If you are feeling anxious these days (aren’t we all?) don’t forget about the mind-body connection. What you eat can actually affect your mental state. Here are some nutrition hacks that can help your body create a sense of mental calm.
Stay Hydrated: I am guilty of drinking coffee and Diet Coke all day, but I am trying to drink more H2O. The general recommendation is that we drink 64 ounces of water a day. Staying hydrated has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress.
Regulate your blood sugar. Don’t skip meals, A blood sugar drop really affects your mood negatively! Have lean protein for breakfast and add the following foods to keep your blood sugar stable.
Whole grains contain tryptophan and magnesium which decrease anxiety and boost mood.
Spinach, nuts, and beans are good sources of the calming mineral magnesium.
Asparagus is potassium-rich and contains vitamins A, C, E, and K. In Chinese medicine asparagus extract is used for reducing anxiety.
Foods rich in vitamin B, like avocados, almonds, and meat also reduce stress and anxiety.
Zinc which is found in cashews, beef, and egg-yokes is also useful for decreasing anxiety.
Studies have shown that antioxidants and Omega 3 also lessen anxiety. Blueberries and acai contain antioxidants. Salmon and other fatty fish are good sources for Omega 3.
Antioxidant and Omega 3 supplements have also been found to be useful supportive dietary additions for patients with anxiety and depression.
Woo Hoo! Chocolate Eat chocolate fight anxiety (in reasonable amounts, of course.) Chocolate, especially dark chocolate (which has less sugar), helps reduce cortisol, a stress hormone, and very linked to anxiety.
There are also foods that can trigger anxiety, so if you are experiencing anxiety you should probably avoid:
Simple sugars (sweetened drinks, cookies, cakes, and white bread)
Fried foods (battered chicken and fish, potato chips and french fries)
Excessive alcohol and caffeine.
Stick with these changes in eating. It can take time for them to start making a difference in your anxiety level.
If your anxiety is severe it might be time to consult a therapist to discuss other ways you might be able to reduce anxiety during these destabilizing times.