other mental health disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Schizophrenia, Autism, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, and more. We specialize in treatment and TMS therapy for adults, children, and teenagers.
Please give us a call today to learn more about our service offerings or schedule an appointment via our online form. Live your life in color again and begin healing with Prime Behavioral Health.