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Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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April 8, 2004

Rice Helps Reduce Anxiety

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Anxiety disorders like panic disorders, agoraphobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder lead the individuals to significant distress and dysfunction due to an unpleasant emotional state, fear.

Anxiety and panic can interfere with normal life but certain nutrients may help the body and mind to cope. The B vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, B6, biotin, pantothenic acid, B12, folic acid) are all important for the healthy functioning of the nervous system, especially the production of the key neurotransmitters that can help alleviate mild anxiety.

One good source of several of these nutrients is brown rice which contains thiamin (vitamin B1), vitamin B6, and niacin. Thiamin is beneficial during anxiety and panic because it facilitates neurotransmitter synthesis, promotes healthy nerve function, and converts carbohydrates in foods into energy. Vitamin B6 helps the body to manufacture neurotransmitters such as serotonin, essential for the body to cope with anxiety and panic. And Niacin helps the body to release energy from carbohydrates, control blood sugar, and maintain proper nervous system function.

Foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, brown rice, unrefined cereals and flours, and vegetables and fruits, provide your brain with a steady supply of glucose.

So here is one suggestion for feeding your brain better throughout the day:

Breakfast: Begin the day with a mixture of protein and complex carbohydrates: low-fat milk with whole-grain cereal and fresh fruit.

Lunch: To renew mental energy for the afternoon, have a salad with low-fat dressing, shrimp cocktail, or chicken breast and fresh fruit for dessert.

Afternoon Snack: Use the midday snack to supply your brain with carbohydrates. Choose fresh fruit or low-fat crackers and six ounces of fruit juice or vegetable juice cocktail.

Dinner: Start the evening with complex carbohydrates-baked potato or corn-as a side dish; choose a choline-rich entree, such as lentil soup or fish; and finish with a low-fat frozen yogurt dessert.

Bedtime Snack: Relax your brain and prepare for a good night's sleep with warm low-fat milk, honey and banana.

Time for a little natural mind styling and a stretch.

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Mental Health Issues


1. Bill Seitz on April 8, 2004 4:02 PM writes...

I don't think baked potato counts as a complex carb. It's a little more complex than cane sugar, but not much.

It's too bad brown rice is so blech. Ditto whole-grain pasta.

And note that many granolas include trans-fats.

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2. Peter Ness on April 12, 2004 9:33 AM writes...

Brown rice need not be "blech", you just have to add things to it while it cooks - a spring of your favourite herb maybe, some fenugreek seeds, camadon pods, tumeric etc.

And if you burn it to the bottom of the saucepan, keep the lid on, move it to a cool hotplate and leave it for about half an hour. By then the stuck rice has become a crunchy crust which should lift off easily. I think the condensing steam has something to do with it. Iranians use other ingredients as binding agents to produce this desired result known as tah dig.

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3. Eva on April 12, 2004 11:20 AM writes...

Brown rice slowly steemed (evaporation method) with half an onion in the middle, few drops of oil, not over cooked and it tastes just terrific.
Please do not forget the vegetarians in your suggestions! A vegetarian does NOT eat fish or seafood

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4. astelix on May 11, 2004 5:42 AM writes...

it' too bad whole-grain pasta???
you (or your wife) probabily are a bad cook! here in italy we eat EVERY DAY tons of pure whole-grain pasta, often spiced by tomato sauce + basil and olive oil and a parmesan cheese scratch and people go crazy for that, i guarantee.

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