Unconventional anxiety triggers – Part 2: Non-nutritious diet

Anxiety and depression are the two common mental disorders that have affected millions of lives worldwide. Encountering a traumatic life event, such as loss of a loved one, sexual assault, divorce, financial stress or other difficult situations, can often drive a person toward the feeling of sadness, nervousness, loneliness, etc. that lead to anxiety or depression. These can be a normal reaction to life’s stresses and strains, but can cause serious consequences if they persist for long.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has highlighted that around one in every five adults in the U.S. suffers from some or the other form of mental illness. It further elaborated that approximately 18.5 percent of people in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year.

Anxiety disorders, one of the most common mental health issues, can cause irrelevant fear or excessive worry that may coerce one to avoid things and situations that can precipitate his or her anxiety. As such, anxiety is a normal reaction to stressful situations that every person experiences in his or her lifetime. However, when such feelings linger for a longer period, it may turn into a disorder, which will interfere with relationships, academics, work performance and daily life activities.

Role of diet in maintaining mental well-being

According to a 2013 analysis published in the journal Health Affairs, the growing burden of mental health costs the U.S. about $201 billion. Mental health issues often rise due to a range of factors, such as age, genetics, social and environmental reasons, etc. However, nutrition, among all factors,  plays an important role in ensuring sound mental health.

Relatively, only a handful of people are familiar with the link existing between nutrition and mental health, although they are quite aware of the role of nutrition in maintaining physical health. In fact, nutrition plays a pivotal role in the onset, as well as severity and duration of mental issues like anxiety disorders. Therefore, one can comprehend the severity of the problem by identifying the changes in the food patterns, including poor appetite, skipping meals, etc. Considering the above fact, it is essential to ensure nutritional factors in daily life to enhance cognition, behavior and emotions.

Relationship between high-fat diet and mental disorders

Certain foods can affect the structure and function of the brain by causing long-lasting consequences on mood and mental health, such as memory and cognitive function. A preliminary research suggested that consuming a high-fat diet may lead to changes in the brain that can trigger anxiety and depression.

A study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology detailed how high-fat diet is associated with type 2 diabetes, anxiety and depression. The study also sketched how such a diet can diminish the effects of antidepressants. The researchers fed 30 mice with a high-fat diet with 60 percent fructose-enriched diet for up to 16 weeks. Their body weight was then monitored, including complete metabolic and behavioral analysis, on a weekly basis to establish a relationship between metabolic disorders and psychiatric disorders.

The researchers found that there is an association between the development of metabolic symptoms and a high-fat diet and anxiogenic or depression-like symptoms, such as increased body weight, hyperglycemia and impaired glucose tolerance, which can increase with time.  Moreover, high-fat diet is also correlated with a decline in extracellular serotonin in the hippocampus.

Overcome anxiety with proper nutrition

The magnitude of suffering caused by mental health issues to individuals, families and societies is devastating. However, a combination of proper treatment and prevention programs in the field of mental health can prevent disability, deaths and reduce the stigma attached to mental disorders. Though there are different ways to treat anxiety and other mental disorders, professional facilities offering dedicated and evidence-based services are always a good idea.

If you or your loved one is suffering from stress or an anxiety disorder, contact the Anxiety Disorder Treatment Arizona representatives to know about the most promising anxiety disorder treatment in Arizona. To locate the best anxiety disorder treatment centers in Arizona, call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-425-9317 or chat online.

Read the other articles of the series “Unconventional anxiety triggers:”

Part 1: Numerical calculations