Most of us will have felt anxious and depressed at times in the past. For people who had anxiety and depression before Covid-19, these will be going through the roof. Most people don’t think of food as being of help but it does. I’ve been there.
During the pandemic, it’s so tempting to overeat and drink more alcohol than usual, especially if we’re staying at home. But now is the time, more than ever, to look after ourselves not only to prevent getting the virus but also for our mental health.
Any stress on our body and mind will reduce our immunity as well as reducing our capacity to deal with our mental health. Nutrients such as Vitamin C and zinc are depleted in people who suffer from chronic stress. These nutrients are really important for our immunity. Here are my top 5 foods to boost your immunity https://www.wholefoodnutrition.com.au/my-top-5-nutrient-boosting-foods-to-improve-your-immunity/
If you’ve been putting off doing something about your eating habits, now is the time.
- Eat protein with every meal
Protein, also known as amino acids are essential for the production of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals). Serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’ is a well-known one. Protein also keeps you full for longer and avoids those blood sugar dips which can contribute to anxiety and depression.
Foods: lean red and white meat, fish, tofu, oats, nuts, seeds, eggs, wholegrains, dairy, legumes
- Eat regularly
This means breakfast, lunch, dinner with snacks in-between (depending on your physical activity). Every couple of hours. If this sounds too challenging, eat smaller portions. By eating regularly, you’ll be balancing your blood sugar levels which will make you calmer and less anxious.
- Reduce/cut out caffeine and energy drinks
Caffeine is stimulating, therefore, increasing your anxiety. If the thought of reducing or cutting out caffeine is too daunting, reduce it gradually. For example, if you have 3 coffees each day, have 2 coffees each day for a week and the following week, have 1 coffee each day. Cold turkey doesn’t always work!
- Stop eating sugar
I know what you’re thinking, ‘No way am I cutting out sugar!’ There are too many reasons to list here as to why sugar is harmful but in terms of anxiety, here goes:
Blood sugar balance – as mentioned previously, keeping blood sugar levels balanced is essential. When you eat refined sugar, your blood sugar is like a rollercoaster and when that rollercoaster falls, you feel irritable, anxious and nervous. You also want to eat more, right? Refined sugar has no nutrients except for glucose which you need for energy but that energy is short-lived. Again, you experience energy dips. Next time you eat sugar, monitor how you feel. Yes, you get a quick burst of euphoria but then you feel rubbish again when the rollercoaster falls.
- Food sensitivities
Do you react to different foods but not sure which foods are causing those niggly symptoms? Food sensitivities cause even more inflammation in your gut and brain which you don’t need when anxious. The gut brain connection is here https://www.wholefoodnutrition.com.au/the-gut-the-mind-it-goes-hand-in-hand/ Certain foods and drink that you consume can cause a reaction, which ultimately affect your brain and the way you think. Not sure which foods/drinks? Find out more at https://www.wholefoodnutrition.com.au/product/compatibility-program/