Reduce Anxiety With Food

November 20, 2021

If you have been experiencing more anxiety over the past 20 months than you ever have in the past, you are not alone, because according to a new study by the CDC (The Center for Disease Control and Prevention) about 42% of U.S. adults reported having symptoms of anxiety and depression during this COVID-19 pandemic. That is almost half of the adult population! So what can you do personally to relieve some of your anxiety and depression? Today, as dietitians and nutritionists, we want to focus specifically on the anxiety piece to share at least three biochemical reasons your food choices have a major impact on your mental health.

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KARA: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today's show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. If you have been experiencing more anxiety over the past 20 months than you ever have in the past, well, just know that you're not alone. According to a new study, it was done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more United States adults are reporting having symptoms of both anxiety and depression during this COVID-19 pandemic. So currently they state that about 42% of adults are reporting to struggle with anxiety and depression. So that's almost half of the adult population. So again, I just want to repeat if, if that is you, if you're one of those experiencing anxiety or depression, you're definitely not alone. Now, it's no news that we have been and are currently remaining to be in a very stressful time. So today on our show, we want to let you know what you can do personally to relieve some of that anxiety and depression.

There are so many things out of our control these days, but there are some things that are in our control, and that is what we put into our mouths; what we're eating, what we're drinking. And some of you may be thinking, “Well, I could just take a medication and that will help my anxiety and depression.” And I'm not saying, you know, stop your medication by any means. You'd want to work with a professional with that. But as nutritionists and dietitians at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we know that so many improvements can be made for our moods through eating better. What does eating better mean? You might be wondering that and how can that help to manage anxiety and depression? Well, those are the questions that we are going to address today. So I better introduce myself. My name is Kara Carper. I'm a Certified Nutrition Specialist. I'm also a Licensed Nutritionist.

And I will be sharing some personal stories because I experienced a lot of anxiety, especially before I joined the team at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. And after I started working here, I really started to make those connections about that whatever I was eating or drinking or not eating or drinking, affected my anxiety. So I'll share more about that today, but I also want to, I would like to introduce my cohost, Carolyn Hudson. Carolyn is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. Now, Carolyn, first of all, it's great to see you.

CAROLYN: Yes, I haven’t seen you in forever.

KARA: And with the pandemic, I feel like we're all kind of in our own little world, but Carolyn, you have made some exciting future plans and although I'm sad for me and Nutritional Weight and Wellness, I'm very excited for you. Would you just mind sharing with our listeners, some of the changes you're going to be making in your life?

CAROLYN: Well sure, Kara. Good morning, Kara, and all of our listeners out there. You know, I started my career as a dietitian way back in the eighties. I won't even give the specific eighties. But I've decided now at my age, it's time to retire and travel and start doing some different things.

KARA: That is so exciting. Congratulations.

CAROLYN: It's exciting, but it's a little scary too, you know, I've worked for a long, long time and I love my job. I love working at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I love helping clients. So I'm going to really, really miss that part of it. So after November, I'm no, I'm not going to be seeing clients like in the office or even Zoom or any of those things anymore for any of those individual nutrition counseling; so our therapies. However, if my travel schedule allows, and right now I don't have too many specific plans because of where we are with COVID again, I would love to teach some nutrition classes virtually or via Zoom when I'm in the twin cities.

And I would love to cohost Dishing Up Nutrition shows whenever I am free. But you know what? Nutrition is always going to be part of me because I just love making a difference in people's lives and their health. And you know, it really helps them move to a different level, you know, when we help them eat better and improve some of their health conditions.

KARA: Well, we're going to miss you. I can speak on behalf of everyone, all of the staff at Nutritional Weight and Wellness and your clients. I know they're greatly going to miss you, but we're glad that you're still going to be around in some capacity. Well, I totally agree with you Carolyn that, I mean, it, it makes such a difference and hopefully you'll be able to help friends and family and just anyone that you're interacting with, even if they're not a client.

