Foods that help beat anxiety

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Anxiety is a phenomenon that exists in day to day life and the occurrence is unpredictable. An unexpected event can trigger anxiety and it is a reaction to a situation that is stressful. It has an adverse effect on overall well-being, and according to American Psychological Association anxiety is an emotion that causes worried thoughts, tension and increases blood pressure, sweating, fear of surrounding and increased heart beat.

Nutrition is a critical component of overall well-being, those who are feeling anxious should take note of nutrients that can help ease anxiety. It is also vital to take the recommendation of your health care practitioner before considering consuming certain foods.

Below are the foods that can ease symptoms of anxiety:

Brazil nuts:

Brazil nut is an excellent source of selenium, which helps in improving mood by lowering inflammation. Selenium is an antioxidant and has anti-carcinogenic properties, the other good sources of selenium are soybeans and mushrooms. An important point to take note of is not to consume selenium in excess and the recommended intake for adults is 400 (mcg) micrograms in a day. The needed amount of Brazil nuts to be consumed is not more than three per day.

Brazil nut is a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps fight depression and anxiety.

Eggs:

Egg yolk has high amount of Vitamin D, a deficiency of it causes anxiety and depression, recent studies have shown Vitamin D to ease symptoms of depression and improve mood in pregnant women and those suffering from seasonal affected disorder in winter.

Eggs have tryptophan an amino acid that stimulates production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is essential for good well-being. It helps in regulating behavior, sleep, mood and memory.

Fatty fish:

Fatty fish have high level of omega-3 fatty acids and the good sources are sardines, mackerel, salmon and trout. Omega-3 rich foods have alpha linolenic acid that produces essential fatty acids called docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and these are neurotransmitters that trigger excellent cognitive skills and lower inflammation. Experts recommend to have a couple of servings of fish a week and there was a reduction in anxiety levels in men who have salmon three times a week.

Dark chocolate:

Dark chocolate has high levels of tryptophan, the body uses this to help in production of feel good neurotransmitter serotonin. Dark chocolate has good amount of magnesium as well that helps in easing symptoms of depression. Experts advise to consume dark chocolate that has 70% or more cocoa content.

Green tea:

Green tea has an amino acid theanine known to lower symptoms of mood disorders by increasing production of feel good neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.

Yogurt:

Studies are being conducted that could indicate that fermented products are beneficial for brain health caused by the presence of healthy bacteria Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. According to recent research fermented foods have shown to reduce social anxiety in few young people and there is also evidence that healthy bacteria increases happiness.

Turmeric:

Recent studies have indicated that curcumin in turmeric may reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in people with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Studies have also shown that good amount of curcumin in diet lowered anxiety levels and there was an increase in DHA.

Pumpkin seeds:

Pumpkin seeds have very high levels of potassium that helps in maintaining blood pressure and regulates electrolyte balance. It has high concentration of zinc as well, proven to work wonderfully in easing anxiety and stress. There was a study on 100 female high school students that showed a deficiency in zinc has a negative effect on mood. Zinc is also excellent for brain and nerve development and the most prevalent sites of zinc are stored in brain regions involving emotions.

Asparagus:

Folate deficiency is a cause of depression and anxiety, asparagus is a rich source of folate, and to meet dietary requirements it is sufficient to consume one cup.

Blueberries:

Blueberries are rich in Vitamin C known to reduce symptoms of anxiety, a recent study has shown individuals who consumed blueberries experienced reduction and prevention of anxiety.

Avocado:

Avocado has good amount of vitamin B6 that aids in production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin that helps in improving mood. It is also rich in niacin, riboflavin and thiamine that contributes a healthy nervous system. Studies have shown people who do not consume sufficient levels of vitamin B6 experience elevated levels of anxiety.

 

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Be aware of the facts of energy drinks

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The phrase energy drinks is commonly heard, and the main function is to be mentally alert and feel a boost of energy. It is the caffeine that helps in staying mentally alert, energy drinks have sugar in the form of glucose and sucrose and it also has B vitamins, inositol, glucuronolactone and taurine. The popularity of energy drinks sold in the market is significantly high and it is favored by American teens and adults after multi vitamins. It is often consumed by men who are between 18 and 34 years of age and teens aged between 12 and 17.

There are two kinds of energy drinks sold one in a container, approximately at  16oz bottle and the other is referred to as energy shots, a small container with a capacity of two to two and a half oz. In a 16 oz bottle the amount of caffeine present is 70 to 240 mg and energy shots have 113 to 200 mg caffeine.

The side effects of energy drinks are caused from caffeine and high sugar content and the adverse effect results in series of health issues such as irritation, fatigue, stomachache, violent behavior, substance abuse, kidney damage and elevated blood pressure.

The energy drink market is a multi-billion dollar industry around the globe and it offers certain health benefits as well. It has riboflavin that helps in treating blood disorders and muscle cramps. Pantothenic acid helps in reducing stress, anxiety, and also fights allergies and skin disorders. Niacin helps in relieving arthritis, vitamin B6 aids in maintaining a healthy nervous system, cardiovascular system and immunity. Vitamin B12 helps in maintaining a robust digestive system and red blood cells.

Caffeine is the main ingredient in energy drink and the safe limit for consumption for adults is 400 mg and this is equivalent to four cups of coffee and two energy shot drinks. It is the combination of caffeine and sugar in energy drinks that makes it dangerous when drank excessively. When sugar is combined with caffeine it results in extremely high levels of energy and stimulates a massive crash of blood sugar and this happens with hours. The blood sugar crash results in fierce increase and decrease of blood sugar and in this case the production of insulin is higher than the needed amount. Individuals now suffer from higher doses of cravings created from blood sugar crash. With increase in cravings and consumption of energy drinks there is a massive imbalance in level of glucose in the blood.

As mentioned it is the sugar that is detrimental to health, energy drinks are loaded with sugar, artificial sweetener and high- fructose corn syrup. The American Heart Association recommends around 36 g of sugar a day for men, and in a regular 500 ml can there is 54 g of sugar which exceeds the needed requirement.

Energy drinks are in great demand, and the people who mostly crave for it are the ones studying for exams and those who have long working hours. It is however important to consider alternative sources that will keep the mind mentally alert and provide energy such as yogurt, oatmeal, avocado, lentils, oranges, quinoa and apples. It does take determination to overcome the habit of drinking energy drinks in more than needed amounts. It is also advised to consult with a medical expert on how much to consume or whether you need to get rid of the addiction. Write down the progress you have made in reducing the number of drinks consumed. Whenever craving strikes think about why you have made the choice to quit and you are keen on living a healthy and productive life. It is easy to get tempted when you spot an energy drink in a store, but try to avoid that particular counter. There are some who might not be aware of the potential dangers of energy drinks, it is hence necessary to promote awareness among close circle of friends and family. It is necessary for parents to check whether kids are addicted to energy drinks and educate them on the side effects.