How to fight anxiety by eating right

Anxiety is a very common emotion experienced by many of us in response to being confronted with an unpleasant and potentially harmful trigger, typically characterised by feelings of fear, anger, sadness, and panic.

Anxiety is, in fact, a protective mechanism designed to prevent ourselves from engaging in potentially harmful behaviours and to cope with a stressful scenario. But when anxiety becomes an excessive and irrational dread of everyday situations, it becomes a disabling disorder and needs medical attention. Anxiety attacks usually come without any prior warning, and although the fear is generally exaggerated, the perceived danger is real.

Common physical symptoms of anxiety include sweaty palms, dizziness, diarrhoea or intestinal discomfort, a feeling of general fatigue, insomnia, and restlessness. One may also experience a speeding heartbeat, tightness in the chest, rapid breathing, or tingling in hands and feet.

Anxiety is caused due to certain physical malfunctions in brain, where it sends and receives false emergency signals. Adrenalin and noradrenaline are then released, causing the same physiological changes in the body, as would be experienced in a real dangerous situation. Some of the anxiety you experience may actually be due to particular stimulants you are consuming (excess of caffeine, nicotine or colas) or imbalances in particular vitamins and minerals. Consumption of refined sugars and starches (leading to fluctuations in levels of glucose in blood), diets deficient in protein or fat, and hyper active thyroid or adrenal glands may also contribute to anxiety.

Although food cannot correct anxiety, certain dietary modifications do help reduce the occurrence and alleviate the symptoms.

First Published:
Mar 28, 2019 12:04 IST

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