So we understand that at some point in many people's lives, it is time to make changes for one reason or another. So it's been great though, Carolyn, you know, listening to your expertise and your adventures as well. I know you, you're a travel, you like you have a travel bug, I should say.

CAROLYN: Absolutely.

Correlation between diet variations and health


KARA: But especially as a dietitian in the remote villages of Canada. So I have a question for you. What is one thing that you learned while you were working in those remote villages in Canada? Some people may not know that about you.

CAROLYN: Yeah. Yeah. I was a dietitian, a regional dietitian for the entire province of Ontario. And that made me go to some pretty remote places. Let me just say that and we'd have to fly in and either land on water or the ice or whatever. There were places where there weren't roads. But anyway, that's a great question. You know, I learned that if the indigenous populations stuck to their traditional way of eating, they really maintained their health. They didn't count those fat grams, or they weren't really even concerned about the amount of fat that they ate. They ate, they actually ate very high fat diets when they were eating in their traditional way and they didn't have cholesterol issues. And very few of them were overweight. And what we're talking about today, anxiety, that didn't seem to be an issue with them either.

However, the health problems came from the alcohol they drank and I really have to emphasize, and from the high sugar or processed foods that were then available to them in their local grocery stores, once there, you know, the various corporations or whatever destroyed their lands, you know, like from making hydroelectric dam projects and flooding their lands and things like that. So as dietitians and nutritionists, we know that those processed foods are affecting the health of many U.S. citizens today. Well, obviously not just U.S. citizens. This was in Canada. So it's, I think it's all over the world, really; any place where there are a lot of processed foods. So it's interesting to learn about the foods that eventually did and do cause poor health in some of those remote villages.

You know, as I just mentioned, years ago, these remote villages started getting supplied with kind of the same foods that are causing diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity, autoimmune diseases, depression, and anxiety. Those foods are those processed foods. And I got to tell you, even when I was up in those locations and for awhile, I was living in a very remote location; and we didn't get fresh vegetables. We didn't get fresh milk. When that came into the store, man, it was a run on the store. We thought we had a run on toilet paper last year.

KARA: Right.

CAROLYN: This was like a, you know, a regular occurrence. Oh my gosh, there's some fresh tomatoes in the, in the store. It would like circulate in the community like wildfire and everybody would be down at the stores and it would be gone.

KARA: That must've been difficult for you as well. I mean, living there not having access to the food that you were used to eating.

CAROLYN: Exactly.

KARA: The fresh food. Well, that is such an interesting story. So kind of to sum that up, it sounds like their traditional way of eating, which tended to be higher fat, not the processed high sugar, high carb foods, they were healthy. They were eating that traditional diet. And then, and then when the government was supplying the, the more processed foods and they didn't really have a selection anymore, then the health started to deteriorate.

CAROLYN: Definitely

KARA: Very, very interesting. Well, again, if you or a family member or struggling with depression or anxiety, your food choices have a major impact. Now I just realized that it is time for our first break. So we'll talk more about that when we come back. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. And my name is Kara Carper. I'm a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a Licensed Nutritionist. I'm here today with Carolyn Hudson, a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And just to kind of recap, we're discussing what foods help reduce anxiety. I'm just going to give a couple examples: animal protein, such as eggs, beef, salmon, chicken, turkey, bacon. Foods that tend to increase anxiety would be more of the processed foods that Carolyn was just referring to: muffins, bread, pasta, cereal, pancakes, and of course, candy and treats. So we will discuss more about this right after break.


CAROLYN: Well, welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today we recommend eating real food to reduce anxiety throughout this upcoming holiday season. And next month we will show you how to cook some anxiety-reducing foods. On December 7th and December 9th, Marianne, she is our culinary nutrition educator, will show you how to cook simple sheet pan recipes and one pot meals. So it's really easy. Sign up for this class to be educated and of course, very entertained. Marianne's fantastic. Not just with one but two cooking methods in one class. It's a great deal. It's only 25 bucks and it's going to be taught in a Zoom format. All you have to do is call 651-699-3438 or go to to save your space. It's going to be fabulous class.

