10 best ways to alleviate anxiety naturally September 02 2016 by Simone Denny 1 Comment
I'm delighted to have the wonderful Lisa Guy, naturopath and founder of Bodhi Organic Tea on the Nourishing Hub today. Lisa has some great tips on natural ways you can manage anxiety. Lisa's beautiful range of Bodhi Organic Teas include a number of the hand selected herbs and supplements she recommends below. Be sure to check our here website for her full range of teas at www.bodhiorganictea.com
10 Best Ways to Alleviate Anxiety Naturally
Withania (Withania somnifera), also known as Ashwagandha, is a popular Ayuverdic herb that is a highly effective ‘adaptogen’. Withania is used widely by herbalists to improve the body’s resistance to stress along with strengthening the immune system. Withania supports adrenal health and calms the nervous system, making it beneficial for alleviating anxiety in people who feel stressed, strung-out, and exhausted. It also helps promote better quality sleep.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) has been used for centuries for its wonderful calming and anti-inflammatory properties, where it has been used in the treatment of insomnia and nervous complaints. Chamomile has a mild sedative action helping to promote a sense of calmness, which eases anxiety, along with inducing restful sleep. Chamomile is also specific for treating digestive problems associated with anxiety including nervous dyspepsia, IBS, diarrhoea, constipation and nausea. Chamomile can be enjoyed as a herbal infusion three times a day, made with 1-2 tsp of the dried herb in boiling water for 10 minute.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a well know herb used by herbalist today to treat insomnia and sleeping difficulties, due to its mild sedative and traquillising effect.
This herb helps you fall asleep without making you feel groggy the next morning, unlike pharmaceutical equivalents. Valerian is also an effective treatment for anxiety as it helps sustain levels of the calming neurotransmitter GABA in the brain.
B vitamins are important nutrients for helping maintain emotional and mental health.
B vitamins are needed for proper nervous system function and for the production of energy from food. B vitamins are considered one of the most important ‘anti-stress’ nutrients, helping to relieve anxiety. B vitamins are also important for boosting energy levels. Deficiencies in B vitamins can cause mood changes, depression, insomnia, anxiety and fatigue. Niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6) and folic acid (B9) all work alongside tryptophan to produce serotonin, our feel good neurotransmitter.
Foods rich in B vitamins include legumes, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, green leafy veggies, eggs, chicken, red meat, and milk. A diet high in refined grains and processed foods will be lacking these important mood enhancing B vitamins.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a lemon-scented herb and member of the mint family that has been long used for its soothing medicinal qualities and aromatic properties. The Arabs in the 11th century introduced lemon balm as a remedy for depression and anxiety. They believed it caused the mind and heart to be merry. Today lemon balm is popular among herbalists for treating insomnia and anxiety-related conditions, including nervous gastrointestinal complaints such as indigestion, nervous dyspepsia and nausea. Lemon balm has a sedative and calming effect on the nervous system.
One of Lisa's beautiful calming Bodhi Teas TranquiliTea
Reduce Caffeine: Millions of people rely on their morning coffee hit to kick start their day. Many say caffeine is addictive because it boosts energy levels and makes them feel more alert. Caffeine is naturally found in certain leaves, seeds, and fruits. The most common sources in our diet are coffee, tea, cocoa beans, soft drink, energy drinks and in some medications and weight loss supplements. Caffeine stimulates your fight or flight response, stimulating the production of stress hormones, namely cortisol, which gives you a temporary boost in energy levels, but can also contribute to levels of anxiety, irritability, muscle tension, weakened immunity and insomnia.
Caffeine also inhibits the neurotransmitter GABA, which can make you feel more anxious. Caffeine can also inhibit the absorption of the hormone adenosine, needed to give us a sense of calmness, which can contribute to sleeping problems.
