Diet | Gut Health | Anxiety
This week I have been reading The Better Brain by Julia Rucklidge and Bonnie Kaplan. This has cemented what I have already known, nutrition plays a huge part in our mental wellbeing.
Chronic inflammation can also be a contributing factor to anxiety and again our diet can contribute to inflammation in the body.
People who have an anxiety disorder or generalised anxiety disorder often have elevated markers of inflammation (such as C-Reactive protein). Raised CRP can interfere with serotonin and dopamine, that contribute our feelings of pleasure. When these are disrupted this can impact how we feel.
When it comes to food and their impact on anxiety , we do know the highly processed Western diet is a contributing factor.
The Western diet is mostly made up of highly refined carbohydrates which contribute to inflammatory processes in the body. This type of diet is often lacking in nutrients and can create oxidative stress in the body and increases inflammation.
While our bodies have an inbuilt antioxidant system to help combat oxidative stress, we have to work extra hard to combat the free radicals that are created due to a high carbohydrate diet.
The less processed the food, the better it is for our body and is easier for our gut to digest and our body to utilise the nutrients.
Food labelling can at times be deceiving and foods we think of as “whole grain” can also be highly processed. Examples of these are bagels, pasta, rice, cereals and muesli bars. These foods can also contribute to inflammation which can have a flow on affect to our mental health and wellbeing.
Proteins and fats have been shown to dampen down inflammation and in turn can help reduce anxiety.
Focusing on a diet that contains nutrients to reduce inflammation and support the body’s effort to overcome oxidative stress and reduce anxiety is a much better choice overall.
If you would like to discuss anxiety, nutrition or gut health and get a handle on your current diet, then please get in touch and we can work together to focus on a healthier lifestyle for you.