RSD/CRPS is often described as an anxiety disorder (certainly gone awry) and a sympathetic system stuck in “fight or flight.” Maybe you don’t believe that. But likely anxiety has set in anyway from the overwhelming stress of the prognosis (a prognosis I believe doctors will learn later does not have to be and possibly contributes to the decline in some patients). What we do know is that western medicines like ketamine sedate the body. We now have learned ketamine is being used for depression as well. We know that many medications for RSD are anti-anxiety meds. With that knowledge, why aren’t more doctors prescribing meditation and a change in diet?
I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. I can only speak for me. But I did improve significantly when I started to practice qi gong on a regular basis. There is a cumulative effect to meditating. Food is another tool that has assisted in my calming endeavor. Turmeric, avocado, kale, fish oil, ginger root tea, among others (okay sometimes Cabernet).
Below is a list of 13 foods from a mindbodygreen blog that can help ease anxiety. So often we ignore the food we are putting in our bodies, eat unhealthy foods and then seek outside medicine. Maybe those foods aren’t unhealthy but they might not be helping our bodies. Perhaps they would be foods better suited for another medical condition.
What if food is the answer?
1. Oysters Research has correlated an imbalance of zinc to copper with anxiety. This trace mineral ratio is responsible for proper neurotransmitter function and adaptation to stress. Increased copper and decreased zinc may lead to symptoms of anxiety.
2. Chamomile Tea Sip on this natural anti-anxiety medicine for its natural calming effect. This soothing, mild tea was shown to significantly decrease anxiety symptoms in just a few weeks!
3. Rooibos Tea Rooibos, or African red bush tea, is a delicious way to bring a natural calm to your day. Researchers are looking into its effect on cortisol. It seems to work by having a balancing effect on the body’s main stress hormone.
4. Full-Fat Kefir In functional medicine, the gut is considered the “second brain” because it’s home to 95% of your “feel good” hormone seratonin. With more than 100 million neurons, your gut’s health is essential to manage anxiety.
Bacterial imbalances in your gut can alter brain chemistry, and kefir, an ancient fermented dairy drink, might just be the most powerful probiotic ever! It also has fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2, all important for brain health.
5. Turkey …Tryptophan is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps you to feel calm. Tryptophan in the form of meat, has been shown to reduce anxiety disorders!
6. Turmeric Curcuminoids, the antioxidants in turmeric, have a neuroprotective quality and help enhance your mood. It was shown in a randomized controlled trial to be an effective option for major depressive disorder, which is closely linked to anxiety disorders.
7. Organ Meats If you eat meat, organ meats are some of the best sources of nutrients needed to beat anxiety, like zinc and vitamin D. They also contain copious amounts of choline, needed for the synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Liver is also abundant in B vitamins, which are needed for methylation, a metabolic process in the body that is responsible for proper synthesis of neurotransmitters that regulate mood. Homocysteine levels and MTHFR mutations are two tests that I run to ensure optimal neurotransmitter metabolism and methylation.
8. Avocados This superfruit is great for brain health and anxiety. They contain potassium which helps naturally lower blood pressure. Avocados also contain beneficial B vitamins and monounsaturated fats that are needed for neurotransmitter and brain health.
9. Dark Chocolate Science has vindicated chocolate lovers everywhere. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology revealed that people who drank a dark chocolate drink, equal to about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate per day, felt calmer than those who did not.
10. Asparagus This sulfur-rich vegetable also contains the specifically beneficial B vitamin, folic acid. Low levels of folic acid are linked to neurotransmitter impairment, which can lead to anxiety. A 5.3-ounce serving provides 60% of the recommended daily allowance for folic acid! It also contains moderate amounts of potassium, which can lower blood pressure.
11. Adaptogenic Herbs One common hormonal signaling pathway dysfunction I find in patients struggling with anxiety disorders is the brain-adrenal axis. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is part of your sympathetic “flight-or-fight ” response and something, and can play a role in adrenal fatigue. Stress hormones, like cortisol, can cause seratonin receptors to become less sensitive to activation. Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, rhodiola and holy basil are some of the tools I use to optimize brain-adrenal function in patients.
12. Leafy Greens If you struggle with stress and anxiety increase the greens! Plant foods like Swiss chard and spinach are rich in magnesium, the natural “chill pill,” which also helps regulate the brain-adrenal axis.
13. Fatty Meat Inflammation is one factor when it comes to brain health and anxiety. Omega-3 fats have been shown to decrease anxiety. Omega-rich foods like Alaskan salmon and grass-fed beef can help decrease inflammation and help cortisol and adrenaline from spiking.