Eating to Ease Anxiety! Nutrition is key to keeping the butterflies in your stomach at bay.
As the world continues to adjust to Covid, anxiety is understandably at ahigh. The stress that accompanies social restrictions and general uncertainty is best managed through diet, exercise and self-care such as meditation and breathwork to instil balance. Nutrition is just as crucial for mental health as physical well-being. While getting your greens in won’t necessarily prevent the feeling of overwhelm, a balanced diet rich in whole foods increases your ability to cope.
Of the plethora of diets, the Mediterranean remains a favourite for its high intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil and low-fat dairy, which boosts overall health, and is also thought to be an effective way to prevent anxiety. Foods to avoid, rather unsurprisingly, include anything processed or containing refined carbs or added sugar. Alcohol, caffeine, diet soda and soy sauce also make the black list.
That being said there are a variety of pantry staples which can help induce calm by stabilising blood sugar and repairing gut microbiota. One study indicated that 95 per cent of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut, and there’s growing evidence that our lifestyle choice directly impacts levels of anxiety.
Here’s what a typical day of eating might look like incorporating top tension-reducing foods:
Yoghurt and berries provide brain-benefiting probiotics and studies indicate that they help to lessen anxiety, balance mood and enhance the ability to better handle stress. Blueberries contain vitamin C and antioxidants and have also been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety.
A cup of green tea also works wonders to combat work-related stress in the morning, thanks to amino acid L-theanine which has proven to ease anxiety one to three hours after consuming 200 milligrams.