Six changes you need to make in your diet to help fight anxiety

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With the conversation around mental health at the forefront, it is time to not only be considerate towards others, but also show compassion for self. With a supremely-hectic lifestyle amid a pandemic, it is natural to feel stressed out. And we all know stress can cause anxiety.

Little changes to our routine and diet can, therefore, make a world of difference. To begin with, have these six food items to help you deal with anxiety in a more mindful manner.

Uma Naidoo, MD and a Harvard nutritional psychiatrist share how these foods have “emerging scientific evidence for their efficacy in treating the anxiety”. Take a look.

Vitamin D

The deficiency of this vitamin is linked to people suffering from various mental health issues such as depression. Dr Naidu said: “On a population level, vitamin D insufficiency has been estimated at 77% in the US, making low vitamin D levels a hormonal epidemic. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with multiple mental disorders, including schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety.”

Omega 3

Not just for maintaining our brain’s health but also for our skin and hair — omega 3 fatty acids are really important. Fish happens to be the best source of omega 3 fatty acids but if you are a vegetarian or a vegan — here are 6 plant-based sources for you to get optimum amounts of omega 3.

Dr Naidu mentioned in the post: “These fatty acids are potent anti-inflammatory agents and are important in cognition and mental health. One study showed that 12 weeks of omega-3 supplementation lowed anxiety by 20%!”

Turmeric

This ingredient happens to play an important part in the recovery of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and even anxiety. “Turmeric is rich in the compound curcumin which is very heavily studied for its treatment for Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, and more. Always include a pinch of black pepper to improve absorption.”

Ditch artificial sweeteners

These seem like a great option because you want to cut down on sugar in order to control your calorie craving, but artificial sweeteners block the transportation of happy hormones such as dopamine and serotonin, thereby increasing levels of stress. “These are highly linked to neuropsychiatric problems, especially anxiety. They can negatively effect metabolic and change neurotransmitter production.”

Avoid gluten

The health of our gut is directly linked to our mental health. Gluten can lead to a ‘leaky gut’ and also lead to gut permeability and neuropsychiatric problems, especially anxiety. Dr Naidu said: “They can negatively affect metabolic and change neurotransmitter production.”

Try keto diet

While the keto diet is tried by those who want to lose weight, this high-fat, low-carb diet is gaining popularity in treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, said the doctor. In fact, studies claim they can help treat “a wider range of conditions such as ADHD, depression, and anxiety”.

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