While panic attacks are physically harmless for the most part, they
are unpleasant, frightening and, left untreated, can have a devastating effect on everyday life. Anyone who has visited the
doctor with symptoms of sweating, shortness of breath, heart hammering, dizziness and dread, will have discovered these attacks can be alleviated by a variety of treatments. However, the question
remains of why so many more of us suffer this blight than seemed to be the case with previous generations.
Why the increase?
Is it lifestyle? Is it pollution? Is it food? The answer is probably all three. Lifestyles are faster and more stressful these days;
pollution is rife; but food? We’ve always eaten, haven’t we?
However, wine and caffeine are much larger components of modern
diets, and they are clearly implicated in panic attacks.
We can easily identify and cut down on alcohol and stimulants like
coffee, but what about those hidden ingredients. Modern processed
foods come with additives, preservatives, colorings and flavorings.
Are these increasing our tendency towards anxiety and panic attacks?
There is growing evidence pointing to preservatives.
How can preservatives harm me?
Let’s look at the preservatives found in everyday foodstuffs. There
are sorbates, sulfites, nitrites, nitrates and benzoates. These do
not sound like the kinds of chemicals you want to eat in substantial
quantities. While they may extend the shelf life of the product,
once absorbed by your body and brain, they also cause chemical
reactions. Changes to brain and nervous system chemistry will
influence anxiety levels, mood swings and panic attacks.
There are indications these chemicals may also disturb natural
defense mechanisms, causing short and long-term reactions that are
detrimental to health and which may eventually trigger allergies and
intolerances that add to the physical and emotional upheaval.
Despite rules and regulations designed to guarantee the safety of
additives, few tests have been carried out into the cumulative
long-term effects of consuming a cocktail of chemicals that were
never naturally eaten by people or animals until very recent times.
What can I do to avoid additives that trigger panic attacks?
Research in Australia found that people who ate unprocessed, fresh
foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and lean
meat, were 32% less likely to experience anxiety than those who ate
One way to determine if your panic attacks and anxiety are
influenced by preservatives is to cut out processed foods, maybe
even going totally organic, at least for a short period, to see
whether this reduces the number of attacks.
If you have to buy processed foods, read the ingredients with care,
especially those written in the smallest print at the end of the
list. If you can, record these in a diary to see whether there is a
relationship between certain additives and your mood.
As far as possible, ensure you have a fresh and well-balanced diet.
This means 20% proteins such as lean meat, fish, eggs and cheese.
35% should be vegetables and fruits. 45% should be pasta, whole
grain cereal, whole wheat bread, oatmeal and rice. Also, drink
plenty of water.
Certain nutriments are essential to your nervous system and have a
calming influence. Most notable is the vitamin B complex. There is
actually less vitamin B in processed foods than in unprocessed, so
by switching diets, you immediately improve your intake of this
nutriment, which is found in whole grain foods, beans, lentils,
potatoes, chili peppers and bananas.
Preserve your calm and prevent panic attacks by avoiding
Guest Post By: James Dean.
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