Does your child have anxiety with food? If so, then your child is probably having anxiety with food phobia, a serious food anxiety disorder, or even a generalized fear of all foods. This fear of all foods can only be specific to a select few specific types of food, perhaps to one or some types of food, or perhaps it can be universal across the board. However, here’s the thing.
All our intestines contain serotonin, which is responsible for regulating mood, appetite and sleeping cycles. When there is an imbalance in the levels of serotonin, which is usually normal and required in a healthy body, then the result can be varied symptoms including anxiety with food. In children, the serotonin may not be evenly distributed between the brain and the gut, leading to an imbalance in its function. That means that when there are a lot of “free radicals” in the system that normally live in our intestines, they can interfere with the absorption of important nutrients from the food we eat.
The best treatment for anxiety with food is to get enough sleep, exercise and maintain a healthy diet. By reducing the amount of stress response that occurs in the digestive tract, these three elements can help balance out the function of serotonin, which in turn reduces the number of symptoms. Of course, you want to eat a balanced and nutritious diet, one low in saturated fat, salt and sugar.
Picky eating and extreme picky eating can also lead to anxiety disorders. People who have chronic anxiety with food may experience anxiety over even the smallest thing that they may perceive as a threat. This can lead to chronic stress, nervousness and depression. Children and teens with this condition may feel that everything is a threat and that will make them picky eat any foods they may see. In extreme cases, they may develop anxiety disorder or agoraphobia. So, parents have to put a stop to it right at its onset.
Caffeine, of course, is one of those things that helps us get through the day. However, too much of it can also bring about anxiety. If you feel anxious because you’re drinking too much coffee or tea, perhaps you should limit your caffeine intake to two cups in the morning and one in the evening. Also, eliminate coffee and cola products because they tend to increase stress hormones.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce anxiety with food is to eat leafy vegetables and drink plenty of water. These two are natural mood enhancers. Vegetables are full of fiber, which helps to slow down digestive processes, which is one of the stress response that causes us to feel anxious. When our digestive systems are slowed down, our body cannot produce the chemical serotonin, which helps us deal with stressful situations. Leafy vegetables and other fiber-rich food help to ease the pressure on our intestines and give us more energy.
Sugar is another substance that tends to make us anxious. Many people believe that refined carbohydrates like sugar can contribute to anxiety because they change the brain’s mood. It turns out that refined carbohydrates do not contribute to mood but may actually change the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. If there is too much activity in the brain, anxiety may develop.
Another good food for reducing anxiety is magnesium. We all know that magnesium is an essential mineral that helps us maintain healthy bones and nerves. But did you know that magnesium is also one of the best substances to prevent anxiety and depression? So, if you feel anxious, eat some leafy vegetables and take a magnesium supplement. In addition to that, eat foods rich in magnesium like nuts and dark chocolate.