In my practice, as a therapist and health coach, I have found far too often that people struggling with anxiety use food to self-medicate. And, I’m not referring to kale or quinoa! Food creates a powerful response in the body.
What you eat can make a difference in your digestion, your energy levels, and your mood and anxiety levels. When someone is struggling with overwhelming anxiety, it’s tempting to use alcohol, foods like chocolate and other snack items to relax and take your mind off of the mental stress. Unfortunately, this only makes the anxiety worse, weakens your digestive track, and creates a destructive cycle.
Your body is brilliant. Really! Cravings can indicate that you are struggling with nutritional deficiencies. For example, many people have a deficiency in Magnesium. Magnesium provides a very calming effect on the body. Chocolate is high in Magnesium. Maybe your chocolate cravings are simply your body telling you a crucial piece of information: you need more nutrition!
We can become deficient in nutrients for various reasons. Overuse of medications such as antibiotics and birth control pills, high intake of processed or fried foods, leaky gut, undiagnosed food sensitivities and chlorinated water and others can contribute to this. Choosing to fill your body with nutrient dense foods, coupled with therapy with an anxiety specialist, can be a powerful combination to help you in your journey towards overcoming anxiety.
Magnesium is a powerful relaxant mineral for the body. It is extremely important for the metabolism of other nutrients such as Calcium and Potassium. Magnesium deficiency can occur for many reasons such as excess body fat (hinders the absorption), alcohol consumption, coffee intake, profuse sweating, prolonged stress, excessive menstruation and use of other drugs. Malabsorption of Magnesium can lead to a host of physical and mental ailments such as anxiety, ADD, panic attacks, hypertension, fungal infections, recurrent bacterial infections, PMS, Calcium deficiency, muscle weakness, aggression and impotence, to name a few.
Taking a Magnesium Glycinate supplement can be extremely helpful (check with your doctor first if you have other medical conditions), but there are great ways to obtain it through foods. Kelp, wheat bran, wheat germ, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, brazil nuts, dulse, filberts, millet, pecans, walnuts, rye, tofu, soy beans, brown rice, figs, dates, collard greens, shrimp, avocado, parsley, beans, barley, dandelion greens, and garlic are all high in Magnesium. You can also take a bath in Epsom Salt (with a few drops of Lavender oil for relaxation) to help absorb Magnesium and de-stress!
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