Eating to soothe stress and anxiety is one of the very simplest acts of self-care we can engage in. It may seem strange that food can have an impact on our mental health in this way, but today I'm going to explain why!
Healthy eating is often portrayed as a complicated concept. With so much conflicting expert information available to us, it's easy to become confused and not know how to eat well.
In my opinion, one of the best things to do when it comes to food, is simply to get back to basics. Swapping diets and calorie counting for a more simple approach can do wonders for our health and mindset.
It can be easy to view the food we eat as something that only impacts our physical health and weight — but it is so much more than that!
What we eat influences our energy levels, our mood, our happiness, and so much more. If you aren't fuelling your body with the good stuff, then you may begin to notice that one or more aspects of your health is affected. And, your stress levels and feelings of anxiety are no exception.
Sources Of Stress & Anxiety
There are so many reasons why stress can seep into your everyday life. This could come from your job, your relationships, your family, your finances….literally any number of places. Although it isn't always possible to resolve a stressful situation entirely, there are ways to mitigate the impact it has on your life.
In one of my previous blog posts, I have shared Six Ways To Tackle Stress, and I encourage you to check those tips out!
When it comes to anxiety, this is something you may experience any time for a number of reasons. Anxiety can come present for understandable reasons, but also for irrational ones. We can't always control how our brains respond to a perceived threat or difficult situation, and that's when anxiety can really take hold.
To learn more about anxiety, and how to overcome it, check out my past post on A Natural Approach To Easing Anxiety.
Eating To Soothe Stress & Anxiety
Deliberately including foods in your diet that are going to help alleviate feelings of stress is such a great idea — both for your mental health and overall sense of wellbeing.
Research suggests that eating a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains and lean proteins, can be an effective way to promote feelings of calm.
So, what are some of the very best foods to include?
Brazil nuts are such a fantastic choice when it comes to helping tackle stress.
These tasty nuts are packed full of selenium, which is an antioxidant that will help to lessen inflammation in the body. Chronic stress — stress that is persistent over a long period of time — can actually increase inflammation. This can then lead to a whole host of health problems. Helping to reduce inflammation can in turn help to expel the physical manifestation of stress throughout your body.
Additionally, Brazil nuts are high in vitamin E. A deficiency of this vitamin has been shown to contribute to the onset of depression, which can then make feelings of stress much harder to cope with.
Try to eat two or three Brazil nuts every day to feel the benefits!
No list of stress-busting foods would be complete without dark chocolate.
We most usually think of chocolate as an indulgent treat, but it can also actually be super healthy!
Dark chocolate contains an abundance of polyphenols, which are compounds that can improve the flow of blood to the brain. This type of chocolate is also a rich source of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin — the feel good chemical — in the brain.
When it comes to eating chocolate to soothe stress, moderation is the key. A small serving of just two or three grams is ample, and can be enjoyed as a sweet dessert after dinner.
Adding turmeric into meals and smoothies is a subtle but helpful way to help combat stress and anxiety.
This distinctive spice is believed to help lower oxidative stress and give a boost to those struggling with mood disorders. Studies have shown that it can be of benefit to people who are experiencing anxiety. This is thanks in part to how it can raise levels of DHA — a type of omega-3 that has mood balancing properties.
Just a dash of turmeric in a smoothie or added into a meal each day is a good start. You may also want to check out turmeric supplements to really get a good dose in your diet.
There is such a wide range of healthy herbal teas available, and so many of them have a soothing effect on your stress levels and anxiety.
Great flavors to choose for this purpose are chamomile, lavender, peppermint, lemon balm, and valerian.
Herbal teas are great for tackling inflammation in the body, as well as promoting relaxation and a calm state of mind.
The act of preparing and drinking a herbal tea also doubles up as self-care act, as you are taking this time to nurture and nourish yourself.
Food As Self-Care
When you make a conscious effort to care for your body through the dietary choices you make, then you are showing yourself both self-love and kindness.
Over time, this can be a powerful way to tackle stress and anxiety, as your self-esteem begins to grow.
I hope you will be inspired by the advice I have shared, and will incorporate these tasty treats into your diet regularly.
To help you progress with this concept, I have put together my top ten tips for keeping on top of stress and anxiety.
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