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What is it?

Anxiety is one of the most common types of mental disorder. It may have physical, cognitive and behavioral symptoms and expresses a concern, apprehension and nervousness when it occasionally occurs in normal life, but may also be persistent and excessive, and begin to be considered as pathological. Generalized anxiety disorder involves symptoms present for at least 6 months, leading to clinically significant suffering and altering the patient’s function and day-to-day life.

What is treatment?

The most frequently used treatments involve psychotherapy and pharmacology, but some patients do not report significant improvement and adequate relief of symptoms only with these therapies, seeking other alternatives. One of the alternative treatments is to adjust the patient’s eating pattern in order to obtain the benefits that food can bring to mental health.

How can eating positively impact anxiety?

A comprehensive study showed an association between less anxiety and healthy eating patterns, with more fruits and vegetables, rich in omega 3, caloric restriction, breakfast consumption, and also with other strategies such as ketogenic diet, micronutrient supplementation such as zinc, magnesium and selenium, probiotics and higher phytochemical intake.

How can eating negatively impact anxiety?

An association was also found between higher levels of anxiety and the consumption of foods considered “less healthy”, such as a diet rich in fats, with high intake of sugars and refined carbohydrates, as well as low tryptophan and protein. The authors of the study recall that the results still need greater basis in trials conducted with humans, for a higher level of evidence.


Reading suggestion:
What is the role of nutrition in the prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression?

Article: Aucoin M, et al. Diet and Anxiety: A Scoping Review. Nutrients

. 2021; 13(12):4418.

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