Anxiety is described as a rush of adrenaline of pure fear and nervousness that takes over the mind and body. At one point in our lives, we have all experienced some type of anxiety, whether it’s mild or severe. Some general symptoms that are often related to anxiety are rapid heartbeat, fast and uncontrolled breathing, sweating, hot/cold flashes, tight chest, closed throat, numbness, dizziness, nausea and upset stomach. It’s normal for people to feel anxious before an interview, performance on stage, public speaking, or final exam. However, sometimes anxiety can over consume our lives that it debilitates our health and every day activities causing even bouts of extreme depression.
More than 40 millions Americans suffer and are affected by anxiety and depression. Today, many desperately try to find the “cure” to anxiety and depression, but are often handed a prescription for antidepressants. Xanax, Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil are among the common antidepressants. Studies have concluded antidepressants are not more effective than “sugar pills”.
“The benefit of antidepressant medication compared with placebo may be minimal or nonexistent in patients with mild or moderate symptoms.”
Throughout the years, natural medicine and nutrition has greatly evolved, but many are still unaware how natural medicine can be beneficial in helping with many health problems. More and more research is concluding the beneficial affects of natural medicine, specifically with turmeric and its role in helping with anxiety and depression.
Turmeric the new antidepressant?
Although antidepressants may work for others, it doesn’t mean they don’t have harmful effects on the body. Antidepressants contain numerous side effects such as nausea, weight gain, decreased sex drive, fatigue, drowsiness, insomnia, dry mouth and constipation. Anti-depressants are also responsible for depleting numerous essential vitamins and minerals, as mentioned earlier.
Food is our medicine, especially a golden natural herb called turmeric. For thousands of years, turmeric has popularly been used in many Asian and Indian cuisine dishes but also used in the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine. Turmeric is considered one of the most powerful herbs, as it has many healing properties for a variety of conditions; alleviating joint pain and arthritis, blood sugar control, prevention and treatment of cancer and supports brain health for Alzheimer’s disease.
But how can this herbal spice actually help with depressive symptoms? New findings through a clinical trial have found turmeric to be an effective treatment for depression. Curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric, demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of depressive-like disorders in another study.
Did you know chronic inflammation has detrimental affects on many aspects of your health, including brain health? I’m not talking about acute (temporary) inflammation when you fall down and your knee swells (which is beneficial in protecting us from infection and injury). I'm talking about chronic, systemic inflammation that is directly linked to almost every disease, including Alzheimer’s disease. Inflammation plays a significant role in depression. Inflammation can occur from a diet high in inflammatory foods like sugar, carbs and processed foods, too much stress and lack of sleep.
As a holistic nutritionist, I believe that the best way to prevent or heal chronic inflammation is to eat anti-inflammatory foods just like turmeric, reduce stress and get more Zzzs!
COX-2 is an enzyme responsible for swelling and inflammation in the body; however, turmeric specifically blocks and inhibits this enzyme, helping to decrease inflammation throughout the body. Curcumin also acts against oxidative and inflammatory responses. Turmeric also helps with anxiety and depression by protecting the brain neurons, improves ability to create new neural pathways in the brain.
How can you add turmeric to your diet?
Turmeric Teas is a local Toronto tea company with the mission to make it easier to add turmeric to your daily regimen, through drinking any one their signature blends of organic loose-leaf tea, Dawn, Dusk, Winter and Summer. Turmeric Teas signature blends all contain turmeric root, along with black pepper (to help enhance turmeric’s bio-availability and absorption by 2000%). Although Turmeric Teas is a social food enterprise (every purchase of Turmeric Teas feeds a hungry child) based in Toronto, Canada, shipping is also available to our friends in the USA.
I believe alternative medicine is the path towards a vibrant holistic health. Consider talking to a nutritionist to learn more about how environmental and lifestyle factors may be triggering your anxiety.
Blog post by Alexandra Daugherty, CNP • Holistic Nutritionist.