Curated by Paola Ferro, Naturopath
Natural supplements for anxiety, such as cocoa, lemon balm and walnuts, are useful because they increase the level of serotonin and play a slight sedative action. Let's find out better.
What is anxiety
Anxiety is a state of psychological and physical tension that implies the activation of behaviors useful for adaptation with respect to an existing stimulus (generally due to difficult and unusual conditions).
In the etiology of anxiety there are various causes:
- inheritance : or if in the family there is a member who has suffered or suffers from the same disorder;
- biological alterations : in other words, poor production of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that regulates well-being) at the expense of excessive production of norepinephrine (stress hormone);
- unconscious psychological conflicts: therefore anxiety can be a defense mechanism / symptom implemented by our conscious part.
Even if it is difficult to catalog the symptoms of anxiety we can define that it can manifest itself with: a sense of fear and imminent danger, fear of dying or losing control or going mad, internal tension and inability to relax, worry, over-control in situations, excessive worries, catastrophism, tendency towards catastrophism; nervousness and difficulty concentrating, partial loss of memory, sleep disturbances, tremors, difficulty breathing and feeling of suffocation, chest pain, dyspnea, dizziness, fainting sensation, tingling in parts of the body; hot or cold flashes; feeling of suffocation, tachycardia, cold sweating, weakness, frequent urination, diarrheal discharges, nervous tics.
Food supplements for anxiety
As always , nutrition plays a fundamental role in our physical and emotional well-being. Green light at:
- Milk (slightly and partially skimmed), which contains tryptophan, an amino acid that increases the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with depression.
- Cocoa, only dark and without sugar as it also contains tryptophan.
- Almonds, which contain tryptophan and monounsaturated fatty acids, beneficial for the body and the psyche. They also contain magnesium and copper, which are essential for the balance of the nervous system.
- Walnuts contain selenium, an antioxidant that protects against cardiovascular diseases and helps the smooth functioning of the thyroid.
- Some types of fish are rich in Omega-3, which is fatty acids that have a beneficial effect on mood and the general health of the body. In particular, salmon, anchovies and tuna.
Discover also homeopathic remedies for anxiety treatment
Foods to avoid
Certain foods must be absolutely avoided:
- White sugar is produced through complex refining processes starting from beetroot and is therefore something unnatural. When ingested it initially causes a sense of fulfillment, immediately leaving room for depressing emotions and causing addiction. Instead, wholemeal cane sugar and honey are preferred.
- Refined salt causes an increase in blood pressure and makes you more irritable.
- Glutamate, used as a flavor enhancer in some foods, can cause a worsening of mood as well as headache, nausea and profuse sweating.
- Alcohol, after the first sense of euphoria can cause negative emotions and above all dependence.
- Coffee and all drinks that contain caffeine / theine have an exciting effect on the psyche, so they are not recommended for those suffering from anxiety and hyperactivity.
Phytotherapeutic supplements for anxiety
Among the anxiolytic plants par excellence we can mention:
- Valerian ( Valeriana officinalis ) regulates nervousness and sleep. Valerian in pregnancy is contraindicated, as well as during lactation and cannot be simultaneously with synthetic barbiturates ..
- the passionflower ( Passiflora incarnata ) as it acts as an antispasmodic, sedative and anxiolytic
- hawthorn ( Crataegus oxyacantha ) is ideal when anxiety manifests with palpitations, hyperexcitability, hypertension
- lemon balm ( Melissa officinalis ) when anxiety occurs particularly with gastric pain and abdominal colic
- St. John's wort (or St. John's wort) has a powerful antidepressant function; has the contraindication of being photo-sensitizing and cannot be associated with antidepressant therapies with synthetic drugs.
- the fig ( Ficus carica ) as it acts in the upper part of the digestive system and in particular in the stomach, of which it regulates motility and secretion; in the case of gastroesophageal reflux Ficus carica normalizes the contractions of the stomach, improves the tightness of the cardia (the valve that connects the esophagus and the stomach and is located below the diaphragm), reduces hyperacidity and relieves heartburn.