5 Healthy Food Habits That Can Reduce Your Anxiety
I’m ‘Anxiety Girl’. My superpower is the ability to jump to conclusions in a second, and healthy food habits are my kryptonite.How anxious are you? Well, let’s begin with how anxious I am, and then maybe you could rate yourself relative to that? Great, let’s begin.
I am not quite anxious anymore, but let me tell you how bad it got at a point. The smallest of things, like a missed call on my phone, would make me crumple to my knees. I would quickly jump to the worst conclusion, and begin trembling, twitching, panting…basically, suffering. Or, for example, being in a car would make me dread the accident that never happened (praise the Lord!), and the idea of going to a party and facing people would give me a terrible fright, to the extent that I would spend all my weekends under house arrest, at the age of 23!
And that’s precisely when I decided to change things. At the risk of sounding like the epitome of clichés, I would say that it wasn’t an easy journey. Anxiety is more than a feeling; it is the insidious condition that takes over your life completely. So, the treatment of anxiety isn’t just about popping some pills and undergoing counselling. It is about making lifestyle changes, and experiencing the difference it makes, sometimes in real time, sometimes a little later, but the lesson is to hang in there. And since your dietary habits are very much a part of your lifestyle, today I’m going to tell you about the 5 food habits that can significantly reduce your anxiety:
1. Welcoming complex carbohydrates
You know the calm, blissful feeling that comes after a big meal? That feeling is due to a serotonin release in our brain, which, in turn, is induced by the carbohydrates we eat. Choose complex carbohydrates as present in whole wheat bread, oats, sweet potatoes et cetera for natural calming vibes.
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2. Avoiding alcohol
Alcohol is a depressant, and if you’re having a few drinks just to calm your nerves, then it is only going to make it worse. Plus, it disrupts your sleep, which means more anxiety the next day.
3. Focussing on proteins for breakfast
Proteins (like in egg, yoghurt, cottage cheese etc.) take more time to digest, and keep your tummy full for longer. They also keep your sugar, hormones, and energy levels stable, thus reducing anxious feelings.
4. Unloving caffeine
Caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee, colas et cetera are known to fire up the nerves, and though that is a good thing when you’re feeling low occasionally, it can mean more trouble for people with anxiety issues. Caffeine binds to nerve cells, increasing brain activity. It also amplifies dopamine release, and the combination of the two effects trigger anxiety. Bring down caffeine consumption to a maximum of 2 cups (250 ml each) a day.
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5. Cutting yourself some slack
A preoccupation with food, as seen in people who restrict their food intake because of a diet or an eating disorder, takes a great toll on mental health, causing even more anxiety. If you really want to bring down your calorie intake, consider making diet improvements gradually. Remember, quality matters more than quantity. Stop calorie counting, because what you eat matters more than how much you eat. So chill out!
Image source: https://www.helpguide.org/
I know that sometimes, a day of anxiety can be more exhausting than a week of hard labour! And you are not alone in feeling it, believe me. Just remember to never let it get in the way of you and your smile. You’ll be all right!