Better choices to help reduce your anxiety include caffeine-free herbal teas like chamomile, holy basil, passionflower, licorice, which are all great calming and adrenal nourishing herbals. If you love your coffee, stick to just one. Given that caffeine can stay in your system for 8 or more hours, don’t drink coffee or caffeine-containing teas after 2pm so that it won’t disturb your sleep. If you make the switch to decaffeinated coffee make sure its water, not chemically, filtered.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is used for its sedative and anxiety relieving properties. Passionflower helps calm and support the nervous system, making it extremely beneficial for calming restlessness and nervous tension. Passionflower is also the herb of choice for treating insomnia, as it aids the transition into restful sleep without the side effects of sleeping tablets. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, studies have found that passionflower can be equally as effective as benzodiazepine drugs to improve anxiety. The best way to have passionflower is as a herbal infusion 3 x day, made with 1-2 tsp of the dried herb in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Magnesium is an essential mineral vital for good health and vitality. Magnesium is needed for many cellular functions in the body, particularly for energy production.
Magnesium is considered the ‘anti-stress’ nutrient as it helps to calm and support the nervous system making it beneficial for anxious and worn out people. Magnesium is also useful for people who find difficulty in sleeping. Magnesium deficiencies are associated with fatigue, weakness, twitching and muscle cramps, and a predisposition to anxiety and insomnia. Magnesium occurs abundantly in whole foods. People who consume large amounts of processed refined foods will risk becoming deficient in this important mineral. Best dietary sources include: tofu, legumes, seeds (flaxseeds, pepitas, sesame), nuts (cashews, peanuts, almonds), whole grains (oats, barley, millet, quinoa), wheat bran, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach. Take a magnesium supplement that also contains calcium, recommended dosage is 600-1000 mg of elemental magnesium daily.
Maca: Maca is a root vegetable native to Peru, which has been used for thousands of years as a nutritious food staple. This Perivan superfood is considered an ‘adaptogen’, as it works wonders for improving energy levels and helping you cope with the stressful demands of modern life. Maca therefore can be beneficial for reducing symptoms of anxiety. Maca contains high levels of B vitamins, which are essential for producing energy and helping the body cope with stress, and is also a good vegetarian source of B12, necessary for healthy functioning nerves. Maca powder has a light, nutty flavour, which mixes well in smoothies, protein balls, or sprinkled over breakfast cereal.
Keep Blood Sugar Levels Balanced:
There is a direct link between our mood and blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar levels fluctuate during the day so too will your mood and energy levels, and this can be a big contributing factor in people with anxiety and depression. Eating a diet high in sugary and ‘white’ processed carbohydrate foods will cause sudden peaks and troughs in the amount of glucose in your blood stream, which can result in irritability, fluctuating mood, anxiety, tiredness, and poor concentration.
The best way to keep blood sugar levels stable is by limiting sugary foods, and eating natural, unprocessed foods rich in fibre including wholegrains (brown rice, whole oats and quinoa), fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes.
Eating smaller meals more regularly and including protein-rich foods with each meal and as snacks is also an excellent way to stabilise blood sugar levels and curb sugar cravings. Healthy protein rich foods include raw nuts and nut butters, seeds (including quiona and tahini), chicken, fish, red meat, legumes (hummus), eggs, yoghurt and dairy foods.
Lisa is a Sydney based naturopath, author and passionate foodie, with 16 years of clinical experience. Lisa runs a naturopathic clinic in Rose Bay called ‘Art of Healing (www.artofhealing.com.au). Lisa Guy is also the founder of Bodhi Organic Tea. A premium, certified organic, herbal tea company who makes beautiful unique tea blends designed to promote better health and wellbeing.
Another beautiful calming Bohdi tea SereniTEA
A big thank you to Lisa for this informative article. Be sure to check out Lisa's full range of naturopathic teas on her website www.bodhiorganictea.com
Other Calming Products you Might Like on the Nourishing Hub:
Check out our new range of Ayurvedic Bliss Elixir Powders. You can see all Elixirs HERE. The two below are excellent remedies for reducing stress and anxiety.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!