Food is your body’s fuel. You’re aware that what you eat can significantly impact the way you feel. Sugar, for example, can give you a quick high, only to fizzle out before you know it. Eating fruits and veggies usually provides a longer-lasting source of energy.
But did you know that some foods can actually affect your anxiety levels? It’s true, both for better and for worse. Take a look at the information below to discover the relationship between certain foods and anxiety.
While each individual’s physiology responds differently to certain ingredients, here are some basics to know about the link between what you eat and how you feel.
First of all, it’s important to start out with a healthy and balanced diet if you want to enhance the effects nutritional changes can have on how anxious you feel on a daily basis.
If you know that your eating habits could use a general overhaul, that’s a good place to start. Gradually begin substituting good-for-you options for some of the more troublesome ones. Even eliminating just one bad habit like drinking soda every day can be a good start. Try fruit-infused water instead to see what happens.
Strive to maintain a balanced diet of healthy foods as a rule, with treats thrown in on occasion.
As already noted, water is a better alternative to sugary drinks. It also provides much-needed hydration to your body, as dehydration can really mess with your mood. Complex carbohydrates are a far better option than white, starchy ones.
Complex carbs increase your brain’s serotonin levels. Serotonin is a known feel-good brain chemical that offers a calming effect, so this is definitely a good thing.
Starting your day this way gives you higher energy levels and steady blood sugar.
You’ll also feel fuller for longer, helping to avoid the temptation to binge on unhealthy snacks mid-morning. Get creative with your eggs or whip up a peanut butter smoothie for a protein-packed wake-up. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial in lowering both depression and anxiety.
So go for a light lunch of salmon or avocado salad. Tryptophan, that ingredient in turkey that makes you feel sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner, is also a soothing ingredient because it stimulates the production of feel-good brain chemicals. Nuts, cheese, bananas, milk and chicken are also high in tryptophan.
Avoiding overeating will ensure you avoid that sleepy feeling if you need to be alert for work or other tasks. Vitamin B helps to reduce anxious symptoms, too. So load up on leafy greens, legumes, beef, chicken, citrus fruits, rice and eggs.
Let’s take a look at what you want to remove from your diet to avoid feeling anxious.
Cut down on caffeine. This natural stimulant inhibits your serotonin production. It’s also a diuretic that will send you running to the bathroom more often, increasing your chances of becoming dehydrated. We already looked at how dehydration can negatively affect mood. Here’s bad news if you have a sweet tooth.
Your go-to candy fix is hurting your energy levels through its quick absorption into the bloodstream and surge of insulin production.
Finally, while alcohol can seem like a nice way to escape the bad feelings, it’s actually counterproductive to indulge because alcohol is a depressant. A glass of wine can be enjoyable, though. Just don’t overdo it.
These tips should get you started on modifying your diet to lower anxiety. Do be aware of any food sensitivities you may have. You can tailor these suggestions to your own needs and lifestyle. Ask your doctor before making major changes to your daily food intake or if you have any concerns.