Under Pressure? 6
Nutritional Strategies to Ease Anxiety
According to the
American Institute of Stress, nearly 80% of people repeatedly experience
physical symptoms triggered by stress, and close to half of the surveyed say
that stress has a negative impact on their lives. Some of the leading causes of
stress are money (the lack of it), work, and political climate. Workplace
stress can often be overwhelming, and it is often caused by the
workload, but also by people issues and juggling personal and professional
Different people find different ways of
coping with the turmoil caused by stress, but it is impossible to deny the
connection between nutrition and our mental health. So, if you are feeling a
bit under pressure, here are a few things you can shake up in your diet to
shake off all the stress.
1. Start your day with a healthy dose of protein
People don’t say that “breakfast is the
most important meal of the day” for nothing. Protein, particularly, is the fuel
that charges your body, preventing it to take scraps from the energy reserves
of the previous day.
The lack of energy leaves you feeling
irritable, worn-out and unable to function properly. The food you eat impacts
the neurotransmitters in the brain, which means that you need a balanced
breakfast for a proper brain function.
There are two sorts of proteins that can
impact the neurotransmitters: one can keep you alert and the others make you
serene. For the optimal effects, you will need a balance between the two. Some
of the best examples of healthy protein-packed breakfast
are omelet, protein shake, avocado toast, etc.
2. Don’t ditch all the carbs
Carbohydrates have gained quite a bad
reputation, and undeservedly so. Complex carbs can increase the amount of tryptophan in your brain,
which is later turned into serotonin – a hormone which has a calming effect.
Some of the foods packed with complex carbs are convenient for work lunch
because you can pack them in a bowl and carry them with you. Whole-grain
cereals, quinoa, and oatmeal are just a couple of ideas.
However, you should remember that not all
carbs are good. Stay clear of the simple ones, such as carbonated beverages and
3. Don’t let yourself be dehydrated
Our bodies react similarly to dehydration and stress. These two phenomenons
position our bodies in a “survival mode”, and trigger cortisol release. When
prolonged, they can even affect critical body functions. Obviously, the
solution for this is drinking enough water, but you can also up the game, by
eating foods packed with water (e.g., cucumber), drinking teas
(non-caffeinated), and avoiding things that can get you dehydrated, such as
alcohol, coffee, and sodas.
4. It’s all about the balance
Healthy eating is not just about what you
eat. It is about how you combine your nutrients, and how much you eat. Do not
overeat would be the first and the most logical advice anyone could give you.
But balance is far more complicated than that. Make sure there is always a
variety of nutrients on your plate, including protein, carbs, omega-3 fatty
acids, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
5. Eat your way to anxiety alleviation
There are some foods and ingredients which
can help ease the symptoms of anxiety alongside with therapy, medications, and
other actions. This is possible because these foods compensate for a certain
deficiency which results in higher stress levels. For example, asparagus
compensates for the lack of folate, avocado replenishes your vitamin B stocks,
blueberries give your body the vitamin C it is craving for, and almonds provide
you with magnesium.
There are some new findings which suggest
CBD oil could be beneficial for anxiety, and while
there is much more to learn about it, positive experiences show that it is
worth a try.
6. The key may be in personalization
There are no two persons on this planet who
are entirely alike. Some people react to certain nutrients differently. Before
you go along with all these tips, you should check for whether you have food
sensitivities which could affect your mood, and adapt your diet to the
specifics of your organism.
Juggling your career, family, household
chores, and social life can be physically and mentally exhausting. And while
changes in your diet should not be taken as substitutes for anxiety treatment,
they can be a welcome partner in the battle against daily stress.
Last modified: May 7, 2019