How Nutrition Helps With PTSD
Good Nutrition Is Vital For Physical and Mental Health
Many people, both veterans, and civilians, have to deal with PTSD in their daily life. PTSD is a mental health condition that people may develop, usually after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. Such events could be anything from accidents to sexual assault.
People with PTSD occasionally relive their traumatic experiences through feelings of panic, dreams, or vivid recollections. Treatment of PTSD usually involves various forms of therapy, such as prolonged exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Similarly, there are medications to manage anxiety.
However, one underrated tool for managing PTSD is nutrition. Nutrition is usually associated with heart health. However, its benefits to the body go beyond this. In this article, we’ll go through how nutrition can be leveraged to help with PTSD.
Relationship between nutrition and PTSD
While PTSD may, at first glance, seem like an issue of the mind that has nothing to do with nutrition, this is not true. Good nutrition is vital for overall excellent health, even in relation to mental health. We know that having a healthy diet can help optimize mood and cognitive functions.
Beyond this, however, nutrition is an essential consideration with PTSD since patients are associated with poor eating habits that can result in other conditions like heart disease and diabetes. So, people with PTSD need to pay close attention to their nutrition and ensure their diet is as healthy as possible.
Steps to using nutrition to help with PTSD
Avoid foods that excessively increase blood sugar levels
If you have PTSD, it’s advisable to reduce your intake of sugar and processed foods. This is because taking in too much sugar can result in insulin fluctuation, which can worsen your emotional responses.
Hence, while it might be tempting to distract yourself with junk food from time to time, it’s best to opt for a healthier diet for proper emotion regulation. So, as opposed to cakes and biscuits, try to take more complex carbohydrates.
Take prebiotic-rich foods
PTSD can significantly impact your guts, affecting your overall health in many ways. For one, it could lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. You can, however, help support your gut microbiome by consuming more foods rich in prebiotics. Foods like onions, broccoli, garlic, carrots, and tomatoes are naturally rich in prebiotics.
Pay attention to your magnesium levels
Magnesium is an important nutrient, especially for people with PTSD. Unfortunately, there’s evidence to suggest that the western diet, i.e., processed foods, tends to contain low magnesium levels.
If you are overly reliant on processed foods, you may be magnesium-deficient. This could contribute to anxiety and depression. You can get more magnesium by consuming fish like tuna and vegetables.
Consider taking supplements
Even when you try to make your diet balanced and healthy, you might still end up not taking enough of some essential nutrients. This is why it might be necessary to consider taking supplements.
If you’re not getting enough magnesium, for instance, you can consume magnesium supplements. You should also consider Omega 3 supplementation since Omega 3 fatty acids have been found to be beneficial for mental health.
Similarly, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) have been associated with reduced risk of anxiety and depression. You can check some top-reviewed BCAA supplements.
As we’ve shown in this article, your nutrition is relevant to PTSD in more ways than you might think. Overall, it is best to steer clear of processed foods and adopt a healthy diet rich in beneficial nutrients.
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