Foods to fight anxiety. And possibly RSD?

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?

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-15428/13-foods-to-help-ease-anxiety-stress.html
from mindbodygreen:

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.

A Prescription to be Lazy!

I’ve been waiting for this my whole life. I really enjoyed the blog below from mindbodygreen.com. I’ve changed my attitude about weekends in that sometimes I take the bulk of a Saturday or Sunday to just practice qi gong and read. I used to feel the need to work at a list of things to do and rest included tv. I feel far more rested and symptoms cease when I shut everything down and just relax.

“Stress underlies most of our modern day maladies. A “doing, doing, doing” way of life contributes to dis-ease over time because the nervous system never gets a chance take a load off. The fight-or-flight affect of stress leaves the body thinking and feeling as if a lion is chasing it 24 hours a day.”

The blog suggests doing the following:
1. Go on a social media and electronics fast. I have to admit that i read this at first as “get on social media and fast” and I thought “what an interesting take. I would have thought the opposite.” Maybe I need to pay attention to #2. One thing at a time!
2. Monotask.
3. Explore meditation.
4. Attend a restorative yoga class.
5. Schedule time into your schedule for simply being.

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11417/want-better-health-try-doing-less.html

Acupuncture for RSD

What works for me is JUST getting needles to sedate and support my nervous system – nothing else.  I do think that because of the autoimmune aspect of this condition, that treating organs and body  parts actually can make for some unpleasant RSD headache.   I feel it makes sense that, if one of the major treatments for RSD (ketamine) severely sedates the body, using needles for a similar effect can work.  The following is from Dr Lee’s site:  http://www.myacuhealing.com/acupuncture.htm

How does  Acupuncture work?

“From the Western perspective, research has demonstrated that acupuncture stimulates the brain to produce natural opiate called endorphin. Further investigation has demonstrated that acupuncture not only affects pain but also regulates a wide variety of  body systems.

The relaxed feeling one gets from acupuncture comes from sedation of the sympathetic nervous system, or the “flight or fight response”. This helps de-stress, and improves blood circulation, muscle tightness and digestion, just to name a few.

Acupuncture has also been shown to affect a wide variety of hormones including those that control ovulation and menstruation due to its effect on the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis (HPOA)

Acupuncture affects neurochemicals such as serotonin that, among other things, affect mood and mental states.”

Avocado for RSD patients

I just reintroduced large amounts of avocado to my diet after needing a break. I’ve had a whole avocado for breakfast every day for the last week. And it feels good. I already knew about the anti-inflammatory benefits and the massive amounts of Vitamin K for neuro help. But the dr on Friday told me it is great for glutathione (i will be getting IV drip of glutathione on my 8 week high dose Vitamin C experiment).  Glutathione is great for neuro health AND liver health — those two are very much related. If your liver is sluggish, your body is much more full of toxins than it ought to be and your sympathetic system goes into extra overdrive (extra because RSDers are already in overdrive) to fight them off and we get those awful headaches.

“The ability of avocado to help prevent unwanted inflammation is absolutely unquestionable in the world of health research. The term “anti-inflammatory” is a term that truly applies to this delicious food. Avocado’s anti-inflammatory nutrients fall into five basic categories.” Read more at the link below.  I sprinkle my avocado with cayenne to help purify my blood and to help circulation.

Image

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5

How i treat neuropathic pain/burning pain

Nothing compares to feeling like your body is on fire.  This pain is certainly the overriding symptom.  Recently i scratched my knee and you would have thought I had been stabbed. It’s almost unbelievable to learn that meditation such as qi gong can actually stop this.  But meditation triggers the  parasympathetic system which, in turn, calms the sympathetic system.  The overactive sympathetic system is what is sending blood to these areas when there is no longer injury but is causing pain. I believe that this pain is inflammation.

Things I do to help myself:

  1. Meditate/qi gong (i do this daily for at least 20 mins)
  2. Get out for a walk. Exercise reduces inflammation levels.
  3. Anything to the calm system will calm that inflammatory response and cool the burn. Maybe that’s sitting with a cup of herbal tea and reading a book.
  4. Eat alkaline foods.
  5. But then maybe some ice cream. 🙂
  6. Watch a funny movie.
  7. Use my acupressure mat to calm everything.
  8. Get out of the house to change focus.
  9. Take a quiet moment and think about what the pain would feel like if it didn’t feel like burning
  10. Take a warm bath with Epsom salt. Sounds counter-intuitive but it calms me.  Just don’t use hot water or you will possibly get the opposite effect.
  11. Acupuncture needles just to calm my body – nothing else.
  12. Don’t get upset, don’t get stressed. That will make it worse.  I remember that it will soon pass.
  13. Go to sleep.

I am not a doctor but I have figured out ways to control my pain. I should also add, if you have any ideas for me, I welcome them always.