Cooking Classes

CAROLYN: Marianne is fabulous. I was fortunate enough to be on a radio show with her last year.

CAROLYN: Oh, cool.

KARA: It was great.

CAROLYN: Yeah. I remember that one.

KARA: We interviewed her. But yeah, who wouldn't want to learn how to make sheet pan in one pot meals? And the nice thing about both of those is you typically have leftovers. I mean, unless you're serving to a large crowd.

CAROLYN: No, I purposely make larger quantities. Yeah, absolutely.

KARA: That's the way to do it is plan ahead. So before break we, well were talking, our topic today is anxiety and 42% of the adult population currently experiences anxiety and/or depression. And Carolyn and I just really want all of you listeners to know that food makes a difference. So that's what we're talking about.

How too many carbohydrates and artificial ingredients can affect anxiety


And I'd like to share a client's experience with food and anxiety and how, how a certain meal affected her. So it was a client and she shared this story with me. She went to meet friends for dinner. It was at someone's house and they were playing games and had a, had a good time. And what was served was pasta. I believe it was spaghetti. So there was some meat in there.

CAROLYN: And that can, that can be a problem, not just with the meat side. Right? With the pasta too.

KARA: Correct. Yeah. Right, right, right. And the thing about spaghetti, we can talk more about that, but it's typically, I mean, a serving of pasta to keep our blood sugar stable and so it's not spiking and crashing, is truly a little bit less than half of a cup cooked. So picture that. It’s probably not going to fill you up. Some people take two, three cups of cooked. We're talking about a hundred grams of carbohydrates breaking down into 25 teaspoons of sugar in the bloodstream. So spaghetti, you know, there's some bread with that, a side salad. So it doesn't sound like super unhealthy, but the point of what we're trying to make is it was just way too high in carbohydrates. And that tends to spike blood sugar.

So after the meal, it was time for dessert. So to top it off the host served strawberries with whipping cream and the client thought, oh, you know, Nutritional Weight and Wellness talks about whipping cream. And the kind that we talk about is making your own whipping cream, where you take the heavy cream, you might put a little maple syrup for sweetener, maybe some vanilla extract, and you actually beat it yourself. Well, what she didn't know is this was kind of more of a fake, manmade whipping cream. I'm not sure if it was Cool Whip, but something like that. And she thought, she was eating the dessert and thought this doesn't taste like the real whipping cream that I make at home, but she continued to, you know, finish the dessert.

CAROLYN: She's a guest.

KARA: Yeah, she's a guest. Well, she started to experience really intense anxiety later that evening. And it actually got so bad that I mean, she had to actually go home. Now, this is a true story. So I mean, that one meal really affected her anxiety.

CAROLYN: And it was blood sugar and chemicals?

KARA: And it was like, it was a combination of just too many carbohydrates. You have to think maybe upwards of a hundred and maybe 150 grams of carbohydrates. We should be having that in one whole day, spread out.

CAROLYN: Right, right.

KARA: At one meal. And then it was also, she's very chemically sensitive. And so the artificial ingredients in that fake man-made whipping cream also contributed, that was contributing factor to the extreme anxiety that she felt. So we just want you to kind of think about this. You know, we'll talk more about the blood sugar piece. For me, that's really what creates anxiety is blood sugar spiking up too high and then crashing. It's that low that makes me feel really anxious. And for my client, it was a combination of that with the artificial ingredients.

CAROLYN: And we do have a lot of people that are more sensitive to chemicals than, than many others.

KARA: They may not know, but perhaps it could even be a pumpkin spice latte that has some artificial ingredients that maybe that could create anxiety for a lot of folks.

CAROLYN: Yeah, so let's just rethink that listeners; rethink what you're having out there, you know, maybe you are one of those people that's chemically sensitive to those artificial ingredients. So frequently anxiety and of course, depression kind of go hand in hand, but they're really not the same, you know, anxiety is characterized by fear, apprehensive, apprehension, nervous thoughts, and, you know, kind of extreme worry about the future.

