Anxiety Diet

Anxiety diet is much like any other diet, you get out from it what you put in and you need to persevere to see results: less anxiety and a feeling of calmness and wellness. A diet that is good for anxiety is also a good depression diet; the two problems having related chemical/biological causes causes.

The important components of an anxiety diet:

Don’t over eat. Being bloated and full puts pressure on the diaphragm and lungs and makes breathing harder. Better to eat slowly and stop when you start to feel full. Also chew the food thoroughly – this is kinder to your stomach and allows you to get more nutrients.

Don’t under-eat. You need food and without regular eating your blood sugar will drop and this makes anxiety, panic and depression all the more likely.

Eat breakfast. Breakfast improves your mood and gets you off to a good start.

Don’t eat too much sugary food. Blood sugar rises are followed by blood sugar dips, which as I have already said lead to low mood and anxiety.

Don’t cut the Carbs! You need carbohydrates to fuel your body and promote Serotonin levels in your brain. Diets like the Atkins diet that rely heavily on protein are probably not going to make you feel better and may make you feel a whole lot worse.

Try to follow the normal healthy diet rules: fresh fruit and veg and less refined foods and bad fats! It is important to eat some fat though, good fats can be found in things like extra virgin olive oil and of course fish oil.

Eat fish regularly and supplement with a good quality Omega 3 oil. Read this post on why omega 3 is important for anxiety.

Natural Anxiety Remedies – Passiflora

Passiflora has long been used as a natural remedy for anxiety. There have been some studies which actually proved its effectiveness for treating anxiety when compared to a commonly prescribed tranquilizer. There is also a scientific reason for it’s calming, soothing action: the flavonoids that passiflora contains work on the areas of the brain that cause anxiety. Chamomile is relaxing for the same reason. The flavenoids in Passiflora may well also be one of a number of natural depression remedies. Interesting link on flavonoids here.

While supplements and herbal remedies are good for anxiety, remember to tackle the psychological causes.

So how is it best to take Passiflora? Well, there are two main choices really: you can buy a supplement which you take daily, normally as a capsule full of powder, or you can buy a tincture which you add to water and drink. passiflora does not taste particularly pleasant, but it’s not so bad.

The tincture has two distinct benefits: firstly you can control how much passiflora you want to take. Personally I like to try things at small doses first. Secondly, it often comes as a complex meaning it has other ingredients with it that are also natural anxiety remedies.

Side effects of Passiflora: depending on who you listen to passiflora is either as safe as houses or carries the same side-effect profile as every other drug/natural remedy on the market. This product might cause dizziness, drowsiness, upset stomach etc. If effected do not drive or operate machinery. Personally I have never had any trouble with passiflora and I don’t know anyone who has.

Also read: Anxiety Disorder Herbal Remedies

5 – HTP Anxiety Remedy?

5 HTP has been touted as a cure for various Serotonin deiciency related illnesses such as Anxiety, Panic Attacks, weight los, insomnia, and depression. 5 HTP, or 5 hydroxytryptophan to give it it’s full name, is manufactured from an African Plant called Griffonia simplicifolia, it is not really practical to get enough of this in your natural diet, so concentrated supplement form is the only way forward. It is commonly found in Healthfood shops and is not normally classed as a drug. Relying on drugs and supplements might not be wise.

Dosage of 5 HTP. When it comes to supplements slack regulations allow manufacturers to be vague. For anxiety, depression, panic attacks and agoraphobia normally 50-100 mg are recommended three times a day. This can be adjusted depending on success and tolerance. For insomnia a single dose half an hour before bed is recommended, again of approximately 50-100 mg. For weight control the same dosage is suggested twenty to thirty minutes before eating. To avoid side effects it is better to start on a low dose and gradually increase.

Dangers: 5-HTP is pretty safe ***but*** there is some evidence that 5-htp can cause damage to heart valves over time…I can find no definitive scientific answer to this question, so maybe more research is needed.  It is not associated with the same number of severity of side effects as traditional medical antidepressants such as Prozac, Celexa, and the other SSRIs. There was a rumpus in the past about a contaminated batch of l-tryptophan in the USA which caused serious illness and death. This was not due to the supplement but to the contamination of one brand in one factory.

Side effects: nausea, constipation, gas, drowsiness, or a decreased sex drive. These are usually mild if present at all, and pass quickly. Generally 5-htp’s side effects are considered to be much less than SSRIs. Check this post on 5-HTP side effects as well.

Length of time
Generally it can take 2-4 weeks for 5 htp to start working, or achieve clinical effectiveness

Efficacy of 5 HTP
Definitely some clinical trials have found that 5-htp is for some people more effective than SSRIs. As ever the results of all the studies are hard to interpret and be sure about as researchers are oftened skewed. Pharmacology is a dirty business.

Warnings etc
Speak to your doctor! 5 HTP can react badly with SSRIs, MOAIs, some over the counter medications and may not be suitable for everyone. Speak to your doctor! (worth saying twice!)

In my opinion, 5 HTP can do good things for the anxiety, panic attack, and agoraphobia sufferer. It may be possible to get the same effect by increasing tryptophan rich foods into your diet! More about that tomorrow!