Anxious? Depressed? Your Diet May Be To Blame

Anxious? Depressed? Your Diet May Be To Blame

February 01, 2023

Most people have experienced some level of anxiety at least once in their life; for many, it is a feeling that comes and goes regularly. For one person, it might be "butterflies in your stomach" before a big work presentation, while for someone else, it's anxiousness before running their first marathon. Most people can manage these situations. However, as many as 1/3 of American adults experience a major anxiety disorder. This can be much more serious and debilitating. Also, long-term unchecked anxiety can lead to depression, something as many as 10% of people in this country now suffer from.

So what is anxiety? Anxiety is the feeling of being on edge or restless, having difficulty concentrating or being able to focus, getting tired easily, being irritable, and having uncontrollable feelings of worry. Individuals with anxiety often have trouble sleeping and develop other physical symptoms like stomach pains and gastrointestinal distress. When anxiety gets overwhelming, it can really interfere with daily living.

If you are experiencing these symptoms and can't handle them alone, it is a good idea to talk to a mental health expert. This person can help identify your symptoms, determine causes, and recommend strategies to reduce them. Sometimes medications and additional treatments can be helpful.

Diet is an often overlooked piece of the mental health puzzle.Nutrition and daily health habits play a significant role in influencing your mood, energy, and sleep. There are even specific nutrients that can contribute to symptoms related to anxiety and depression. Testing the following micronutrients can help identify deficiencies and suboptimal levels that may need diet optimization and supplementation.

Here are some micronutrients to consider testing to help your mental wellness:

  • B-complex vitamins: 8 water-soluble vitamins that perform many bodily functions, including turning food into energy. Folate, B-12, and B6 are essential for brain function. Research has found B-12 levels can dictate how well someone recovers from severe depression. Good sources of B vitamins are leafy greens, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. B12 is found in animal sources like seafood, poultry, eggs, and dairy.
  • Vitamin D: Recent research has focused on this vitamin's role in depression. There are vitamin D receptors that regulate mood. Vitamin D is a proven anti-inflammatory, and depression has been associated with inflammation. It is crucial to monitor vitamin D levels and supplement to increase levels as food sources of vitamin D are usually not enough.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: Fatty acids are abundant in the brain. Reduced blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids increase the risk of developing mental health and neurological conditions. Studies have shown lower levels of omega 3s in those with anxiety disorder. Omega 3s are found most prevalent in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. A supplement is probably a good idea if you don't consume enough in your diet.
  • Zinc: This mineral has been shown to reduce anxiety in clinical studies and help regulate mood. Good sources of zinc are meat, fish, other seafood, nuts, and legumes.
  • Magnesium: This mineral helps control physical and psychological reactions to stress, and a magnesium deficiency can induce anxiety. Food sources of magnesium are whole grains, leafy greens, dairy, legumes, and nuts.
  • Choline: This is an essential nutrient needed for optimal health. Its levels can affect mood and focus. Low levels have been associated with anxiety. Eggs are a great source of choline.

To discover how micronutrient deficiencies are affecting your mood and mental health, contact FitLife to schedule a micronutrient test and customized consultation TODAY!

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Diet and Nutrients , Blog