Depression on the other hand involves kind of that sense of hopelessness that life has gone bad and nothing can or will go right. And over 40 million adults are affected by anxiety, including panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobia, and just kind of that generalized anxiety disorder. That's a lot of people: 40 million adults. So as dietitians and nutritionists, we look at many different biochemical reasons for anxiety and depression. But today we're really just going to focus on that anxiety piece. And it's really understandable that the rate of anxiety has escalated. And we're going to talk more about that when we come back from our break.

KARA: You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Good digestion with a healthy intestinal lining is more important to managing anxiety than most people know. Clients who take two to three capsules of bifidobacteria before each meal, they report fewer sugar cravings, better digestion, and also less anxiety. So we will be right back.


What has caused the obesity epidemic?


CAROLYN: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. So here's a message I want to share with everyone today. For many, many years, we were told it was all about calories in and calories out to lose weight, but we all know that public health message told people to eat less and exercise more. But let me ask you, has that worked? Maybe for some of you it has, but apparently not for the vast majority of people, because since that message was first given so long ago, the rate of obesity has increased dramatically over the years. So at Nutritional Weight and Wellness we follow the carbohydrate insulin model, right? And we believe that the current obesity epidemic is really due to the hormone, insulin response to the changes in the food quality, you know, mainly high sugar and processed foods that have resulted in insulin resistance and weight gain.

And of course, quantity has, you know, taken some of that too those what do they call; Supersize meals that everybody's getting. You know, that hasn't helped. And, but it's really more about that hormone, insulin response. So recommend, we recommend, you know, focusing on what you eat rather than kind of how much you eat. It's a much better strategy for weight loss and overall health and wellness. So it's the quality of the food. We need to be eating real food.

KARA: Yeah. That's such a great point. And it is so much more, we've said this in past shows, but it's, there's so much more than this whole calorie in, calorie out misconception.

Importance of intestinal health for good immunity


CAROLYN: Yeah, right.

KARA: So, so right before going to break, I just had started mentioning, it's a supplement. It's called Bifido Balance. So it's a probiotic. It's bifidobacteria and it helps to break down food. It really helps to absorb the nutrients that we're eating. And also this is relevant for the pandemic. It helps to fight off bad bugs; a variety. I mean, it's, it really can increase our immune system. Carolyn, I believe it's, is it 90% of our immune system is housed in our gut.


KARA: So by supporting our gut with good bacteria, we really can fight off a lot of different viruses, bacteria, fungi, even parasites. So right now there's a great deal on that Bifido Balance. It's, you can get a 15% discount. But actually I believe the sale, it's ending this weekend. So, but you can go online and you can still order that at and our six office locations actually are open today if you happen to live in the twin cities Minneapolis area.

CAROLYN: The other really cool thing about ordering online: you can have it delivered to your house.

KARA: I know, that is such a great option. I love that they do that.

CAROLYN: And that was available before the pandemic.

KARA: Yeah, we were way ahead of the time.

CAROLYN: Way ahead of time on that one. So again, before we went to break, I was talking about the biochemical reasons for anxiety. So, and it's really understandable that the rate of anxiety has really escalated. So considering all of the changes that have occurred around the pandemic, you know, this is really pertinent right now. So as I said, anxiety is characterized by fear and apprehension. And over the past 20 months, day after day after day and night after night, what is the news blasting at us? Kind of doom and gloom. It's been really difficult. I mean, I've, I've gotten to the point where I don't even listen to the news in the evening. I kind of catch up in the morning and then that's it.

KARA: Yeah.

CAROLYN: That's it for me. I can't do it.

KARA: I, I hear you. I'm, I'm finding myself reading less news, watching less news and listening to less news.

CAROLYN: Yeah. And that social media thing, I really have toned that way down.

