Stress and anxiety are some of the most common mental disorders among young people and adults. And while most people are aware of the external factors that cause stress and anxiety like family, work, and so on, they tend to overlook other internal factors that impact mental wellness all the same. Most people don’t even know that eating well contributes highly to their mental health and wellness.
What you put into your body contributes to the stress and anxiety you have been struggling with. As you work on your external stressors, you should also be working on yourself inside out.
How Does Stress Affect the Body?
First, you need to understand how stress affects the body. This is because stress is responsible for setting off different biological responses.
For starters, stress can increase blood pressure and blood sugar in the body. If left unmanaged this can lead to detrimental effects that go beyond your mental health. Also, stress can result to the release of cortisol and adrenaline, which are stress hormones, and this can skyrocket the stress levels.
Finally, stress may also lead to rapid heart beat. An increased heart rate may lead to anxiety, and in some cases the effects may be severe.
All these outcomes affect you emotional and mental state, and it may escalate if not given enough attention.
How Eating Right Can Help
Eating right goes a long way to helping you overcome stress and anxiety. Different foods have different effects on your mental health, and embracing a balanced diet can help you achieve it. It does not combat stress directly, but it helps to control the psychological changes that are as a result of stress.
For instance, stress has a negative impact on blood flow and pressure, but healthy foods rich in nutrients can help regulate the unbalanced blood flow. Also, anxiety symptoms may become better if you reduce your sugar intake.
So, how do you ensure you eat right and keep the stress and anxiety away?
Don’t Skip Any Meal
Feeding your body also translates to feeding your mental health, because the two are related in a way or the other. Remember the saying that goes, “A hungry man is an angry man”? This shows an interrelationship between food and emotions. It also applies the same for your mental health, so when you are not eating well, you are depriving it of nutrients.
When undergoing stress, you might forget about yourself and end up skipping meals. This results to slow metabolism, and a stressed-out body state. If you have a problem deciding what to eat, create a diet plan to help you stick to all your daily meals.
Also, ensure to eat balanced diets so as to nourish your general health and to ensure that the body is feeding on all the required nutrients.
Avoid Emotional Eating and Cut Caffeine
Coffee and teas are major stimulants which can increase the amount of stress hormones in the body. Gradually reducing your caffeine intake can positively impact your mental health by reducing stress. While you don’t necessarily have to cut off caffeine completely, reducing intake from every day or two or three times a day to twice or thrice a week can have a major impact.
When stressed or anxious, some people respond by emotional eating. This may worsen worsen the condition because there is no enough blood flow in the digestive system when you are stressed.
If you enjoy occasional snacks, make sure that these snacks are healthy and don’t throw you off track. Replace the highly refined foods and snacks with healthy ones that will help balance your blood sugar levels.
When going through a stressful period, try meditation to help you calm down and exercise because it helps the body to release happy hormones.
Eating well is a simple yet effective way of relieving stress and anxiety, while boosting your general mental health and wellness. Start by eliminating the unhealthy foods in your fridge and replace them with nutritious ones.
In addition to eating well, ensure to integrate the new diet with other wellness approaches like a good sleep hygiene, mindfulness, talk therapy, and stress relief. Prioritize yourself, eat right, develop a self care routine, and you will be on your way to cutting of stress as well as anxiety.