Apart from psychological approaches to beating stress and anxiety, there are important nutritional changes that help to get you out of a constant state of anxiety and a tendency to over-react to stress. Making these changes will give you more clarity and energy to then deal with underlying life and psychological issues that generate anxiety, such as areas of insecurity and the overwhelming feeling of having too much to do.
Andrew is a case in point. Managing a chain of supermarkets had left him very stressed. In the day he’d drink coffee and in the evening he’d relax with a beer or some wine, as otherwise he would experience difficulty sleeping. He was also gaining weight. He went on my low-GL diet, quit drinking coffee and booze, and took my recommended supplements. Three weeks later he said, “My energy is through the roof, I don’t feel stressed and I have no problem sleeping, and waking refreshed.” You can find out which supplements are right for you with my free 100% Health Check
Here are the key changes that make the most difference.
Eat a Low GL diet and supplement chromium
The state of anxiety is associated with raised levels of the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol. When your blood sugar dips (often a rebound from blood sugar highs) this promotes the release of adrenal hormones, as do stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine. So, the first step towards reducing anxiety is to balance your blood sugar by eating a low GL diet containing slow-releasing carbohydrates eaten with protein and avoid or, at least considerably reduce, your use of both stimulants and alcohol (see below). This alone has a major effect in reducing anxiety.
The mineral chromium helps to even out blood sugar by making you more sensitive to insulin – that’s the hormone that keeps blood sugar level even. It is particularly effective in those with symptoms of depression associated with sugar cravings, feeling tired and oversensitive. If that sounds like you try supplementing 200mcg of chromium twice a day, with breakfast and lunch. it works even better if combined with cinnamon. Look for supplements with Cinnulin®, a potentised extract of cinnamon, plus chromium.
Quit stimulants and reduce alcohol
The reason we use stimulants is to increase adrenal hormones and the feel of energy and motivation. But the more you have the more you need until you can’t function without them, feeling ‘flat’. It takes a few days to recover your natural energy through eating a low GL diet and taking the right supplements.
The last thing you want if you are prone to anxiety and feeling stressed is lots of caffeine. So, step one for reducing anxiety is to become caffeine-free. There’s the most caffeine in strong coffee and high caffeine energy drinks. There’s also some in tea, which is more calming due to the presence of an amino acid called theanine. So tea is better than coffee but still you need to limit your intake to two weak cups a day.
Nicotine is another stimulant and therefore quitting smoking is key for reducing levels of anxiety, even though you may have become addicted precisely because a cigarette helps you calm down. If you feel tired when quitting stimulants supplement a cmbination of tyrosine with adaptogenic herbs such as the three ginsengs (Siberian, American and Korean).
Alcohol, at least for the first hour, is a relaxant because it switches off adrenalin by promoting GABA (see below) making it a highly effective way to unwind. But, similar to nicotine, the effect of using alcohol on a daily basis is the opposite. You become more stressed. Also, alcohol disturbs the normal dreaming cycle and the net effect is that you wake up more tired and irritable, in need of more caffeine in the day, then alcohol in the evening. It’s a vicious cycle. Therefore, to reduce anxiety, it is important to drink lightly, and even take a break for a couple of weeks.
Supplement GABA and Taurine
GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid) is the main inhibitory or calming neurotransmitter. It not only switches off stress hormones, it also affects serotonin, thereby affecting your mood. For these reasons, having enough GABA in your brain is associated with being relaxed and happy, while having too little is associated with anxiety, tension, depression and insomnia. GABA is not only a neurotransmitter, it’s also an amino acid. This means it’s a nutrient and, by supplementing it, you can help to promote normal healthy levels of GABA in the brain.
There is one problem, however. In the EU, GABA has been classified a medicine, meaning it is no longer available over the counter in the UK. You can buy GABA supplements on the Internet from countries such as the US, though. GABA is made from taurine and glutamine to look for formulas containing these if you ......
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