KARA: Right. I think we all have to have some boundaries with those things so that we don't get caught up in the spiral of anxiety and depression. So, so Carolyn that, I mean, that is such a great point. I wanted to share just a quick story too, about anxiety and because we don't really talk about this too much today, but personally I have a really hard time with caffeine.

CAROLYN: Oh, that's a really good point. Oh yeah. Share your story.

KARA: Yeah. So when I used, this was like before I started at Nutritional Weight and Wellness and I found myself driving in like an extreme state of kind of panic, shakiness and anxiety. And I realized that whenever that was happening, it was directly related to drinking fully caffeinated coffee and not eating enough. So maybe I had like some coffee with no breakfast. It got to the point where I would have to even pull over and couldn't even finish my drive.

CAROLYN: Oh, wow. Wow.

KARA: Yeah. I just wanted to share that because if anyone out there can relate to that.

CAROLYN: So it's kind of a double barreled thing with coffee, right? Or caffeine.

KARA: Yes, yes.

CAROLYN: Caffeine kind of gets you jittery anyway, but then caffeine also affects our blood sugar and how our blood sugar reacts, right?

Balance the blood sugar for anxiety relief


KARA: Yes, exactly. Cause it does that spiking and then crashing.


KARA: So, but some of you also might be wondering, what does food have to do with anxiety? And Carolyn and I want to share at least three biochemical reasons with you today. So the most common one that we talk about frequently on Dishing Up Nutrition is this blood sugar balance. So that's very related to my story about caffeinated coffee, but it is a fact that food, it will affect blood sugar balance.

It's either going to affect our blood sugar positively or negatively. And some people to keep their blood sugar stable, they really need to be eating frequently. And that looks different for everyone. But I've had some clients that feel best eating two to three hours, every two to three hours. So that looks like, you know, maybe three meals a day and maybe three snacks. Again, that's not for everyone.


KARA: But for those unstable blood sugars, some people need to eat six times a day to avoid the crash. Skipping meals and snacks can often create the blood sugar to be low and drop below the normal level. Think about it this way: the brain becomes starved of glucose, which is just another term for blood sugar. Low blood sugar leads to high anxiety. So I know for myself, if I skip a meal, my brain kind of goes into panic, fear and apprehension mode. And maybe if I am listening to the news and there's some gloom and doom, you know, I might feel more depressed and anxious than compared to if I had had a nice balance to meal or snack; and if I had protein. We really, really need that beneficial, healthy, fat to stabilize the blood sugar and some vegetable carbohydrates. It's really interesting how the outlook changes. I could be listening to the same newscast and I may not go into that depression and anxiety place.

CAROLYN: Yeah, yeah; exactly. So we want you to think of the diet, you know, the, all of the teens, probably the majority of teens out there, what they've been eating. They often skip breakfast, so their blood sugar plummets, and then they suddenly have some kind of fear about going to school or, you know, and a simple solution might be to make, you know, a smoothie or protein shake with of course some protein, some fruit carbohydrates, some coconut milk or cream. That would be your beneficial fat and a little bit of fruit. Again, that would be your, your carbohydrate.

Of course we've got a bunch of recipes on our website at So oftentimes teens don't want to be sitting down to a, you know, eggs, bacon and vegetables for breakfast, but they will drink something. They'll drink a protein shake, call it a smoothie, whatever, if mom or dad is going to make it for them. And that anxiety rate among teens, you know, really has skyrocketed. So we need some drastic efforts to be made to get solid nutrition into their brains so that anxiety can be left behind. No more anxiety walking into that school.

KARA: If you have a teen struggling with anxiety, Carolyn and I suggest making an appointment with one of our nutritionists or dietitians to develop an eating plan. The eating plan will be one that would help to balance their blood sugar because more often than not, that is the driving factor behind anxiety. And of course we realize that changing a teen's eating habits is not always the easiest thing, but we find as counselors, you know, when we give the options, they're usually agreeable. And I hate to say it, but sometimes coming from someone that's not a parent.

CAROLYN: Yeah. Not mom or dad.

