Your Diet – Impact on Social Anxiety
What if you could change what you eat and how you eat to make an impact on your social anxiety? What if your nutrition was a vital part of improving your mental health? Is it really possible that nutrition for social anxiety can play such a huge part if making you unafraid in social situations? Can food and diet for social phobia really stop panic attacks and keep you calm?
Social Anxiety Nutrition – True of False?
Anxiety disorders are a complicated condition be is social anxiety to any other anxiety disorder. There are many ways of dealing with the fear and the panic that comes with these disorders but what you eat is something that we all share no matter what condition, situation, or complications we have. What this means is that as a common experience we can determine what can help any anxiety including social anxiety.
This is not to say that changes to your nutrition alone will lead to a reversal of your anxiety. That is wishful thinking, but diet for anxiety and panic should not be ignored. Social anxiety disorder nutrition changes are NOT a myth because there is a huge amount of science behind the effects of food on a persons mental health that show it can make a massive difference to you.
A good diet is a basic framework to a healthy body AND a healthy mind giving you a solid platform to engaging in further methods to cure social anxiety for good.
How Does a Diet for Social Anxiety Work Then?
While there is a lot of nitty gritty science details I could go into, the best thing for someone trying to overcome social anxiety with nutritional changes is to make a list of the foods you want to avoid, and the foods you want to eat more of. By reducing or eliminating some foods and stocking up on the others you can make a very easy improvement just by your supermarket choices!
As such, here are two lists you can use to start making changes in your eating habits.
Good Anti-Anxiety Nutrition.
Water – The basis for life on earth. While this is a little dramatic hydration is so fundamentally important that it is quite a surprise to find out we do not drink enough of it. Pure water, not juice, cordial, beer, or any other ‘liquid’ is essential for the good function of our body and mind. When you are even slightly dehydrated your moods can be greatly effected. It can leave you fatigued, dizzy, disoriented, and more stressed out. Drink water often and it will help a lot.
Low GI –(Glycemic Index) Foods – Low GI foods are consumables that release energy into your body at a steady rate allowing the body to process that energy efficiently. High GI foods convert to energy VERY quickly flooding your bloodstream with glucose. This high blood sugar level means the body is forced to flood it even further with insulin which is the hormone that takes that glucose and uses it for useful things. Often the body must store this as fat which is not good – but for social anxiety disorder this up (and then sudden crash) of blood sugar levels leaves you with wild mood swings and higher heart rates and overall more stress, anxiety and panic. Eat low GI foods and avoid high GI foods is the general rule – some good ones are:
- Nuts & Berries
- Most Vegetables
- Wheat Grass
Glycerine – This organic compound is common and very useful. For people trying to overcome social anxiety disorder it can also be a boon because it actually helps to reduce stress. When you mix it with some water and drink this beverage, it acts on your body to reduce the stress hormone cortisol. It actually calms you down which is quite amazing.
The effect is not permanent of course, but a drink of this substance before you go into a stressful situation can really help.
Alkaline Forming Foods – There is a lot of debate about this one but I am a believer. Alkaline forming foods are consumables that make our body’s more alkaline. Alkaline is the state that is opposite to acidic which is what our body’s seem to gravitate towards with the foods we eat in modern society.
The idea is that the foods we ate when we were tribesmen long before industry and civilization proper happened are what our bodies are actually craving to work optimally. This means that there is a whole range of food that will make our body less acidic and that promotes better physical and mental health as our bodies hormones and brain chemicals all work well.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids – If you have been living under a rock you might not have heard about this amazing stuff. A lot of study has gone into omega 3 and it has come back very positive indeed. A lot of the studies were centered around depression, but the way it helps you mental functioning is very closely linked to anxiety as well.
I will be honest and say I have not got my head around the science behind this, but it has something do with the stimulation of interleukin 6 (IL-6) which apparently is good for mental health. You can get Omega 3 fatty acids in a lot of foods but especially fatty fish, but you can also get supplements of it as well which are quick and easy to take in your social anxiety diet.
Bad Nutrition for Anxiety.
Coffee – Caffeine is bad news for anxiety sufferers. Even a small amount of coffee, or cola, or anything that contains caffeine can be detrimental to social anxiety because this substance raises your heart rate and promotes a heightened state which most people drink coffee to get. However, anxiety and panic attacks are much more likely to occur when you are in this state as it is fight or flight taken to the far extreme.
Eliminate caffeine from your life – or at least restrict it to two cups of coffee daily – if you have some and you will see a difference.
Sugar – Remember the bit about high GI foods and spiking blood sugar levels. Well sugar is VERY high GI and is used way too much in a lot of foods. Sugary foods will send your blood sugar levels sky high making panic and anxiety more likely, then you will crash and feel worse afterwards. This is a dangerous cycle and sometimes we cannot see if because it has become a part of our daily routine from our food choices.
Reduce sugar dramatically and it can help a great deal.
Processed Foods – Processed foods are more often than not an acidic forming food which is the opposite of an alkaline forming food. They are also usually high GI because much of the nutrients that were in the original foods it was made from have been stripped out to allow for better shelf life in supermarkets.
This is very dangerous when we have too much processed foods so try to stick with fresh foods as often as possible.
Booze – Alcohol might make you feel a little more social and free, but it can also elevate the heart rate just like caffeine. Also, if you do end up getting tipsy or drunk this can make you lose control of your thoughts leading to more exaggerated and catastrophic thinking. There are a whole bunch of other reasons as well but there are the main ones.
If you drink and suffer from social anxiety it is best to cut back or just stop at least until you have this condition solved and have your nutrition for social anxiety sorted!
author: Mike Porteous
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