It is estimated that over two million Australians will experience anxiety in a period of only one year, Beyond Blue reports.
When it comes to the causes of anxiety, genetic predisposition has a major influence, but, researchers from the University of Toronto have looked at how lifestyle factors can also affect the onset of anxiety disorder.
The study, which was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, looked at the daily diet of participants.
According to mindbodygreen, researchers found that people who consumed less than three sources of fruits and veggies a day were 24 percent more likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. While this can be a tricky subject to research — experiencing anxiety is extremely personal to every individual.
Researchers analysed a whopping 26,991 adults aged between 45 and 85 years old and this number of participants provided a large cross-section of data that was beneficial to researching a disorder like this.
The link between diet and anxiety
Researchers found that “women who followed a ‘Western’ diet high in refined
grains, sugary products, and processed foods were found to be significantly more likely to have an anxiety disorder compared to those with a balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and whole grains.”
The balanced diet referred to by the researchers is closely in line with the Mediterranean diet, which is known to increase longevity and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
According to Karen Davison, the lead author of the study, the link between veggie consumption and anxiety could come down to body composition.
“As levels of total body fat increased beyond 36%, the likelihood of anxiety disorder was increased by more than 70%,” co-author Jose Mora-Almanza, told mindbodygreen.
Filling your daily diet with fruits, veggies, lean meats, and whole grains is important for living a healthy life and now it could help with managing, or even minimising, the effect of anxiety.
Health is extremely personal so when it comes to managing your own anxiety, make sure to consult your GP before making any treatment changes.