Anxiety is an emotional condition which is often misunderstood to be stress. If the literal meaning is discussed, stress is being worried or tensed over something which has already happened or is happening, generated due to overthinking. On the other hand, anxiety is thinking of the possibilities of the future and worrying about them. In short, anxiety is nothing but fearing something which might be approaching. While it is still easier to get into the meanings, the experience of it is totally different. There are times when one can feel that nobody is there for them, that they have lost it all and nothing is to return. These are the phases of anxiety which are indeed very difficult to get out of. For many people, the distinction between anxiety and stress is so shallow that they prefer calling anxiety, a subpart or a type of stress. They both are emotionally draining situations in which humans keep on falling. To deal with it, the first step is to stop trying to avoid it and take the responsibilities on your own shoulders to get out of it.
Anxiety is not only a hurdle in proper decision making but also it prevents people from leading their day to day life, properly. There is always a fear, a tension in their mind for the moments that have not even come and this is a hindrance to living happily. There are many forms of disorders caused by anxiety such as panic disorder, specific phobias, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and clinical anxiety. It is one of the major mental health issues in the world. Statistics say that about 40 million people or rather say adults in the USA are suffering from the mental disease, anxiety. The intensity of the anxiety issue is measured, based on the severity of the emotional baggage.
How Magnesium Helps in Relieving Anxiety?
Magnesium is an important mineral that can help one fight with anxiety if no other reason as personal stress or trauma is recognized. The secret behind magnesium being so effective is that it plays a very significant role in improving about 700 processes of metabolism in the human body. Studies reveal that the deficiency of magnesium contributes a lot in increasing the anxiety in a person. There can question as of how a mineral is affecting an emotional cause but simply put, the emotional trouble is just the variant of any physical pain and magnesium is one of the essential minerals which directly affects the muscles and nervous system and calms them. While a person is in stress, his/her body uses magnesium in very high quantity to calm the nervous system down and control the palpitations, sweating, pain, headache and other symptoms of anxiety. Repeated experience of these symptoms is a proof that the person is magnesium deficient. Taking magnesium supplements seems to be a solution to most people but it must be known that magnesium supplements don’t entirely cure anxiety. They just help in calming the nervous system down and thus, controlling the anxious thoughts. Since this help can be significant for many people, magnesium is considered to be a choice for all consultants if someone is suffering from anxiety.
9 Ways In Which Magnesium Helps In Treating Anxiety
Magnesium highly controls the emotional activities of a human being, nourishes the nerves and prevents symptoms like sweating and palpitations. Thus, it has a big role to play in the emotional situations and hence, the anxiety of a person. Here are eight ways in which magnesium helps in treating anxiety:
Magnesium Increases the Release of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
Our brains have gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors which control the primary neurotransmission and thus the whole activity of the brain. Magnesium stimulates these GABA receptors and moderates the flow of it. When the GABA gets low, the brain finds it difficult to relax and calm down. Hence it is important to keep the GABA flowing in the required amount to maintain the stability of emotions and thoughts in the brain. Magnesium increases the flow and thus contributes to decreasing restlessness. If the body has a proper amount of magnesium present in it, then the GABA level is always in control and hence, the symptoms of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are removed from the roots with the effective mechanism of GABA flow.
Magnesium Controls the Flow Of Stress Hormones
As stated above, hormones play a very big role in maintaining the physical and emotional well-being of an individual and magnesium too contributes a lot to it. There are various stress hormones which are released and sent to the brain. Magnesium filters them out and avoids their circulation in the nervous system. It thus prevents excess cortisol which also causes anxiety, fear, and worry. It basically acts as a gateway for the hormones and prevents any stress-causing hormone from entering the nervous system. If the hormones fail in making a contact with the brain, they automatically grow weak and less effective. This helps a lot in controlling the anxious nature of the people as they do not get sufficient hormonal base to channelize their stress.
Magnesium is Anti-Inflammatory
Chronic inflammation is a firewall process of the body which can take place anywhere including the nerves of the brains. When the mind tends to think a lot and starts showing symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, irritation and increased thoughts of suicide, inflammatory immune cytokines or in simple terms, the system messengers can activate inflammation and result into dangerous problems like memory loss. This is a backfiring process in which the body prevents any harm to itself by erasing the excited thoughts. It is a highly helpful mechanism, but if this continues for long, then the patient might also face difficulty in remembering certain basic things. Having a low magnesium level in the body can increase the chances of these inflammatory actions with dangerous results. Hence, magnesium should be very well taken to reduce the chances of reverse attack of the immune system. Magnesium does a two-way work, on one hand, it prevents the increase of such negative thoughts and on the other hand, it controls the automatic features of the body made for protecting the immunity.
