In this week’s blog, Lisa, one of our Registered Nutritionists discusses the important role nutrition plays in supporting anxiety, as well as some simple tips that you can start implementing immediately to help your anxiety levels.
“More than one in eight people will experience a social anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.” - StPatricks.ie
Anxiety is a natural response within the body when it senses danger. The body produces hormones like adrenaline during stressful situations, which triggers our sympathetic nervous system to activate. This is also known as our fight or flight response.
This response can be helpful in short doses, but when we start to experience it for long stretches of time it leaves the body and mind in a highly anxious state. Being in this sympathetic nervous state for prolonged periods of time, can affect concentration levels, sleep quality, the digestive system as well as the body’s reproductive systems.
Thankfully, due to an incredible amount of research on anxiety, we now have so many tools we can implement into our everyday lives to support our nervous systems and reduce anxiety levels.
Here are some of our favourite tips for reducing anxiety -
Exercise - Regular, daily movement has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety levels. As little as a 10 minute walk can be beneficial. Exercises that activate the parasympathetic nervous system AKA our rest, digest and restore are yoga, walking, light cardiovascular training and swimming.
Meditation and breathwork - Thanks to apps like Calm and HeadSpace more and more people are experiencing the wonderful anxiety reducing benefits of meditation. Meditation is similar to exercise, in that 10 minutes daily can have a profound impact on anxiety and stress levels. A very simple breathing exercise that helps regulate an anxious system is Box Breathing. Start off with 3-5 rounds, and build yourself up to 10 minutes daily.
Vitamin B6 & Magnesium - The combination of vitamin B6 and magnesium glycinate has been shown to reduce anxiety and switch the body into a calmer state. A high dose of vitamin B6 increases the production of a powerful neurotransmitter GABA, which has a calming effect on the brain. It also increases the absorption of magnesium, a nutrient that most humans are deficient in that plays an important role in the healthy functioning of our nervous systems.
If this sounds like a combination you need, we recommend MegaMag Calmeze.
Nourishing your gut - Did you know that 90% of serotonin (our happy hormone) is produced in the digestive tract? And that the brain and gut are linked via a complex system consisting of neurotransmitters, neurons, gut microbes and the immune system that are in constant communication with each other.
This means we need to do all we can to protect the health of the gut by nourishing it with a wide variety of plants, vegetables, fruits and other nutrient dense foods. Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha also help to support gut diversity.
Probiotic strains, like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus, improve gut health and have been found to relieve anxiety.
CBD is gaining a huge amount of traction of late in its ability to aid sleep and anxiety. CBD has been shown to activate CB1 receptors located in the brain's amygdala. When these receptors are blocked anxiety can increase, making CBD a promising anxiolytic and potentially very helpful for those suffering from anxiety.
If you are not sure which products are best suited for your needs, we can support you with a Personalised Supplement Plan!