Month: April 2012

Nutritional Considerations for Reduction of Anxiety

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vegetables
vegetables (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is always best to eat WHOLE FOODS as opposed to processed foods, foods high in hydrogenated oils, or refined sugar.  However, when suffering from ANXIETY, it is even more important to monitor your nutrition because many anxiety disorders can be helped dramatically by improving nutrition and eliminating or greatly reducing the intake of certain foods.TRY ADDING:

  • More whole grains such as quinoa, long grain brown rice, rolled oats, bulgur
  • Leafy greens are great!  Try adding some spinach, kale or collard greens.
  • Experimenting with veggies can be fun.  How about trying root vegetables such as parsnips, sweet potatoes or rutabagas?
  • Add more protein such as tuna, fish, chicken, yogurt.
  • GOOD FATS/OILS are so important!  High in Omega-3 vitamins, certain nuts and oils are great for you.  These can be found in fish, olive oil, almonds, just to name a few.
  • Turkey (contains tryptophan which helps to reduce anxiety, stress and depression.)
  • DRINK MORE WATER!

FOOD TO AVOID:

  • Processed foods (potato chips, packaged food, cookies, snack bars, pre-packaged lunch meats, etc.)
  • White bread, or bread that says “wheat” on the package as opposed to 100% whole wheat
  • Sweets like pastries, cookies, cakes, candy
  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy, other than some plain Greek yogurt
  • MSG found in many products such as processed foods, Chinese food, packaged soups

When trying to incorporate better foods into your diet, it is not necessary to make it complicated!  Have fun experimenting with foods and keep it simple.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

EASY BREAKFASTS:

Rolled oats cooked with raisins.  Once cooked, stir in banana slices, shredded (unsweetened) coconut and a tablespoon of real maple syrup.

Quinoa cooked with raisins or blueberries.  Add one tablespoon of maple syrup and stir well. Serve with almond milk drizzled over the top.

Plain Greek yogurt with almond slivers mixed in.

An apple, cored and cut in half.  Bake cut side up at 350 degrees for 25 minutes with a spoonful of ricotta in the center of each half.  After baking, sprinkle with almond slivers and cinnamon.

Quinoa flakes cooked on the stove top and served with a tablespoon of maple syrup and strawberry slices over the top.

EASY LUNCHES:

Hummus on whole wheat crackers, bok choy, celery, red peppers or other veggies.

Freshly ground nut butter on apples or celery.

Sautéed kale with turmeric seasoning, sea salt and sesame seeds sprinkled over the top.

Steamed spaghetti squash drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with pepper and sea salt.  Could also sauté some tomatoes and garlic and serve over the squash.

Sweet potato cooked and served with a small amount of butter and sprinkled with cinnamon. Or try adding a dollop of plain Greek yogurt then sprinkling with almond slivers.

Easy chicken salad: diced cooked chicken breast, chopped walnuts, raisins, apples mixed into a large tablespoon of canola mayonnaise, and seasoned with turmeric or curry powder.  Serve in a whole wheat pita or a lettuce leaf.

To add more protein to any meal: add some tuna on the side or a hard-boiled egg or a couple slices of turkey. 

Vegetable soup with beans and brown rice עברית...

EASY DINNERS:

Saute any combination of vegetables and throw in some lean chicken or turkey. Serve over long grain brown rice.

Cook tilapia with mango salsa over the top of it. Serve over brown rice or quinoa.

Soup–Heat up some organic chicken broth and stir in some quinoa pasta and fresh spinach leaves.  Toss in some other vegetables if desired, such as carrots, diced tomatoes or green beans.

Quinoa pasta with your favorite organic pasta sauce over the top.

Chicken or turkey breasts dredged in a mixture of plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice, dill and garlic and then baked at 375 for 30-40 minutes.

Greek pitas: Fill a whole wheat pita with sautéed chicken breast strips, cucumber slices, onion slices and tomato slices.  In food processor, puree plain Greek yogurt, dill, 2 T. diced onion, lemon juice and garlic powder, sea salt.  Drizzle over stuffed pitas.

Crockpot: Place cut up chicken breast, a large bottle of organic tomato juice, onion, carrots, green beans, cabbage, bay leaves, sea salt and 1 c. of chicken broth into crock pot.  Simmer on low all day.

Enjoy!

Tamra Hughes, MA, LPC  http://www.thcounseling.com