Updated: Aug 22
Food is your body's fuel. What you eat can significantly impact the way you feel. For example, sugar can give you a quick high but fizzles out before you know it, leading to what you know as a sugar crash. Eating fruits and vegetables provides a longer-lasting source of energy.
Certain foods and your anxiety levels are connected, for better and for worse.
Here at New Leaf Counseling, we have listed some examples below to discover the relationship between them. Each individual responds differently to certain ingredients in food; here is some basic information to know about the link between what you eat and how you feel.
If you want to enhance the effects nutritional changes can have on anxious feelings, it is essential to have a healthy, balanced diet. If you know that your eating habits could benefit from some adjustments, that is an excellent place to start. Gradually begin substituting options that are good for you. By eliminating just one unhealthy habit like drinking soda every day, you will start to notice a change in the way your body and mind feels. Try fruit-infused water instead of soda to see what happens. If you miss the carbonation, try flavored sparkling water. It is a better alternative to sugary drinks and also provides much-needed hydration to your body because dehydration can mess with your mood.
Also, complex carbohydrates are a far better option than white, starchy ones. Complex carbs increase your brain's serotonin levels. Serotonin is known as the chemical in your brain that makes you feel good- it offers a calming effect which a good thing. Whole-grain bread, oatmeal, and quinoa are complex carbohydrates that you could try incorporating into your nutrition.
An anxiety-busting strategy is to eat a breakfast that's high in protein.
By starting your day this way, it gives you higher energy levels and steady blood sugar. It will also make you feel fuller for longer, which will help eliminate the desire to binge on snacks that might not fuel your brain and body. Eggs and or peanut butter in your morning smoothing are great protein boosters!
Omega-3 fatty acids can aid in lowering both depression and anxiety. Try a light lunch of salmon or avocado salad. Tryptophan is an ingredient in turkey that makes you feel sleepy; it's also a soothing ingredient because it stimulates the production of feel-good brain chemicals. Therefore, having it for lunch could be a significant cause of that overtired feeling you get in the afternoon. Nuts, cheese, bananas, milk, and chicken are also high in tryptophan.
Vitamin B helps to reduce anxiety symptoms. Eat leafy greens, legumes, beef, chicken, citrus fruits, rice, and eggs for energy and relief if feeling anxious.
There are things you can remove from your diet as well to avoid feeling anxious. Caffeine is a natural stimulant that inhibits your serotonin production, which is the chemical that promotes happy feelings. It is also a diuretic that will send you running to the bathroom more often. Frequent bathroom trips can increase your chances of dehydration, and we've already talked about how that can negatively affect mood. Next up, sugar.
Due to quick absorption into the bloodstream and surge of insulin production, your candy fix could be hurting your energy levels.
Finally, alcohol can seem like a helpful way to escape bad feelings at the end of a long day; it's counterproductive to indulge because alcohol is a depressant. A glass of wine can be enjoyable, limit your intake, and don't overdo it.
These tips will hopefully prepare you to modify your diet to lower anxiety.
Balance is key when you want to maintain a particular way of eating. That's why it is essential to view food as fuel instead of labeling it as good or bad.
Load up on the veggies for a burst of energy daily but don't say no to the cake at your best friends birthday party either! Ask your doctor before making significant changes to your daily food intake or if you have any concerns.