- by Dr Gowher Yusuf
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- Feb 09 2017
Teens: How do you learn to cope up your anxiety? Activity 22
Source: The Anxiety Workbook for Teens by Lisa M, SCHAB, LCSW
What you eat and drink can have an effect on your anxiety level. Some foods and beverages have a chemical makeup that can cause you to feel more anxious. Some foods and beverages have a chemical makeup that can help you to lower your anxiety.
Everyone’s body is a little different from everyone else’s. We each have a unique chemical makeup that reacts with the chemicals in everything we ingest. A number of substances have been linked to increased anxiety in many people. Some of these are caffeine, refined white sugar, refined white flour, alcohol and some artificial sweeteners. A number of other substances have been linked to keeping anxiety low. Some of these are B-complex vitamins (such as niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, B-6, B-12, biotin, pantothenic acid and folic acid), calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates.
You may be aware of ingesting some of these substances. When you sprinkle sugar on your cereal, you know you are eating sugar. Our substances have unfamiliar names and are not so obvious. Most people do not know when they are ingesting folic acid. To be fully aware of everything you are putting into your body, you may have to read the labels on the packages of the foods you eat. To learn more about their chemical makeup, you can also look up individual foods in a encyclopaedia or a book on nutrition, or on the internet.
Some of the more common foods that contain substances are listed below.
Substances that may raise you anxiety level and foods they are found in:
Caffeine, coffee, tea, chocolate, soda
Refined white sugar: non diet soda, candy, cookies, cakes, ice cream, other desserts, sugar coated cereals
Refined white flour: white bread and rolls, hamburger buns, spaghetti and other white pasta, pretzels
Alcohol: beer, wine, hard liquor
Artificial sweeteners: diet soda, most foods labelled “diet”, many sugar-free products, cereals.
Substances that may lower your anxiety level and foods they are found in:
Niacin: chicken, turkey, wheat, brown rice, tuna
Thiamin: oats, wheat, tuna, asparagus, sunflower seeds, white rice
Riboflavin: milk, yogurt, avocados, mushrooms
Vitamin B-6: turkey, bananas, mangoes, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, tuna
Vitamin B-12: Beef, yogurt, tuna, crab, clams
Biotin: eggs, cheese, peanuts, cauliflower
Pantothenic acid: yogurt, avocados, salmon, sunflower seeds, mushrooms
Folic acid: turkey, oranges, peas, avocados, cabbage, broccoli, soybeans
Calcium: milk, yogurt, cheese, broccoli, spinach
Magnesium: spinach, almonds, avocados, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts
Omega-3 fatty acids: tuna, salmon, sardines, walnuts, dark green leafy vegetables, soybeans
Complex carbohydrates: whole-grain breads, whole grain cereals, whole-grain pasta, brown rice.
Make seven copies of the diary below. For the next week, record your anxiety level four times a day, and writes down everything that you eat and drink. Measure your anxiety by rating it with a number from 0 to 10 (0 being completely peaceful and 10 being highly anxious)
1.Looking back at your diary, describe the difference between the number of anxiety-raising substances you ingested and the number of anxiety-lowering substances you ingested.
2.Look at the times when you rated yourself as highly anxious. Then look at your food intake for the twenty four hours preceding that. Describe any connection you notice between high anxiety and what you ate or drank.
3.Look at the times when you rated your anxiety as very low. Then look at your food intake for the twenty four hours preceding that. Describe any connection you notice between low anxiety and what you ate or drank.
4.Do you see any patterns in your anxiety level and food or beverage intake? Yes/No
5.Sometimes People’s favourite foods are those that raise anxiety. It can be hard to give those up completely, but even cutting back on anxiety-raising substances can be helpful. Think about some specific, realistic ways you can ingest fewer substances that raise your anxiety level, and describe those ways.
6.Think about some specific, realistic ways you can ingest fewer substances that lower your anxiety level, and describe those ways.
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