The five foods and pills to have, and what to avoid, if you struggle with anxiety
It seems the topic of anxiety has been on everyone’s mind this year as it becomes less taboo and more mainstream. Finally, talking about freaking out about your annual work drinks, worrying about if you are posting too much on Instagram or overthinking the first text you send your crush is becoming… normal.
As a result, more and more research is being done on anxiety, and scientists are finding the role of the gut pretty damn important. In fact, they’re calling the gut a ‘second’ brain, saying it has the ability to influence our mind, mood and behaviours. Which goes completely against what doctors used to say – that anxiety and depression are caused only by chemical imbalance in the brain.
The new findings say anxiety could actually be a result of an imbalance of gut bacteria. We asked nutritionist and founder of www.ahealthyview.com Michele Chevalley for advice on the eating habits that are disrupting our gut balance, and what we should be eating to get our gut in order.
What to avoid
1. Excessive hidden, processed sugar in our food
Of course, you will be eating some food with processed sugar, but be aware of what you’re consuming. Check the ingredients on the back of packaging if you can.
Even seemingly innocent foods like ‘healthy’ yogurts, ‘sports’ drinks, ‘fat free’ jelly snakes can be loaded with sugar that makes your blood sugar swing high then low.
2. Viral and bacterial infectial infections
They’re a part of life but can disrupt your gut flora. Keep your immune system strong with nutrient rich foods, adequate sleep and sun to reduce risks to infections.
Sometimes they’re essential, but it’s worth checking if there’s an alternative to using them before you do. They’re not great on the gut. Try to repopulate the gut with a probiotic after a course of antiboitics.
4. Birth control pills
If you’re on the Pill and have noticed you’ve been particular anxious, it might be worth looking into whether it could be a result of it.
5. B proactive
Lack of B12 can cause feelings of anxiety and depression and vegans and vegetarians are at risk. If you have been a long term vegan or vegetarian consider having your blood tested. Unfortunately plants do not make B12 and some of our greatest sources of B12 are in meat, cheese and eggs.
What you should be eating
1. Fermented foods
To build and strengthen gut bacteria, include fermented foods like pickled fermentations (cabbage, eggplant, onions, etc), lassies (an Indian yoghurt drink), fermented milk (kefir) in your diet.
2. Other sources of probiotics
These include pickles, kimchi, tempeh, coconut yoghurt and miso.
Listen here to Michele’s radio interview with the ThinkerGirls – 7th April, 2017