Everybody suffers from a little anxiety nowadays. In fact, a little anxiety is good as it motivates us into action when needed. However, what if our anxiety becomes chronic for example, when we continue to feel anxious even when the situation has calmed down we could be suffering from an anxiety disorder. This is more common than we may realise for instance, according to the NIMH (The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health) anxiety disorders affect about 40 million adults every year. How do sufferers describe this disorder?
First of all, let’s take the experience of Tina, a sufferer in her teens who describes her first anxiety attack as, “suddenly my heart started pounding like it was literally going to jump out of my chest, I started shaking uncontrollably and couldn’t catch my breath. To be honest, I thought I was going to die as I was also overpowered by feelings of intense dread, anxiety and confusion, fortunately, my sister was there and she talked me round till I was completely calm again, it took me by complete surprise”
Secondly, maybe you have never had a full blown panic attack but you experience something similar to Greta who describes her anxiety disorder as a daily relentless feeling of nervousness and worry. She comments, ”sometimes I feel so anxious but I don’t know why it’s just a vicious circle. It makes every day living hard as I can’t see clearly to make decisions. On top of that my family and friends don’t always understand”. Perhaps you have already been diagnosed and have been taking medication but are looking for further or alternative solutions. This article will consider some supplements, herbs and lifestyle changes that can be made to fight against this disruptive disorder.
Firstly, all sources of caffeine in coffee, tea and chocolate should be avoided as people with anxiety disorders tend to be more susceptible to the effects of caffeine. (If you get withdrawals from coming off caffeine such as fatigue, headaches, depression and tremors get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, eat more fruit, supplement with vitamin C up to bowel tolerance and if absolutely necessary take a paracetamol for the headache after 5 to 9 days you should be calmer and sleeping better so stick to it as it is totally worth it.
Secondly, I would recommend cutting out alcohol except no more than 2 glasses of wine on occasion or no alcohol of course if it is not recommended with any medication you may be on. (Just a note that red wine is very addictive and so if you cannot control it, it would be better to cut it out completely for best results.) I will be writing more on most addictive foods in an upcoming article.
In addition, a whole food diet containing all main food groups including small amounts of healthy protein with every meal. Also, eat a leafy green salad or green smoothie everyday as the greens contain magnesium which is great for mild anxiety. More effective dietary aids are Alfalfa sprouts, algae, and super sprouts. (Check out some of these free recipes.)
Thirdly, eat a mostly vegan diet and cut out all processed foods and sugars It is also important not to use refined oils so, no deep fried foods, crisps etc. Use cold pressed coconut oil for cooking and extra virgin olive oil for salads for example.
I would recommend a multivitamin and mineral containing 50mg of the B vitamins (this will also contain enough magnesium.) Otherwise you can take 200mg to 300mg of magnesium two to three times a day for mild anxiety on the other hand if you are suffering from panic attacks some nutritional therapists will recommend Inositol up to 4 grams 3 times per day has been reported to control these attacks in a one double blind trial while others will try to find out if there is a vitamin deficiency causing anxiety during their consultation with you. For example vitamin B3 as Niacinamide has been found to be beneficial. Interestingly, it has been found to work in the brain in a similar way as drugs such as Valium when studied on animals.
Additionally many nutritional therapists recommend soaking in a hot bath containing 1-2 cups of Epsom salts for 15 -20 minutes until you see results.
Valerian works as a relaxing and sleep promoting herb but doesn’t have the side effects that drugs can have. A cup of valerian tea before bed or taking a supplement at night can give you a restful sleep and keep you calm during the day.
“Eat a leafy green salad or green smoothie everyday as the greens contain magnesium which is great for mild anxiety. More effective dietary aids are Alfalfa sprouts, algae, and super sprouts. (Check out some of these free recipes.)”
Underlying digestive issues
In some cases there could be an underlying cause of anxiety for instance an imbalance of the gut flora and bacteria can cause depression and anxiety if you have taken a lot of antibiotics in a short space of time, been on steroids or had prolonged periods of stress and think this could be the case seek assistance from a health care professional or nutritionist of your choice.
Massage Therapy and essential oils
Geranium and lavender are great to balance and calm the emotions in fact a few drops of lavender on your pillow at night should knock you out.
If you can afford it or have someone willing to give you a massage it is also excellent for the nervous system and would give immediate relief.
What if I suffer from depression and anxiety together?
Many therapists have had success with Vitamin D3 in liquid form approx. 5 drops each morning.
Rhodiola is another recommended herb for depression and anxiety although I warn those with adrenal issues not to take Rhodiola and in which case I would recommend ashwaganda.
How does the Budwig diet fit in?
While the quark or cottage cheese and flaxseed oil + two TBSP ground flaxseeds mixture is not vegan it does have many positive properties together which in my opinion can outweigh the negative in many cases. Some have found that the daily consumption for a period of time has in fact diminished their anxiety symptoms I feel this is due to not only the positive chemical reaction but also to the healthy omega 3 oil in the flaxseeds, those reporting this improvement may have been experiencing constipation which can cause our moods to be effected or a hormonal imbalance which can also be improved with those little flaxseeds.
Time does not permit me to write about all there is on anxiety however I hope that my 20 years of experience with it will assist you on your journey in tackling it. There is so much you can do to take control of your health and you are not alone. (For help with this and addressing anxiety as well as receiving personalised anxiety beating recipes, you can make an appointment with me by following this link.)
Always speak to your doctor before starting any supplement programme and do not use these suggestions as a substitute to medication without your doctor’s advice.