Fight Stress and Anxiety with Food!
Burdened with work? Got bills to pay? Scored low on a test? Lost a race? The way they text has changed? From the biggest to smallest of our problems, anything can cause us stress or anxiety, or even both. In times of such vulnerability, do you find yourself ordering your favorite thing to eat, or do you meditate/exercise? There is no denying that for us, food is just not for consumption – it has become a solution, comfort, or perhaps even an escape.
However, often what we consume in the name of “happy” foods such as chips, cookies, pizza, and alcohol are meant to give a short-term relief only. They contribute to increasing levels of anxiety and depression in the long term. Eating processed foods, and alcohol/caffeine, which do not provide enough nutrition, can increase cortisol levels—the principal hormone responsible for stress. A diet comprising of a good amount of nutrition and low in processed foods can allow us to maintain healthy cortisol levels. Managing cortisol levels is of utmost importance as Cortisol manages a lot of things in your body— reducing inflammation, regulating sleep cycles, increasing blood sugar, managing how the body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and controlling blood pressure.
While no diet, in particular, can serve as a remedy for stress and anxiety, some foods may help reduce the same. Browse through these options and make your diet wholesome while it takes care of your mood.
1- A cup of Tea is the key!
Instead of opting for heavily caffeinated drinks, coffee, etc, choose a cup of tea instead. We are not recommending the traditional chai. The market is full of various variants of herbal teas with exotic flavors. Whenever you experience a bout of stress, sipping on some herbal tea promotes feelings of warmth and calmness. Green Tea helps reduce inflammation, is healthy for the heart and stomach, and has anti-oxidants, making it an apt choice for a comfort drink.
2- Munch on those Carbs
It is a known fact that carbohydrates increase the level of serotonin temporarily in the body. Serotonin helps better mood, reduces stress, and improves focus, and digestion-related issues. Unrefined carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, whole grains, etc should replace simple carbs like cookies, cakes, and pasta, as they’re healthier for the body. Including whole grain cookies and bread is a nice way to munch on something healthy.
3- Grill some Fish
If you’re someone who is okay with consuming seafood, fishes are your friends. Fatty fish are known to have stress-busting star Omega 3 fatty acids that help reduce stress and anxiety. They’re heart-healthy, reduce depression, and better the mood while protecting the body. Tuna, Salmon, Lake Trout, Sardines, etc are some types of fatty fish you could try.
4- Finish your glass of milk!
As much as Calcium-rich foods are necessary for bone-related issues; they improve muscle health and calm the nerves. Drinking a glass of warm milk at night before sleeping can help you ease out and sleep well, bettering stress and anxiety. If you don’t have the taste for milk, yogurt and cheese in limited amounts could be your thing.
5- Fruits and Nuts
It has been found that Vitamin C cut down stress levels. Having citrus fruits like oranges, strawberries and grapefruits could contribute to overall wellbeing, making you feel better. Nuts, on the other hand, are filled with Vitamins and healthy fats. They even help lower blood pressure levels, hence making you calmer. They also contain magnesium which is linked to better anxiety management. Hence, including flax seeds, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, etc as your go-to munchies will save you further trouble.
6- Dark Chocolate
No! I am not talking about the sweetened chocolates markets are flooded with. A limited amount of dark chocolate in a diet can reduce stress and anxiety in various ways. While dark chocolate consumption might sound like an indulgence, if regulated, it’s a boon. Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants that curb stress-inducing hormones in the body. A limited amount of dark chocolate can work as medicine and alleviate your mood. However, you’ll have to abstain from over-consumption.
Things to help you with your Stress and Anxiety
If you’re prone to mood swings, bouts of stress, or have easily triggered anxiety issues, watching what you do can also aid you in feeling better. Indulge in some physical activities regularly. From playing your favorite sport to dancing, a walk, or a jog, staying active helps manage cortisol levels. Apart from this, it’s advisable to go and seek an appointment with a dietician once. If you have moderate to severe levels of stress and anxiety, getting a personalized diet chart made can save you a lot of long-term trouble. Align your idea of a healthy body with the most suitable diet and you will feel better. Stay healthy, stay happy!