Anxiety, Insomnia & Depression, Oh My!
The Guardian Express recently reported on how to beat depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances using natural remedies like essential oils, melatonin, and herbs. The top recommendations include:
- Try diffusing essential oils that are soothing and relaxing such as, Lavender or Chamomile. At bed-time, these can be diffused in your bedroom. (Use our Essential Oils Aromatherapy Chart to help you decide which aromas have anti-depressant and anti-anxiety properties.)
- Soak in a warm bath for 15-20 minutes with some essential oils added.
- Give yourself a foot massage with massage oils that contain essential oils of Basil, Lavender or Lemon.
- Sip a soothing cup of hot tea before bed, such as Chamomile or herbal teas containing Nutmeg, Cardamom, and Coriander.
- Take melatonin supplements to help you fall asleep and get a good night’s rest. (Learn about melatonin dosing here: 3 Natural Remedies for Insomnia)
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Eat to Relax: Foods That Lower Stress Levels
Living Green Magazine expounds on the top 8 foods to help lower stress levels. So, the next time you have a stressful day at work, experience road rage on the way home, get in an argument with your spouse (or just watch the national news), try snacking on one of these treats to decrease your anxiety:
- Blueberries: The high potency of antioxidants in these berries counteracts the production of cortisol, the number one chemical that is released during a stressful time.
- Peaches: This fruit is a fantastic superfood that has a natural sedative that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Plus, since they are sweet, they can work wonders when you need that sugary treat.
- Acacia berries: The acacia berry has phytonutrients that have been shown to enhance your mood.
- Cacao: Raw cacao is the ingredient found in chocolate. It is high in flavonoids. Flavonoids are potent with relaxation properties. It also contains phenethylamine, a chemical that enhances mood.
- Maca root: Maca root is a powder made from a Peruvian root and can be found in certain supplements and drink mixes. Maca root, in its unprocessed form, contains a phytonutrient that helps ward off anxiety and depression. Some studies have found that maca root is just as useful at fighting depression as prescription antidepressants, since it contains so many mood enhancing nutrients. Another plus is that maca root is natural and does not have as many of the risks and side effects prescription anxiety medication. Maca root powder can be made into a tea or sprinkled over other foods to give you the maximum health benefits.
- Spinach: This lean, green leaf is high in magnesium, improves your body’s overall response to stress and stops your blood pressure from spiking.
- Sunflower seeds: Sunflower seeds contain a high source of folate, which help your body produce the feel-good brain chemical, dopamine. Normal levels of dopamine help control of your emotional responses. (Read about dopamine supplements here: 4 Dopamine Supplements for Improving Mood and Motivation.)
- Walnuts: It has been shown that eating at least one ounce of walnuts a day can prevent your blood pressure from rising and keep your anxiety levels in check. If you tend to have higher levels of adrenaline and anxiety, make sure you get some of these delicious nuts into your diet so you’re not make your heart work more than it needs to.
Anxiety in Your Head Could Come From Your Gut
ABC News recently discussed on Good Morning America how doctors and scientists are exploring the connection between gut bacteria and mental health. Scientists now believe “there may be a link between what’s in your gut and what’s in your head, suggesting that gut bacteria plays a critical role in disorders such as anxiety, schizophrenia and autism.” ABC News reports:
Dr. James Greenblatt, like many other doctors, has begun to recognize the power of healthy gut bacteria. Dr. Greenblatt, a Boston-area psychiatrist, had a puzzling case: a teenager arrived in his office with severe obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and an array of digestive problems. “Her parents had been running around for many years and she’d had a poor response to medicine,” said Greenblatt. “When a patient doesn’t respond, that’s a red flag.” Greenblatt first did a simple urine test for the metabolite HPHPA, the chemical byproduct of the clostridia bacteria, and found that it was elevated. He put her on a course of high-powered probiotics to boost her good bacteria, followed by antibiotics, and her levels began to “dramatically” go down, he said. After six months, her symptoms began to disappear. And by a year, they were gone.
If you suffer from depression, anxiety or some type of mood disorder, it may be time to give probiotics a try. You can learn more about probiotics in our articles: