First the bad news: Recently, the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology’s Congress in Vienna released the largest study to date exploring the link between generalized anxiety and cancer.
The results were telling – men who suffer from generalized anxiety were twice as likely to die of cancer over those who don’t suffer from the condition. You can read more about this huge study here.
There are a variety of theories as to why this is the case – but one thing is clear that the intense stress that these men feel over a lifetime of anxiety has a huge impact on their health and ability to heal.
So lets get on with the good news – all is not lost if you struggle with anxiety and now worry even more about cancer.
Some of the best foods shown to reduce the risk of cancer in men are also some of my guys favorites –
Bring on the Lycopene – Salsa Anyone?
According to a landmark study out of Harvard – “The authors found that of the 46 fruits and vegetables evaluated it was only the tomato-based foods that were beneficial in lowering the risk of prostate cancer, and lycopene was implicated as the active ingredient. Those men who ate ten or more servings of tomato-based products per week had a 34 percent lower risk of contracting prostate cancer.”
That’s great news for the salsa, tomato sauce loving guys in your life.
Similar research has found Watermelon to be a powerhouse of nutrition for men. It’s higher in Lycopene than tomatoes, boasts a generous amount of Vitamin C and electrolytes (magnesium, choline and potassium) and L-citrulline – which has been shown beneficial in treating erectile disfunction, high blood pressure and over all heart health. It has even been referred to as natures Viagra. (watermelon juice anyone?)
The best part is that the studies showed that the only way to get the benefits is to EAT them as foods. Supplmentation just doesn’t do the trick (hooray for real food!!)
Guava is another power player – it boasts the highest amount of Lycopene, a massive amount of potassium (can you say heart health??) and is a fabulous source of fiber.
Eating your way to health
Pumpkin seeds are a fantastic source of magnesium – a must have to manage stress. French researchers found that those with the highest levels of magnesium in their blood were 40% less likely to die from an early death. An ounce or two of these a day contain enough magnesium to zoom your levels right up into the safe zone.
Beets are high in both folate and betaine. These two nutrients work together to lower your blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease.
Goji Berries are Pomegranite Juice are two other huge players in men’s health. Super high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and studies have shown huge implications in improving heart health, lowering blood pressure and managing insulin resistance.
Reishi Mushroom, Chaga Mushroom and Cordyceps mushrooms have all shown organ protecting and incredible antioxidant properties in recent studies. Using a high quality form of these mushrooms is the key, as they are most effective when used regularly and on an on-going basis.
Still struggling with anxiety even with all your new found foods to insulate your health?
There is hope – the universe really does have your back.
While the source of anxiety can be as different as each of the individuals who struggle with it, practitioners well versed in herbs and botanicals can help you not only manage your symptoms but make recommendation that can lead to improved health and a greater sense of calm and well-being.
The roots of unexplained anxiety often lie in an imbalance in the body so an experienced practitioner can help pin point weaknesses in the body which can lead to symptoms of anxiety, anger and the sense of feeling out of control. Often times simply improving blood health can make a big difference.
Bacopa/Brahmi, Gotu kola, and Ginko are some of my favorite herbs that have been used for centuries to help restore calm, increase concentration and reduce inflammation in the body. Along with a custom herbal & dietary protocols, I often recommend Banyan Botanicals Focus . Its calming and focusing effects are gentle but noticeable and the small bottle is easy to stick in a pocket or backpack to use throughout the day.
Cutting back on sugar, caffein and increasing protein are also important to manage symptoms and create successful habits. Consider adding even a few minutes of quiet meditation each day, especially at times when symptoms are usually worse has been shown to reduce symptoms drastically. The act of mediating requires you to become present right now. Getting off the hamster wheel, the worry train and stepping away from the chaos in the brain has the lovely side effect of reducing anxiety.
Dietary changes and supplementation with herbs appropriate for your constitution can make a huge difference in anxiety and long-term health and a qualified Herbalist or Natural Wellness Consultant can help you create an individualized plan.