KARA: Exactly.

CAROLYN: And we work with our clients, right? We don't say, oh, you have to eat broccoli. Or, you know, if they hate broccoli. We work with what they want to be eating and, and what they're willing to change.

KARA: Yeah. We don't just tell them and write out the plan for them. It's a very collaborative experience.

Nutrition Counseling

Intestinal health connection to anxiety


CAROLYN: It's a very personalized experience. So another biochemical reason that sometimes we need to go to the next level, which would be to support the intestinal health. We already kind of touched on this a little bit with bifidobacteria. So our intestinal health basically is about our microbiome. So what causes poor intestinal health? Actually many things, you know, can destroy a healthy microbiome. And it all depends on what you're exposed to and what you put in your mouth. So we want to look at some possible reasons your gut might be off.

Maybe you have been on several rounds of antibiotics or just even one round of antibiotics, maybe it's for an infection or acne. Or maybe you drink two, three, well, I have clients that even drink four or more cans of soda a day. Or you sip on a diet soda and maybe it's not a lot, but you sip on it throughout the entire day. And of course, you're thinking that you're saving on calories, calories, but here's a really interesting fact. French researchers followed 66,000 women since 1993. So that's a really long time. And they found that those who drank diet soda had actually doubled the risk for developing diabetes more than women who just drank regular soda.

KARA: That's so interesting. That's a huge study.

CAROLYN: Yeah. And people are astounded when we tell them that that that diet is actually really, really bad for you, but neither are really very good, but the diet seems to really affect that microbiome.

KARA: I think that's so important because a lot of people might still think, oh, I'm switching to diet and that's better, but we're saying no. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Now next week is Thanksgiving, which officially kicks off the holiday season and parties, social events. So we really encourage you to continue to take care of that immune system, whether or not you've been vaccinated. So when we come back from break, we're going to talk about some lifestyle and nutritional recommendations that will help you get through the holidays and keep your immune system strong.


CAROLYN: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you're looking for a small practical gift this holiday season, maybe for your mom or dad, grandmother, grandfather, or anyone for that matter, I suggest a bottle of Magnesium Glycinate. It's great for those muscle cramps that come in the middle of the night, or maybe a bottle of Key Digestive Enzymes for those on your list who have digestive problems. Maybe Vitamin C 1000 that might be welcome for the upcoming well, current, I would say even cold and flu season. And the Wellness Whey protein: that's especially great for everyone you know, athletes or really anyone. I use the Wellness Whey protein, protein in my smoothie pretty much every morning. So all these products can be found online at, all spelled out. Or stop by one of our six offices throughout the twin cities. And we can help you with any other suggestions.

Vitamins, Supplements and Products

KARA: I have a few family members who I, I purchase certain supplements for their Christmas gifts, but they really do appreciate it.

CAROLYN: Yeah, they’re expensive. Stock up.

KARA: Yep. Okay. So Carolyn, before break, I just briefly started talking about how to care for your immune system, especially over the holidays.

CAROLYN: It’s so important, right?

Lifestyle and nutritional recommendations to keep the immune system strong


KARA: Yeah. Especially if there's travel, maybe a little bit more stress. Sleep can be off. So we want to give some lifestyle and nutritional recommendations to help get you through the holidays and keep your immune system strong. So the first one is step away from the dessert table, you know, that can really help to reduce or eliminate the overall sugar and processed carbs that we're, we're, I think we're getting enough without even going to the dessert table around this time of year.

CAROLYN: Absolutely.

KARA: And then, you know, stay clear of the bar as far as if you're at a social gathering, and just really kind of be moderate with that alcohol intake. Focus on sleep and strive for eight hours, maybe eight to nine hours. That's really going to help to balance moods, reduce that stress and anxiety. And be conscious of how much you're, how much fluid you're drinking; stay hydrated. You want to be getting eight to 10 glasses, eight ounce glasses of water every day. And a supplement Carolyn had mentioned vitamin C. So supplementing with 3,000 to 4,000 milligrams of vitamin C every day can help to boost that immune system.

