Did You Know?
That refined carbohydrates (sugar and white flour) are known to contribute to problems with blood sugar control, especially hypoglycemia. The association between hypoglycemia and impaired mental function is well known. Unfortunately, most individuals who experience depression, anxiety, or other psycological conditions are rarely tested for hypoglycemia, nor are they prescribed a diet that restricts refined carbohydrates. Numerous studies of depressed individuals have shown a high occurrence of hypoglycemia. Because depression is one of the most frequent causes of anxiety, this provides a link between hypoglycemia and feelings of stress. Simply eliminating refined carbohydrates from the diet is sometimes all that is needed for effective therapy in patients who have depression or anxiety due to hypoglycemia.
What's really being affected:
One of the key dietary recommendations to support the adrenal glands is to ensure adequate potassium levels within the body. This can best be done by consuming foods rich in potassium and avoiding foods high in sodium.
Mealtimes should be spent in a relaxed environment. As noted above, digestion is a process largely controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system. Eating in a rushed manner or in a noisy environment is not conducive to good digestion or good health. It is important to plan meals out in advance to avoid eating on the run or under stress.
People with symtoms of anxiety or chronic fatigue need to investigate possible food allergies. As far back as 1930, noted allergist Dr. Albert Rowe noticed that anxiety and fatigue were key features associated with food allergies. Originally, Dr. Rowe described a syndrome he called allergic toxemia, with symptoms that included anxiety, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, drowsiness, difficulty in concentration, and depression. Around the 1950s, this syndrome became referred to as the allergic tension-fatigue syndrome. With the current focus on chronic fatigue syndrome, many physicians and other people are forgetting that food allergies can lead to chronic fatigue.
By Judith J. Wurtman, PhD, research scientist,department
of brain and cognitive science, Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Cambridge. She is author of Managing Your
Mind & Mood Through Food (Scribner) and The Serotonin
Solution, a weight-loss book for people who overeat because
of stress (Ballantine).
The neurotransmitter serotonin has a calming effect. Its presence in the brain boosts concentration, relieves feelings of anxiety and at night or if you're sleep-deprived-makes you feel drowsy. To make serotonin, your brain needs a supply of the amino acid tryptophan. Like tyrosine, tryptophan is found in proteins. But eating more protein won't increase levels of tryptophan inside your brain. In fact, a high-protein diet depletes the brain's tryptophan supply.
Tryptophan must "compete" with tyrosine and other, more plentiful amino acids to enter the brain. It tends to be "crowded out" by them when you eat protein. To increase the brain's supply of tryptophan, eat carbohydrates_ without protein. Doing so triggers the release of insulin, which shunts some of the amino acids, it can easily enter the brain.
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