Is The White House Impacting Your Health? Here is How You Can Be Proactive10 months ago | Nutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
Since the election, there’s some evidence that many Americans have experienced an increase in fear and anxiety. Two-thirds of adults say they’re stressed out about the future of the United States, according to a report from The New England Journal of Medicine.
Some attribute this stress and anxiety to a number of changes being proposed by the new administration, including a new health care system, tighter immigration laws and the decision to opt out of a global climate change agreement. Additionally, within his first 100 days in office President Trump signed more bills into law than all but two presidents in the last 84 years, according to NBC.
Aside from possible new laws, there may be other factors weighing on the minds of citizens.
According to the report, racial hostility has increased. In a survey, 67% of teachers reported that many U.S. students were scared, worried and expressed concern about what might happen to their family after the election.
Of course, some Americans support changes trying to be made while others don’t. What is interesting is a recent study suggests that the changes may have a negative impact on the health of people who are not in favor.
According to a January 2017 survey reported by The American Psychological Association, “more than half of Americans (57 percent) report that the current political climate is a significant source of stress.”
One study shared evidence that there may be more hostile attitudes directed at minorities, immigrants and Muslims. According to the study, since the presidential campaign began more than half of K-12 students felt emboldened to name-call and say hostile things toward minorities, immigrants and Muslims. Behavior like this may make these targeted groups feel less safe and more anxious regarding deportation or discrimination when seeking health care, the study said.
Americans may be feeling stressed and anxious about what the future holds. Change may make us feel as if we are no longer able to govern our own health and well-being.
However, we must remember that we will always have stress in our lives. The real issue is how we handle and/or cope with stress. And we know violence or negativity are not appropriate coping techniques.
One successful way to cope with stress is to ensure our bodies are in the best shape to keep anxiety and depression at bay. It is important to have good mental health so we can make healthy decisions and appropriately cope with stress. And a healthy body may ensure that we have a healthy mind.
Here’s how we can be proactive
Know which nutrients can help keep our mental health in good shape and anxiety at bay.
- Calcium supports the central nervous system and resiliency of the brain. It also affects the level of magnesium in your body. Good sources include dairy products, almond milk, dark leafy greens, chia seeds, sardines and tofu.
- Magnesium can improve symptoms of depression, hopelessness and anxiety. Good sources are dark leafy greens, brown rice and nuts like cashews, peanuts and almonds.
- Zinc levels are generally low in those who have major depression, and low levels may cause the nervous system to trigger fight-or-flight response more easily. Eat pumpkin seeds, spinach, chicken, lamb, grass-fed beef, mushrooms, chickpeas and dark chocolate for more zinc in your diet.
Vitamin B6, B12 and folate are all critical to maintaining a healthy nervous system and for brain function.
- Vitamin B6 helps make neurotransmitters and mood and sleep-regulating hormones. Bananas, chicken breast, spinach, hazelnuts, salmon and tuna are rich in vitamin B6.
- Vitamin B12 is also important for blood cells and DNA and is mostly found in animal food and fortified foods. Have beef liver, clams, fish, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products and some fortified breakfast cereals. Vegetarians may want to talk to their doctors regarding supplements.
- Folate (vitamin B9) helps maintain the health of red blood cells and encourages normal nerve and brain functioning. Dark leafy greens, asparagus, citrus fruit and avocado are all rich in folate.
- Drink plenty of water to transport nutrients to cells. Water can also curb hunger and cravings. Kids who drink less water tend to drink less milk, eat fewer fruits and vegetables, eat more fast food, drink more sugary beverages and get less physical activity, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports.
- Determine how much of each nutrient your body needs to function at its best with a nutrition test. Many of us are generally unaware we may have nutrient deficiencies that affect our physical and mental health.
- To learn more about the vital ways minerals can help with anxiety and depression, read “Minerals: The Forgotten Nutrient – Your Secret Weapon For Getting and Staying Healthy”.
Just like the mayors who have decided to take initiative to reduce carbon footprints in their individual cities, you can take the initiative on making healthy decisions that can help you cope with new stressors in your life, including ones you don't have direct control over.
And finally, keep in mind one of my favorite quotes by former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice: "The essence of America - that which really unites us - is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion - it is an idea- and what an idea it is: That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things." If we really combine this thinking with proper nutrition, we may be successful in significantly reducing our anxiety and stress levels.
Enjoy your healthy life!
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