Magnesium Removes the Clutter of Heavy Metals
Heavy metals like lead, aluminum, and mercury can also be at the root cause of anxiety as well as a ton of neurological disorders. These harmful metals are strictly prohibited by the doctors for consumption in large quantities, but the present day lifestyle has become such that the food that is consumed, is itself highly contaminated. In such conditions, completely shunning out some food items is impossible, but the intake of these metals can be controlled. They are also harmful as they can cross the filters of the brain and accumulate there to form a clutter. The clutter of these metals stays insignificant in the beginning. However, if it keeps increasing with time then some grave dangers like clotting can also happen. These clutter also cause the brain to overthink and hence, contribute to the increment of anxiety. But magnesium is a natural detoxifier which binds with these heavy metals separately and breaks their accumulation. Thus high intake of magnesium can also help in decreasing these clutters, indirectly relieving the brain from anxious conditions.
Magnesium Promotes Neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity is the ability of the brain to heal the cells, create new ones and to make neural connections with the rest of the body. If this system is in fluid action, then the brain is considered to be healthy. Magnesium is one of the very few minerals which increases this brain plasticity and thus ensures the healthy activity of the brain. If the brain is in proper health, then it has a better mechanism to fight with anxiety and other mental illnesses on its own. Increase in the brain plasticity also helps in rewiring the entire functioning of the brain and ensuring that all the systems are in healthy working conditions. The increment in neuroplasticity also enhances the capacity of the brain to respond to the cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a therapy which many people use as a treatment method for curing anxiety.
Magnesium Also Treats Depression
Since depression is very closely related to anxiety, treating one can bring down the other. It has been observed by the specialists that depression is very common in highly anxious people as they start overthinking over issues that do not even exist and then get into depression by imagining the consequences of the incidents that might not even happen. Magnesium has surprising benefits for which it is also used in anti-depressants. It relieves any individual from depression and shows healthy recovery within a week. It does so by increasing the level of serotonin, a mind-boosting neurotransmitter and promotes healthy thoughts.
Magnesium Also Affects the Blood Sugar Levels
The blood sugar levels of the body influence the activities of the brain a lot and thus by regulating the blood sugar levels, magnesium contributes in maintaining the brain health. When the blood sugar levels fall down, the release of glucose decreases and hence, a disruption comes in the functioning of the brain. To manage this crisis, the adrenal glands come to action and start releasing cortisol and epinephrine. But this is not an immediate process as the nerves take some time for receiving the commands from the brain and then executing the actions. For this activity, magnesium highly accelerates and keeps the steady flow of glucose to the brain. It also initiates the process rapidly and thus helps in maintaining a healthy blood sugar level and hence a healthy body.
Magnesium Regulates Sleep
It affects the health of the body by regulating the sleep, immunity towards stress and overthinking, improving the capability to focus and increasing the energy of the body. It also increases the concentrating power of the brain and thus maintains a sharp memory. All of these are very important for a sustainable life with no negative emotions to drive towards mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Magnesium, in this way, contributes towards a healthy lifestyle and accelerates the health of the brain and the mind.
The medical experts talk about a strong connection between magnesium and anxiety and prove it by inducing anxiety in the lab animals by keeping them devoid of magnesium. They strongly declare that if the magnesium content is boosted then anxiety can be totally done away with. One very common symptom the deficiency of magnesium is tightening of muscles and cramping. Taking dosage of magnesium or increasing the food rich in magnesium helps in getting rid of this muscle issue as well as with mental illnesses like anxiety, irritability, and depression.
Which Magnesium-Rich Foods Helps In Relieving Anxiety?
There are some food items which have very high content of magnesium. These food items help in releasing magnesium which in turn reduces anxiety to a great extent. With a good combination of these in the regular diet, one can easily uplift their magnesium intake. Some are listed below:
Whole Wheat Flour- Almost all the whole grains have a high content of magnesium but whole wheat flour has the highest amount of it. The magnesium content of whole wheat flour is fairly nice for increasing the intake of magnesium in the body. It is suggested that the magnesium deficient person can use whole wheat in the place of white flour at home and also purchase bread made of whole wheat from the stores instead of taking high anti-depressant tonics.
Spinach– The medicinal values of green, leafy vegetables have been proclaimed since long and spinach is one of the main food items with lots of nutrients. Boiled spinach contains a lot of magnesium which can decrease anxiety and other mental stress.
Quinoa- It is one of the rare food items, the benefits of which are not very well-known. One reason for this is that people don’t properly know how to cook it. Quinoa is prepared just like rice and eaten in a similar way only. It has very high protein value and mineral content. The magnesium content of it is also satisfactory with one cup of boiled and cooked Quinoa gives enough of the mineral to control the thinking activities of the brain.
