Scientific research of interest on anxiety
Anxiety has implications for the general state of our health. We will review the pathologies associated with anxiety disorders and collect other recently published scientific value information:
1. Prevent is better than cure: diseases associated with anxiety
A scientific study conducted on 130 patients presented at a psychiatry congress in 2006 concluded that patients with anxiety disorders were at higher risk of suffering some medical diseases than people without anxiety. According to his summary, the researchers found statistically significant differences in musculoskeletal and cardiac diseases, headaches and allergies.
2. Diet is more important than you think
The publications that relate anxiety and nutrition show that the consumption of fish rich in omega 3, legumes, whole grains, virgin olive oil and raw nuts has a positive impact. The reduction of the intake of red meats and dairy products has this same positive impact.
3. Physical exercise, meditation and yoga
No one doubts the benefits of regular physical exercise, but in this particular case, there is ample evidence of its positive impact on anxious-depressive symptoms. Thus, it has been shown that playing sports frequently (3-5 days a week) with a high energy expenditure (weekly expenditure greater than 17.5 kcal / kg of weight) is more beneficial than the one with low caloric impact and less frequent.
Some reports also conclude that the therapeutic benefits of physical exercise and yoga have similar results to other cognitive behavioral therapies.
4. Limit the caffeine levels
The consumption of caffeine has been linked to the increase of anxious states and sleep disorders. There has even been a misuse of caffeine in people with eating disorders. However, gradual reduction is recommended instead of total cessation for a better adaptation of the organism.
5. Protect your bowel-brain axis
Recent research on the gut-brain axis has opened up multiple lines of research around autoimmune and psychological diseases. Based on these we know that certain intestinal microorganisms are capable of producing substances that function as neurotransmitters in the brain. Hence, it is estimated that 95% of serotonin (substance related to happiness and good humor) that our body produces comes from the intestines.
On the other hand, we know that an imbalance in intestinal microorganisms (dysbiosis) can contribute to the development of certain diseases. A study carried out in 2017 includes diseases linked to the intestine-brain axis. Anxiety and depression are two of the pathologies included and both show that the increase in serotonin levels is an indicator of improvement.
The taking of prebiotics, given their ability to regulate the intestinal flora (microbiota), may be of interest to avoid dysbiosis and related situations such as, for example, inflammation.
6. Levels of amino acids
A study presented at the X National Congress of Psychiatry in 2006 showed the correlation of amino acid levels and symptoms associated with anxiety in 40 middle-aged women. Based on this, low levels of the glutamic, aspartic, taurine, tryptophan, tyrosine and ornithine amino acids were associated with anxiety.
7. The value of antioxidants
The evidence published in recent years links a reduced total antioxidant status with the development of disorders such as anxiety. At this time it is known that oxidative stress generates inflammation, loss of neuronal plasticity, etc. For this reason, the antioxidant effects of conventional treatments are considered valuable. These help to eliminate the oxidative stress and its consequences and protect from the damage produced in the neurons.
Although nutritional psychiatry is a recent field of study, the observational literature confirms that diet has an influence on common mental disorders such as depression.
The SMILES study investigated how dietary training can improve the treatment of depressive episodes. After applying the model ‘ModiMedDiet’-rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains, to the study group, significant improvements were observed. This model also emphasizes the increase in the consumption of fatty fish, extra virgin olive oil, legumes, raw nuts without salt, as well as in the reduction of red meats and dairy products.
As a summary…
- Follow a diet as varied as possible: include fresh fruits and vegetables, organic and seasonal, preferably.
- Moderate the red meat and meat products. Increase vegetables, legumes, fish and mushrooms.
- Avoid as much as possible, the consumption of processed foods such as sauces, sausages and pasta.
- Avoid refined, processed and packaged flours (pasta, white bread, sliced bread, toast, cookies …)
- Prioritize the use of whole grain, quality and unprocessed flours.
- Eat foods rich in unsaturated healthy fats that improve brain function such as nuts, blue fish, flax seeds or olive oil.
- Drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day.