How to Control Stress and Anxiety with Good Food!
How Stress Mounts up when you are Busy.
Stress-related illnesses such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, are rapidly reaching epidemic proportions. Stress can build up in a busy lifestyle when you are not prepared for a looming deadline, have a never-ending-to-do list, have anxious feelings that there is something you have forgotten to do, or perhaps feel that you are falling behind in your work.
When it gets a bit too much for you to handle, you are tempted to throw in the towel and find something decadent, but comforting, to eat. Fries and cakes will probably be your first choice, but filling up on these foods will more than likely leave you feeling more anxious than ever.
Depending on the severity of the stress, which in some cases will definitely need medical intervention and possible medication, research has shown that anxiety and stress can be controlled with food.
Not Just Any Food!
Studies have shown that there are certain foods which have been proved to reduce stress levels. Most of the foods do not take hours to prepare, and for busy folk, will be quick-to-make snacks or meals.
Here are some of the most common foods to use when anxious:
All the above foods, as well as others like avocados, and dark green veggies such as spinach, broccoli, and lettuce, are beneficial for helping you cope with anxiety. They contain vitamins and minerals that are known to calm the mind and body. At the same time, your energy levels get a boost, motivating you to get some exercise, which will also stabilize your mood.
Foods that should be avoided when you are stressed.
Just as important as it is to eat the right foods to help ease anxiety, it is even more important to make sure you do not eat food that will aggravate your stress.
Here are some critical foods to stay away from:
All refined foods like cakes, pasta, rolls, cookies, and bread. These foods do not have any fiber to slow down the digestion of all the flour and sugar. Glucose levels go through the roof and spike the release of cortisol, which makes you crave even more of the same bad stuff.
Don’t go for a so-called healthy granola bar. It is just a sugar-rich candy bar with a few seeds added. Unless the ingredients are raw without sugars added, avoid these . Avoid other sweets as well.
Skip the deadly, delicious ice cream, universally favorite comfort food of the masses. The high sugar content will raise the cortisol levels, and lead to raised anxiety and more stress. Avoid fried foods as much as possible, as even the ever-popular French fries is a big no-no! This comfort food is little more than unhealthy saturated fats, and greasy carbs.
Finally, something to remember.
Overcoming anxiety without medication, or even with reduced medication, involves making permanent lifestyle changes, especially when it comes to your diet, and getting some exercise.
Healthy eating and exercise are one of the best ways to control stress. Always make sure that you drink enough water, as studies have found that many folks who have persistent stress, are also somewhat dehydrated, which is known to cause more anxiety.
If you are taking medication for stress, do not stop taking it, or even reducing medication, without discussing it with your doctor/practitioner. Getting in a better state of mind by choosing the right foods, is not a call to toss your meds!
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Petra Sovcov is not a Medical Doctor (MD) nor a Naturopath (ND), she is a Clinical Herbal Therapist (CHT) and holds a Doctorate in Natural Medicine (DNM). The suggestions or recommendations made on this site are not meant to be a substitute for advice from your MD, or as a substitute for any prescriptions you may be taking. Suggestions followed will be the responsibility of the reader, and are stated with the intention of interest and education only. If you have a health issue, please see your primary care physician (MD) first and foremost.