What we eat and how has a big impact on our mental health and energy. Of course this is not the direct cause of our stress, anxiety, depression, but some foods can increase anxiety levels while others can provide a sense of calm and help you cope better.
What to avoid :
- Sugar a real rollercoaster ride for our brains; after the sugar high, brace for the sugar low two or three hours later. Artificial sweeteners are no better.
- Caffeine(coffee, strong teas, energy drinks, soda): it is a stimulant that increases stress and anxiety levels without properly hydrating.
- Alcohol: it dehydrates, promotes stress and mood swings, disturbs sleep.
- Hydrogenated and/or trans fatsindustrial baked goods, chips, fried foods, etc. provide calories with virtually no nutritional value and without essential elements for proper brain function.
- Foods high in salt : excess salt, present in all food preparations in addition to added salt, causes inflammation, upsets ionic balances, disrupts our neurological system.
What to favour :
- Antioxidants colorful fruits and vegetables contribute to the health of our cells, including those of our brain.
- Complex starches: unrefined whole grains (brown rice, spelt flour, whole wheat bread, oatmeal) have a rather stabilising effect and stimulate the production of serotonin, a vital neurotransmitter which, when not in balance, often leads to depression and anxiety.
- Vitamins and minerals :
- B vitamins (legumes, nuts and greens for vitamin B9, dairy, meat and fish for vitamin B12)
- Vitamin D (milk, oily fish, eggs).
- Selenium (legumes, lean meats, nuts, seeds, seafood).
- Magnesium (turnip greens, beet greens, chard, cabbage, broccoli, romaine lettuce, spinach, avocado, quinoa)
- Omega-3s: omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) (salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines) can be motivating and mood-enhancing.
- Plants and spices:
- Camomile: contains high amounts of antioxidants and can help reduce anxiety, among other things.
- Turmeric: Turmeric has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, and may stimulate the synthesis of the omega 3 DHA.
- Green tea: it contains L-theanine, which has positive effects on brain health and anxiety reduction. It also contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant.
- Dark chocolatedark chocolate contains antioxidants (flavonols) and increases serotonin levels, which can help reduce stress that leads to anxiety. Its consumption should be moderate as it is high in calories and sugar and it is easy to eat too much.