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Coping with anxiety: Can diet make a difference?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/coping-with-anxiety/AN01589
- With Mayo Clinic psychiatrist
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.read biographyclose window
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Dr. Daniel Hall-Flavin, board certified in general psychiatry and addiction psychiatry, is a St. Louis native looking to the Internet as a way to help people improve their health and be more active participants in their own health care by learning from Mayo Clinic's experts.
Dr. Hall-Flavin served on the faculties of Cornell University Medical College, New York Medical College and The George Washington University Medical School before joining the Mayo Clinic staff in 1996. He has special interests in adult psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, pharmacogenetics and personalized medicine. He served as medical director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence from 1986 to 1999, and is currently involved in translational medicine research involving the introduction of pharmacogenetic technology into the daily practice of community psychiatry.
"With the advent of pharmacogenetics and related fields and the advances in translational medicine, informed collaborative relationships between knowledgeable, capable health professionals and informed, proactive individuals and their families are more vital than ever," he said.
"I'm optimistic that our Internet health education activities will contribute to ever-improving health outcomes for all who participate and apply what is learned."
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Lifestyle and home remedies (2)
- Coping with anxiety: Can diet make a difference?
- Herbal treatment for anxiety: Is it effective?
Coping with anxiety: Can diet make a difference?
Is it true that certain foods worsen anxiety and others have a calming effect?
from Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Coping with anxiety can be a challenge and often requires making lifestyle changes. There aren't any diet changes that can cure anxiety, but watching what you eat may help. Try these steps:
- Eat a breakfast that includes some protein. This will help energize you throughout the day.
- Eat complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are thought to increase the amount of serotonin in your brain, which has a calming effect. Eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains. Steer clear of foods that contain simple carbohydrates, such as sugary foods and drinks.
- Drink plenty of water. Even mild dehydration can affect your mood.
- Limit or avoid alcohol. The immediate effect of alcohol may be calming. But as alcohol is processed by your body, it can make you edgy. Alcohol can also interfere with sleep.
- Limit or avoid caffeine. Avoid caffeinated beverages. They can make you feel jittery and nervous and can interfere with sleep.
- Pay attention to food sensitivities. In some people, certain foods or food additives can cause unpleasant physical reactions. In certain people, these physical reactions may lead to shifts in mood, including irritability or anxiety.
- Try to eat healthy, balanced meals. This is important for overall physical and mental health. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and don't overeat. It may also help to eat fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, on a regular basis.
Changes to your diet may make some difference to your general mood or sense of well-being but are not a substitute for treatment. If your anxiety is severe or interferes with your day-to-day activities or enjoyment of life, you may need medication, counseling (psychotherapy) or other treatment.Next question
Herbal treatment for anxiety: Is it effective?
- Kemper KJ, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine therapies to promote healthy moods. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2007;54:901.
- Lee RA. Anxiety. In: Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/130846680-7/0/1494/57.html?tocnode=54111716&fromURL=57.html. Accessed Jan. 1, 2011.
- Walsh R. Lifestyle and mental health. American Psychologist. In press. Accessed April 7, 2011.