We are aware that when we eat healthily, it benefits not just our physical health but mental health as well. People may experience disagreeable reactions to certain foods which may lead to mood changes and can also result in irritability and anxiety. Anxiety management and diet are closely linked. Though no diet changes can cure anxiety, being aware of what you eat can help.
It’s time to understand how our emotional health and emotional well-being determine the food choices we make. It’s difficult for many of us to resist the temptation of chocolate cakes, chips or noodles. Additionally, it becomes even more challenging to stay away from these kinds of foods when we are upset, having a hard day at work or when we are feeling unwell or emotionally drained.
More often than not, we don’t even realize that our emotional state determines the food choices we make and the food we reach out to when we are disturbed or troubled by something. The connection between our food choices and our emotional state can date back to our childhood. Most children are ‘bribed’ with chocolates or sweets to make them ‘feel better’ when you are sad or get hurt.
The connections we form during our childhood go a long way and only get stronger as we grow up. Therefore, whenever we experience a bad day or get emotionally sad, we reach out to those so-called comfort foods. They help us feel satisfied and provide warmth, happiness and security. These feelings are temporary, we need to disassociate these connections by not choosing foods based on how we feel, mood swings and the kind of day we are having.
Temporary comfort foods which we yearn for during stressful and taxing times can lead to bad health in the future. It can become a vicious cycle, because every time U R upset, you will crave junk food. When you indulge in these foods, it makes U unhealthy. This association will carry on and becomes very difficult to break free from. But this doesn’t mean that you should not enjoy a piece of cake or ice cream. Indulge, but only because you enjoy eating or because you want to. Don’t decide to indulge in comfort food just because you feel a bit low or sad.
Foods need to be enjoyed and should not be something you turn to when you’re sad or upset. Be mindful of your food choices irrespective of how you’re feeling – whether happy, sad or even when shopping for groceries. Eat with mindfulness and awareness to break the incorrect connections you have with UR emotional state and comfort foods. Doing this will help you create a healthier relationship with food. While eating healthier and wholesome foods is important for overall health, certain types of food help in dealing with stress and anxiety.
Foods that can help deal with anxiety & stress
Oatmeal: A rich source of fiber, magnesium and B vitamins. Oats helps lower the stress hormone cortisol. Try oats upma or oat pancakes.
Green leafy vegetables: Full of vitamin A & antioxidants, these foods help combat free radicals. They include spinach, kale, collard greens, beet greens etc. who knew that palak paneer or saag could help beat anxiety.
Fruits rich in vitamin C: Blueberries, oranges, lemons etc. lemon juice or berry smoothies are absolutely perfect for that much needed boost.
Essential fatty acids: Nuts, seeds and avocados. Nut butters, seed munchies are a good replacement for starchy snacks.
All the above foods are very important to help us to deal with stress and anxiety effectively. A drink that can work wonders is a plain glass of warm milk. It could be nut milk or regular cow’s milk with a dash of Kesar and Haldi. It is best to drink this at night as it’s very calming and can help you to sleep like a baby! Make sure to include all of these foods to help fight stress and anxiety.
Dietary changes that can help manage anxiety & soothe UR mind
Eat a protein-rich breakfast. Doing this will steady your blood sugar and keep you energized throughout the day.
Include complex carbs in UR diet. These foods can help calm you down as more serotonin is produced in your brain when you eat complex carbs. Ensure you eat foods like whole-grain cereals, oatmeal, quinoa etc.
Avoid simple carbohydrates like sugary drinks and foods with excess sugar.
Stay hydrated: Your mood can be affected even if you are mildly dehydrated.
Don’t drink too much coffee: The caffeine in coffee can make you feel nervous and jittery. It will also disturb UR sleep patterns.
Be aware of the foods that affect you: Some foods can cause physical reactions in your body, including altered mood, irritability and anxiety.
Have balanced meals and eat only healthy foods. Include a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet and eat small portions – don’t overindulge.
Include omega-3 fatty acid in UR daily diet such as walnuts, flaxseeds, salmon, soyabean, canola oil, etc.
The way U deal with anxiety is in UR hands.