CAROLYN: Another really important thing is maintaining a vitamin D level somewhere between 60 and 80 and here in Minnesota or any of these Northern latitudes, that's going to require supplementation. And, you know, that could be like 125 micrograms or 5,000 international units IUs daily. We've already talked a little bit about the microbiome. So adding in that probiotic, like bifido bacteria to support good digestion and a good healthy immune system. You could also support your immune system with zinc; one softgel or some vitamin A or, and some vitamin A, I should say, or teaspoons of cod liver oil. That's, you know, grandma knew best about that cod liver oil. So, but lastly, really you really need to indulge less and truly enjoy what you're eating, but, but have less have less of it, for sure.

KARA: Yeah. I mean, just make those conscious decisions about, okay. I, you know, if you want a treat, have a, have a moderate treat. Don't overdo it and really have something you enjoy, not just because it's like served at the dessert table, for example.

CAROLYN: I always tell my clients make a plan, make a plan, because you kind of know what's going to be served at that Thanksgiving meal. So think about that ahead of time. And don't just walk in without, you know, any concept of what you will, how are you going to manage that meal.

KARA: That’s very, very wise advice. So what are some other reasons for having poor intestinal health, which is one biochemical thing that we've been talking about? That's a biochemical reason that can lead to anxiety is poor intestinal health. Maybe it's from living on a fast food, high sugar, more of a processed food diet. Perhaps you've been exposed to environmental chemicals, and this can come from food choices. Just an example is the BPA found in plastic food containers. It's been shown to generate hormonal imbalances in women and men. When we talk about hormones, men have hormones too.

And they can have hormone imbalances from the same things like BPA from plastics. That's just one of the many chemicals that we're exposed to on a daily basis. Those chemicals can negatively affect intestinal health. And you might be thinking, well, why is this important? When we have poor intestinal health, we're unable to break down and absorb nutrients coming from our food. Even if we're eating healthy, we may not be absorbing and breaking it down. So we, it's possible to eat a good Weight and Wellness balanced food plan and still be nutrient deficient if we don't have that good intestinal health.

Neurotransmitter connection to anxiety management


CAROLYN: Exactly. I think that's really important. So we're talking about three biochemical reasons, right? So the third biochemical connection to anxiety is all about the food we eat. So when we have a healthy small intestinal tract, so that's our microbiome and we have some, you know, balanced blood sugar, we, when we eat a piece of a protein, you know, like fish or turkey or chicken or beef, that breaks down into a variety of nutrients, right? So from the meat or fish, our bodies are going to get B vitamins and B vitamins are critical for nerve function, especially B12. So a lack of B12 can cause anxiety. And if we have adequate bifidobacteria in our small intestinal track, we can break down that meat or fish into amino acids. So proteins break down to amino acids, and that becomes our neurotransmitters.

So again, our third biochemical connection to anxiety is getting enough protein, especially other nutrients, like B12 to support our nerve function and that protein to make our neurotransmitters. Our clients who avoid meat and fish, or most animal proteins often become very deficient in their building blocks for that neurotransmitter production. And that's really important.

KARA: So it sounds like what you just said is if we have good intestinal health and we have that good intestinal health can help with that B12 production, then when we eat our animal protein, it can properly break down into those building blocks that are, you know, the it's the provides the amino acids like tryptophan, that will make our serotonin, right; that happy, calming feel-good chemical. So we kind of need all the parts in place.

CAROLYN: Exactly. It's not just one thing. So we've got those, a bunch of biochemical things going on in our body.

KARA: Yes.


KARA: So animal protein is key and so is good intestinal health. Yeah. And it looks like we are already, it's already time to wrap up this show.

CAROLYN: Oh my goodness.

KARA: You know, our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. And it's a simple, yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and all of us at Nutritional Weight and Wellness want to give a big thank you to all of you listeners for joining us today and every week and every month. Happy Thanksgiving and have a wonderful weekend.

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