Anxiety is actually your body’s natural response to stress. It is normal to feel anxious about taking a test, giving a speech, starting a new job, or moving to a new place. This kind of anxiety is unpleasant, but it doesn’t interfere with your daily life.
However, if your feelings of anxiety are extreme, last for longer than 6 months, and interfere with your daily life, you probably have an anxiety disorder. Your feelings of anxiety may be with you all the time. They may be intense or even debilitating. They may prevent you from doing things you enjoy. If left untreated, your anxiety may get worse.
Anxiety disorders may be caused by a complex set of factors, like life experiences, genetics, personality, and brain chemistry. Panic disorder is a form of anxiety disorder. Panic attacks happen spontaneously and usually when there is no real threat, just a perceived one.
The Most Common Symptoms of a Panic Attack Include:
– Palpitations/increased heart rate
– Tingling or numbness in your legs, feet, arms, or hands
– A feeling like you are going crazy or losing control
– Shaking or trembling
– Chest pain
– Stomach pain
– Breathing difficulty – feeling smothered or shortness of breath
– Hot flashes or chills
– A feeling like you are dying
Nutrition, Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Being deficient in certain nutrients may cause or worsen anxiety or lead to panic attacks. Anxiety and panic attacks may be associated with tryptophan, iron and vitamin B6 deficiencies. Anxiety itself may also deplete your nutrient levels. And the lower your nutrient levels, the more anxious you will be.
It may become an endless cycle, ultimately leading you to a psychotherapist’s office. However, instead of checking your nutrient levels, your psychotherapist is likely to prescribe you anti-anxiety drugs. And anti-anxiety drugs may further deplete your nutrient levels.
A low serotonin level is known as one of the causes of panic attacks. Serotonin, also referred to as “the happiness hormone”, is a chemical created by your gut and brain that helps promote calm and a feeling of well-being.
It is synthesized from an essential amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is found in seeds, vegetables, fruits, and food from animals. Improper intake of tryptophan may reduce your serotonin production, directly impairing your memory and decreasing your mood.
For serotonin’s synthesis, iron and vitamin B6 play significant roles as co-factors. A study at the Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacological Sciences showed that both iron and vitamin B6 levels were significantly lower in the patients with panic or hyperventilation attacks admitted to emergency departments.
How to Relieve Anxiety and Prevent Panic Attacks Naturally:
Some foods are high in all 3 essential nutrients (tryptophan, iron and vitamin B6) that your body needs to produce serotonin. Add these foods to your daily diet to minimize anxiety and prevent panic attacks.
Foods high in iron include:
– Liver and other organ meats
– Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, beet and turnip greens)
– Pumpkin seeds
– Beans (Navy, lima, and kidney)
– Dried apricots
– Soy (in moderation and make sure it is organic)
– Raw cocoa
Foods high in vitamin B6 include:
– Green peas
– Sunflower seeds
– Sweet potato
– Meats: fish, poultry, pork, beef
– Turnip greens
– Wheat germ
– Ricotta cheese
– Red bell pepper
Foods high in tryptophan include:
– Pumpkin and squash seeds
– Leafy greens (spinach)
– Sweet potato
– Chia seeds
– Pistachio nuts
– Fish (Halibut, salmon, trout, etc.)
– Turkey and other poultry