Let’s take a closer look at some beneficial nutrients:
Energy – of course ingesting adequate energy is paramount. What is our natural source of energy? Carbohydrates – moderate (not large) amounts of slow to release (‘Low GI’) carbohydrates distributed during the day, in at least 2-3 meals. Good sources include: fruits like berries, bananas and citrus, oats (porridge), Basmati rice, Quinoa (a very ‘fashionable’ gluten-free grain), sweet potato and dark heavy wholegrain breads. Carbs in the correct form, portion size and distribution, are also critical in preventing hypos (unnecessary drops in blood glucose levels) which, like under-hydration, I would argue could certainly exacerbate or precipitate an anxious state. A dietitian could assist in both portion control and carbohydrate distribution.
Protein sources are also important to ingest. Protein contributes to alertness and also helps reduce the GI of the meal – meaning more slowly released energy from food and sustained body energy levels. Protein foods include eggs, seafood, legumes and meats.
Do we need fat? Yes! Some oils like omega 3 oils found in fatty fish (incl. sardines, salmon, trout, mackerel) as well as Walnuts and Flaxseed oil, may be beneficial to patients suffering with depression, among its many other therapeutic properties such as cardio protective effects. Oils and fats are also essential in the body’s production of hormones .
Note: It is worthwhile noting that many herbal remedies interact with conventional medicines, so if you do choose to trial a herbal or natural remedy, ask your pharmacist to check for potential drug – nutrient interactions. Many of the remedies available are not based on robust scientific evidence.
Remember these simple basic steps too: don’t skip meals, drink water throughout the day, avoid too much coffee and alcohol, and enjoy a clean fresh unprocessed style of eating – eat your veggies and cut down on junk food.