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 life.
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 sugary foods.
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.
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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