Most people understand that panic attacks, anxiety, depression and mood swings are closely linked. What many people fail to understand is that the underlying symptoms of mental health problems are often linked to certain foods. The fact of the matter is that what we put into our bodies can potentially fuel feelings of anxiety including panic attacks. The good news is that we can easily reduce, control or even avoid such foods to stop panic attacks before they stop you. Five such foods are caffeine, sugar and refined starches, salt, MSG and alcohol.
The caffeine in coffee, tea, alcohol and soda depletes the body of necessary vitamins and minerals that help balance both mood and the nervous system. Caffeine also stimulates an adrenal response in the body, which can increase not only anxiety levels, but also nervousness and insomnia. Nutritionists recommend a diet consisting of less than 100mg of caffeine per day – the equivalent of one cup of percolated coffee or two diet cola beverages. If you are looking to stop panic attacks, restrict your caffeine intake to between 50 and 100mg per day.
2. Sugar and Refined Starches
When large amounts of sugar are consumed, the body quickly releases insulin to help decrease blood glucose. The resulting state of low blood sugar, otherwise known as hypoglycemia or a blood sugar “crash” is closely linked to decreased energy, mood disturbances and also the onset of panic attacks. A diet high in refined sugar can also cause lactic acid to build up in the blood. You can stop panic attacks by limiting your intake of sugar. A great way to limit your daily sugar intake is to replace simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates such as whole grains. If you suffer from panic attacks, you might also find relief by eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day – another way of preventing insulin spikes.
Salt depletes the body of important minerals which can raise blood pressure and cause your heart to work harder. Studies have shown that higher salt intake is indeed linked to higher anxiety levels. It is important to limit salt intake to stop panic attacks. An easy way to cut down on salt is to familiarize yourself with nutritional labels on canned or frozen foods. Try to avoid foods that contain salt as the major ingredient.
MSG is a flavor enhancer that contains high levels of sodium, which can irritate the nervous system. Anxiety symptoms associated with high sodium levels include tingling, numbness, headaches and chest pain. If you suffer from these anxiety symptoms and consume a diet high in MSG, limit your intake to a third of an ounce per day, or 9.45 grams, to stop panic attacks.
Many people associate alcohol with relaxation. On the contrary, alcohol consumption can lead to increased anxiety, irritability and disturbed sleep patterns. Alcohol also increases lactic acid levels in the blood and causes fluctuations in mood-related blood sugar levels. Consume alcohol in moderation to lower the risk of anxiety and stop panic attacks.
Stop Panic Attacks, Boost Your Health
If you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, then take a closer look at your diet. If you discover that your diet is high in any of these five fatal foods, cut back or completely avoid that food to stop panic attacks from interfering with your health and well-being. Remember that a healthy diet does wonders for not only body, but also the mind.
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