5 Nutrition Tips To Manage Anxiety Better
Anxiety — who hasn’t had more than their fair share over the past two years? Uncertainty remains swirling in the air. It only makes sense to bolster your mental health any way you can.
You can do so through diet modification, regardless of whether you have a diagnosis. Everything you consume affects your physiology, including your body’s ability to make various neurotransmitters and hormones impacting your perceived stress levels. Here are five nutrition tips to make anxiety better.
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Monitor your caffeine intake
Have you ever gotten a bad case of the jitters from too much caffeine? The effect occurs because of the substance’s impact on your nervous system, but interoception — your perception of sensations inside your body — also plays a role. For example, too many cups of coffee send your heart racing, a symptom many people with anxiety associate with panic attacks. You might start to feel your perceived sense of crisis rising along with your pulse.
Does that mean you should have to forego your morning go-juice? You don’t have to — you can still indulge in moderation. Coffee does have several health benefits, including reducing your Alzheimer’s risk and providing an antioxidant boost. Limit your intake to no more than 400 milligrams, or two to three cups per day. Make your last joe-indulgence fall before 3 p.m. if anxiety often keeps you tossing and turning at night. Another option you have for reducing your intake is swapping out your regular cup of joe for green tea. It still contains caffeine, but it’s a much lighter dose than your average cappuccino. Additionally, women who drink green tea tend to live longer than those who don’t, thanks to the huge antioxidant content. Matcha, made from the full tea leaf, is another healthy, low-caffeine option.
Go nutty and get seedy
Switching up your snack choices might be one of the wisest things you can do if you have anxiety. Going from chips to nuts could improve your mental state. These plant-based powerhouses are rich sources of three vital nutrients — magnesium, selenium, and zinc — that correlate to a positive mental state. A single Brazil nut alone contains your entire day’s RDA of selenium. It’s also one of three nuts, along with almonds and cashews, that possess the highest magnesium content. This mineral worked as effectively as a tricyclic antidepressant in one study. If your anxiety comes part and parcel with the blues, it’s time to pick up a tin to snack on at your desk.
Seeds are also sources of these minerals, and they’re a snap to squeeze into your diet. Replace your salad croutons with pepitas or sprinkle some sunflower seeds in your morning parfait. Flax and chia seeds are excellent plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which also help ease anxiety.
Embrace Fish Friday
As mentioned, omega-3s are another nutrient group associated with positive neurological health. Your brain contains high levels of these substances, and insufficient intake might cause mental health disorders. One review of 19 studies discovered a marked decrease in anxiety symptoms among participants taking 2,000 milligrams of omega-3s per day. You can find these magical substances in fatty fish, like salmon and mackerel. If you’re vegetarian, you can also find plenty of omega-3s in nuts and seeds – as mentioned – as well as in avocados, brussels sprouts, tofu, and some healthier oils like canola oil.
Eat the rainbow
Your body needs various antioxidants and phytonutrients to perform at its peak — including your brain. Where do you find these substances? They exist in plant-based foods. Fruits and vegetables contain various vitamins and minerals critical for optimal mental health. Each one has a different profile, but Mother Nature provided a handy color code to help you intake everything you need. Each distinct food hue represents unique phytonutrients, and eating a rainbow ensures you get enough of everything.
Press pause on processed sugars and white flour
Restricting food isn’t many people’s idea of fun — especially if you snack to cope with anxiety. However, making the right choices can avoid unnecessary weight gain and health issues that further ramp up your stress levels. For example, sugar and all-purpose flour exist in many processed snacks and convenience foods — but consuming too much of either can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Both absorb quickly into your bloodstream, causing spikes and crashes that inspire further cravings and overeating.
All-purpose flour is particularly problematic because the manufacturing process creates a chemical byproduct called alloxan. Researchers use this substance to induce diabetes in laboratory animals by destroying the pancreas. Investigate alternative, whole-grain flours. You can also find those based on nuts and chickpeas if you’re worried about your protein intake. When the urge to eat strikes, opt for whole foods as close to their natural form as possible. You might find it impossible to eliminate white sugar and flour from the American diet — but you can minimize your intake.
Nutrition tips to manage anxiety better
Everything you consume affects your total health, including your mental state. Various foods contain nutrients that nurture psychological health, while others include toxins that can upset your hormonal balance and lead to trouble. Follow these nutrition tips to manage anxiety better and experience improved peace of mind.
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