Yes! Your diet could be making you anxious. Here are just three ways that can happen – but there are actually many more!

1. Unidentified food intolerances. Repeated exposure to foods your body reacts to causes an inflammatory cascade. Your body responds by releasing cortisol to counteract the response. Long-term cortisol release places massive demands on the adrenal glands, they become insufficient and the drop in adrenal hormones can lead to anxiety and a general inability to cope with daily life.

2. Nutrient deficiencies. Magnesium and zinc are two which come to mind when looking at biochemical influences on anxiety. Both are required for good adrenal function and sharp mental health. Deficiencies may not be linked to a lack of these nutrients in your diet but rather sub-optimal digestion may mean you’re not absorbing the nutrients from your food.  Some people have an underlying metabolic condition called pyroluria which means they require more zinc than the general population. The main symptoms associated with this condition are anxiety and mental health issues, including addiction and eating disorders.

3. Gut flora. Yes, it feels like we spend much of our time at the Brain Food Clinic talking about the benefits of keeping your gut flora in order. Having more beneficial flora in your gut than non-beneficial helps to keep a healthy mental outlook. Recent research showed that supplementing probiotics had positive impact on anxiety. The influence of the gut on mental health is not new for those of you who are familiar with Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) and its likely effect is via the gut/brain axis. Many patients at the Brain Food Clinic reported onset of anxiety after digestive issues began. Long-term or repeated antibiotic or steroid use can negatively impact your gut flora, as can food intolerance and long-standing digestive issues.

These are just a few of the ways nutrition influences anxiety. If you need help or advice – get in touch with a nutrition practitioner at the Brain Food Clinic on 0121 444 0500 or info@anappleaday.org.uk to find out how we can help you.