Anxiety can occur as an acute episode of highly intense feelings of stress that overwhelm the individual (such as panic attacks), or as more generalized chronic feelings of stress, uneasiness and being wound-up.
Chronic anxiety can often include headaches, chronic fatigue, insomnia, digestive distress, muscle tension, dry mouth, excessive perspiration, increased heart beat, and may cause you to startle easily.
Over time, too much stress and anxiety will age you faster because they put your body into 'emergency mode' - where your energy is diverted away from maintenance and repair and towards physically having to react to the stressful event.
Here are my Top 3 Tips for Reducing Anxiety:
1. Upgrade Your Diet:
Reduce (or avoid completely) your intake of stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, and refined carbohydrates like sugar, baked goods, and white bread. Eat a nutrient-dense whole-food diet in order to balance out blood sugar levels throughout the day and prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Deficiencies of B complex vitamins, iron, taurine, magnesium, and chromium can all lead to increased feelings of anxiety and decreased ability to adapt to stress. Other biochemical imbalances that can lead to anxiety include low histamine/high copper, lactic acid build-up, and undiagnosed food allergies.
2. Use Calming Herbs and Nutrients:
GABA, Passionflower, Magnesium, and Valerian all promote a calming effect in the body and can be very useful when trying to reduce anxiety. Some of these supplements do interact with medications, and GABA for example needs to be avoided if you drink alcohol. Always check with your health care provider before taking any of these supplements. There are some great combination formulas available that combine many of these herbs and nutrients. Adaptogenic herbs are another great option, especially if you experience a lot of stress.
3. Grow Your Inner Garden:
Balance your gut bacteria with fermented foods, and a wide variety of plant-based whole-foods. We are starting to find out how the balance and types of gut bacteria we have greatly influences our neurotransmitter levels and nutrient absorption.
Read More About the Gut-Brain Connection:
It can be overwhelming to try to jump into this yourself and there are numerous benefits to working one-on-one with a nutritionist, such as individualized recommendations, support, and help with deciphering the confusing and conflicting health information out there.
Book your complimentary 15 Min Discovery Call today to find out how I can best support your health goals.
Shawna Barker BSc., RHN is a nutritionist specializing in vegan diets.