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Anxiety and food

In TICM, we approach anxiety not as a brain dysfunction, but more as an inner organ dysfunction that we refer to in Chinese as Shan You Si (anxiety and preoccupation). The organs affected are the Zang organs: Heart, Lung, Spleen, Liver, and Kidneys. These organs can develop imbalances and deficiencies from dietary, environmental, lifestyle, and hereditary factors. This is how we treat most disorders, and our emotions are no different, just our body trying to communicate that there is change required. In general, food is very important. Too much refined sugars, for example, can cause wild fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels, which can significantly affect one’s mood and mental health. They also deplete B vitamins from the body, which can affect the nervous system. Excessive amounts of caffeine can create toxic heat in the Liver, causing a rise in anger and anxiety. As an adrenal stimulant, caffeine can ultimately lead to adrenal exhaustion and depression. Substituting refined sugar and caffeine with low glycaemic foods and beverages can result in a reduced anxiety.

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