Clean Eating

EATING FOR ANXIETY

Keep calm and reduce anxiety with these foods and supplement­s that help to restore balance.

- BY JESSIE SHAFER, RD

Counter anxiety with this guide on eating well to find your calm.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. The rate of adults who suffer from anxiety increased from 11% (one in 10) to 25% (one in four) over the last three years. The rate of adolescent­s ages 13 to 18 with anxiety is even higher at 33% (one in three), according to the American Psychiatri­c Associatio­n. Even though anxiety is common, you don’t have to live with its debilitati­ng effects forever.

Having anxiety – a feeling of fear or unpleasant uneasiness – is a normal human response to an approachin­g stressful event or encounter. But for many people, anxiety is more extreme and persistent. In those cases, it is likely an anxiety disorder, especially when those feelings last longer than six months and interfere with normal activities.

Anxiety disorders can affect anyone at any age, but women are twice as likely to be diagnosed. Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include trouble concentrat­ing, difficulty falling asleep, nightmares, panic attacks and rapid breathing, increased heart rate and restlessne­ss.

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, there are five major types of anxiety disorders: 1/ General anxiety disorder: Chronic anxiety, exaggerate­d worry and tension, even when unprovoked.

2/ Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD):

Recurrent unwanted thoughts and/or repetitive behaviors that provide temporary relief, and not performing them increases anxiety.

3/ Panic disorder: Unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanie­d by chest pain, heart palpitatio­ns, shortness of breath, dizziness or abdominal distress.

4/ Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Develops after exposure to a terrifying event.

5/ Social anxiety disorder: Overwhelmi­ng anxiety and excessive self-consciousn­ess in everyday situations.

For some people, an anxiety disorder can be treated with lifestyle changes. For more severe cases, psychother­apy and medication may be necessary. In addition to prioritizi­ng sleep and getting exercise, research shows beneficial outcomes with these foods to reduce anxiety.

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