Being plagued by anxiety from time to time is not very serious, but anxiety disorders and panic attacks are something else. They seriously impact your way of life, as some fears and worries are constant and can be so overwhelming that they become disabling.
Anxiety disorders can have several symptoms, including:
- A feeling of fear, panic and discomfort
- Symptoms of sleep disorders
- Sweaty or cold hands or feet
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart palpitations
- Having trouble keeping calm
- Numbness or tingling of the limbs
- A dry mouth
- Muscle tension
The most important things to know about panic and anxiety attacks:
Deficiency of B vitamins, including B6 and B12, and folic acid (folate) can cause anxiety disorders, as these vitamins promote the secretion of the pleasure hormone, dopamine. Vitamin B6 promotes the production of neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and serotonin (the hormones that regulate mood).
It is recommended to consume foods rich in folate (vitamin B9) such as spinach, offal, flax seeds, or if not, to take vitamin B9 supplements because our body does not store it. A deficiency of this vitamin, as well as all of Group B, can make you more prone to panic and anxiety disorders since it can cause symptoms ranging from paranoia to irritability.
Several researchers have shown that anxiety and panic disorders can be caused by a lack or poor quality of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation has found that people who suffer from chronic insomnia are at serious risk of having disorders such as anxiety.
A sleep study conducted by the Department of Sleep Medicine at Harvard showed that anger, sadness, pessimism and stress are symptoms present in people who sleep only a few hours a night.
Calcium boosts the function of the brain and central nervous system. Its lack in the body triggers symptoms of anxiety disorders and panic. That is why it is important to take care of eating foods rich in calcium, which at the same time will help to ensure the proper functioning of the parathyroid gland, whose imbalance can promote depression.
A lack of magnesium can also cause some irritability, depression and anxiety. A study conducted in 2006 shows that taking magnesium supplements can relieve neurological dysfunctions such as depression, in people who suffer from a deficiency of this mineral.
The researchers found that the bacterial balance in the intestines could be impacted by mood. They contaminated germ-free mice with bacteria from mice with the opposite behavior: thus, passive mice became more active after receiving bacteria from active mice and vice versa.
Current medical research shows that 95% of serotonin is found in the intestines, which communicate with the brain via the vagus nerve. When we think about a subject that annoys us, we usually feel a physical reaction at the level of our stomach, just as we have “butterflies in the belly” when we are in love. However, scientists argue that this is rather valid in the other sense: if your intestines and stomach are not happy, you will not be happy either.
People who suffer from unexplained gastrointestinal disorders are more likely to suffer from mood disorders. A study conducted on patients who have irritable bowel syndrome shows that they are 5 times more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders. In addition, this syndrome is 5 times more present in people who suffer from anxiety, which makes it a vicious circle. Stress and anxiety can cause irritable bowel syndrome, which in turn leads to an increase in the level of stress.
The Dangers of Anxiolytics
Research published by the Journal of Clinical Psychology proves that these drugs have a sedative effect on people who take them and cause insomnia. 25% of people who use these dangerous drugs are misdiagnosed, and research has shown that their risk of mortality is 36% higher than normal.
Some common side effects of these anxiolytics include decreased libido, hypotension, nausea, lack of coordination, depression, violence and aggression, difficulty in thinking, memory loss, decreased IQ, pulmonary arterial hypertension, increased risk of bleeding, risk of interaction with other medications.
To avoid these medications and reduce anxiety-related symptoms, you can add these ingredients to your diet:
- Foods rich in calcium: preferably goat dairy products, spinach, kale, broccoli, kelp and sesame seeds will help you stabilize your heart rate during panic attacks.
- Vitamin B6: nuts, avocado, brown rice, eggs, cauliflower, sunflower seeds, poultry, broccoli and potatoes are important sources of vitamin B6. In addition, whole-grain products are very rich in vitamins of Group B. All of them allow to regulate the functioning of the central nervous system, which is essential for controlling stress and anxiety.
- Zinc: black beans, lentils, fish, mushrooms, alfalfa and pumpkin seeds increase zinc intake. They have a calming and soothing effect on the central nervous system.
- Whole seeds: whole pasta and bread are very high in carbohydrates and increase the level of serotonin in the brain. This hormone calms the brain and body.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: they can also relieve anxiety, which is why you need to consume wild salmon and other fish rich in omega-3 at least twice a week.
- Tryptophan: banana, chicken, oats, nuts and sesame seeds. According to a nutritionist from San Francisco, this amino acid can produce chemicals that can improve your mood and eliminate stress. It is a precursor of serotonin that helps to keep calm.
Other foods that help reduce anxiety and preserve calm:
- Wheat germ
- Brewer’s yeast
- Stone fruits
To reduce your anxiety, you need to reduce your intake of caffeine contained in coffee, sodas, tea, and energy drinks.