Almonds– Preached for its values of sharping the memory and giving energy to the body, almonds are little power-houses of magnesium. Not only can they be consumed as quick bite or snacks but they can also be toasted and added to different dishes for increasing the flavor and additional texture. About 400 mg Magnesium is suggested by health experts to be consumed daily and one ounce of almonds give about 80 mg to the body. It is about 20% of the required amount and thus can be a very simple but significant addition to the daily food routine. It is also equivalent to one dosage of medicine to control anxiety and hence, reduces the overthinking habits.
Cashew- Just like almonds, cashew nuts are also very beneficial for the body, providing vitamins and necessary oils. It is also added to various dishes to increase the flavor as well as for its nutritional value. Alongside, it is also a great source of magnesium. Its magnesium content is approximately near to that of almonds, and thus the health benefits towards the brain are equivalent.
Black Beans- The nuts and the beans are two sections of food which provide great health benefits. Black beans are the topmost beans which have the maximum amount of magnesium. A cup of boiled black beans has same medicinal value as that of any drugs with side-effects. To add to the diet, the beans can be boiled and taken as a quick food which will easily add to the magnesium intake of the individual.
Edamame- Everyone is familiar with soya beans but people don’t know much about edamame. They are the soya beans in their initial stage, still in the pods. They can be taken out like peas and eaten plainly or boiled before consuming. Edamame has ample amount of Magnesium when it is still in the shell which can be eaten as a snack and at the same time, reduce the anxiety in the person consuming it.
Peanuts– Consume it like a snack, fry it, toss it, boil it or add to the other dishes, peanuts are versatile food items which can be consumed in many ways. If one is too lazy to add peanuts everywhere, peanut butter has the same benefits. Peanut butter is also suggested by the doctors to patients suffering from mental illnesses.
Tofu- With a world slowly moving towards the vegan lifestyle, tofu is gaining prominence. It is an excellent substitute for meat and can be cooked just like any other non-vegetarian food item. The vegans love the taste of tofu and it’s no surprise that this tasty food also boasts a good amount of magnesium content in it. Tofu gives the essential nutrients that keep the neural actions in well-functioning state and thus keeps the brain healthy.
Sesame Seeds- In Asia, sesame seeds are an important part of the regular food habits. They are an easy way to add more nutrients to the daily food items while cooking them and making them even richer in benefits. They are used to control hypertension and relieve headache, depression, and anxiety.
All these food items have a very high content of magnesium and can be added to the diet by creating a variety of combinations. Neither are they too tough to cook nor are the habits hard to inculcate, and adapting to these can be very beneficial for any person suffering from anxiety to calm down his nervous system and cure the restlessness.
Magnesium-Rich Supplements Which Help In Reducing Anxiety
If the food intake is also not being beneficial enough in increasing the Magnesium requirement of the body, medical practitioners prescribe some magnesium supplements which can be taken to increase the amount of Magnesium in the body. Not all supplements are good for the health and some can also have serious side-effects. Below are some magnesium supplements with their benefits which have negligible side-effects:
Magnesium Hydroxide- Magnesium hydroxide is found in the milk of magnesia. It is very laxative and acts as an antacid which helps in relieving the stress which can occupy the mind.
Magnesium Glycinate- With a calming action, magnesium glycinate is the ideal supplement for anxiety and other mental disorders. It has also been called the best supplement for treating magnesium deficiency which is one of the root causes of anxiety.
Magnesium Carbonate- With a very strong laxative impact, magnesium carbonate is used in the antacids which are again used in the anti-depressants.
Magnesium Taurate- Magnesium taurate helps in controlling palpitations and calming down the heart. It is also beneficial in high blood pressure and hence, fights the roots of mental disorders like anxiety and depression.
Magnesium Citrate- With its laxative and very moderate effects, magnesium citrate has the least side-effect on the consumer and treats the mental illnesses with an all-round efficiency without causing any harm to the body of the patient.
Magnesium malate- Magnesium malate fights the problems of insomnia and fatigue which are again the very basic symptoms of mental disorders like depression and anxiety. If a person is not getting proper sleep, chances of anxiety get higher in him or her, and thus Magnesium malate also helps in reduction of anxiety.
These supplements, when taken in prescribed quantities along with proper treatment of anxiety and with the intake of necessary food items with high magnesium content can be very helpful in treating the anxiety.
For increasing the magnesium content of the body, eating magnesium-rich food is important and also some magnesium supplements can be taken. Choosing the best of the available options and by trying to stop overthinking, magnesium can be a tough sword to fight the evils of anxiety.
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