Can your diet help your anxiety and mental health problems? (Collaboration Post)

Some days anxiety just plain sucks and is very puzzling. Why does it start, what causes it, when does it start, when will it go away?

Anxiety Acceptance approached my blog and asked if I would like to do a collaboration regarding how your diet can affect your mental health. I immediately jumped at the chance as it is something I am particularly interested and as soon as I feel my mental health deteriorating I try to eat healthier. Having completed some research I’m not more informed as to what I should be eating and what supplements I should be taking. We wanted to share some of the information we came across with you in the hope that you can also employ some of the techniques.

*The following information regarding serotonin was contributed by Anxiety Acceptance.*

Serotonin

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Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) is also known as the “happy hormone.” Any deficiency in serotonin production has long been suggested that over-activity of the serotonin system may relate to mood disorders such as depression and anxiety[1]. This isn’t terribly surprising since most with a diagnosed anxiety disorder are prescribed medication to regulate the amount of serotonin absorbed in the brain.

The surprise for me came when I discovered that while serotonin is a neurotransmitter it is estimated that 90% of serotonin is manufactured in the stomach! Said another way, the brain and gut are in constant communication – buy why is this significant?

Since most of our serotonin is created in the stomach evidence suggests that DIET can affect the production of serotonin. In particular, tryptophan is converted to serotonin so the more tryptophan is ingested the better we feel because of the increased serotonin production! Foods rich in tryptophan include[2]:

  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Chocolate
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin and sesame seeds
  • Tofu and soy
  • Turkey

Keep in mind that simply ingesting a variety of the above foods will not automatically decrease anxiety. There are many other factors that lead to conversion of tryptophan to serotonin but being cognizant of what is in your diet and ingesting more tryptophan-rich resources just may help you!

Probiotics

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(https://www.bbc.com/food/diets/what_should_you_eat_for_a_healthy_gut)

There is some clinical evidence, which suggests that the bacteria in your gut can affect your mental health. There is speculation that this can even reach so far as bipolar, schizophrenia and other psychological or neurological problems[3]. It is therefore possible that your gut bacteria may be a contributing factor towards your anxiety. The possibility of improving my mental healthy by correcting the balance of bacteria in my gut is something that I find particularly interesting[4].

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(https://essentialformulas.com/best-probiotics-for-anxiety-and-mood-enhancement-2018/)

In addition to the benefits listed above probiotics can help with other health issues that are associated with anxiety, such as depression and irritable bowel syndrome[5].

Probiotics have many health benefits and it appears that they can also help us to tackle our mental health problems. Probiotics containing Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus have the most evidence to suggest that they could make a significant impact on your anxiety levels[6]. Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus is a healthy bacteria which prevents the growth of bad bacteria. Taking supplements alongside a balanced diet may be the best approach to tackling your anxiety!

 

I believe that what you put into your body does affect your mood. If I have spent all day eating healthy then I feel better in myself and have a general positive outlook. Anyway, I’m off to stock up on probiotics and cheese!

Why not make a change to your diet and see how your mental health can improve? If you have already altered your diet to be more conscious of how what you’re eating can affect your mental health then let us know how it has impacted on your health?

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References – 

[1] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204094507.htm

[2] https://www.healthline.com/health/tryptophan#side-effects

[3] https://www.psycom.net/the-gut-brain-connection

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5571609/

[5] https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/urban-survival/201809/can-probiotics-help-reduce-anxiety

[6] https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/urban-survival/201809/can-probiotics-help-reduce-anxiety

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11 thoughts on “Can your diet help your anxiety and mental health problems? (Collaboration Post)

    1. I cut caffeine and alcohol out when my anxiety is bad and it makes such a difference! Thankfully once I have a grip on it I’m able to go back to it 😆

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  1. I am leery of extreme dietary restrictions, but I do believe a whole-foods diet and enough exercise and sleep are good for everyone’s mental health. You really can’t take care of the mind without taking care of the body. Blessings on your weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, everything in moderations! It’s interesting though that slight chances to your diet or taking supplements could have such an impact. I’ve been taking multivitamins for a week or so now and can see an improvement ☺️ Have a lovely weekend!

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  2. I find this interesting too! I think there’s a question about whether people are just more aware of mental health now or whether more people are suffering from mental health issues. If more people are suffering with things like depression and anxiety it would make sense that some of that would be to do with changed diets! There is also definitely a lot of evidence that our gut bacteria are less healthy now than they were generations previously and this has probably added to immune related problems (including allergies, eczema etc) so either way more probiotic foods are probably a good shout!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice info. I might start trying probiotics. I have celiac disease and avoid gluten. I also struggle off and on with anxiety and was diagnosed with GAD in 2017. I have definitely noticed a direct link between my gut health and my anxiety. It seems bad gut fuels anxiety and anxiety causes upset gut…but it’s hard to know what starts the cycle. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! In my opinion you can’t do any harm by trying some probiotics. Even if it just gives you a little physical health boost, that in turn will improve your mental state ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

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