Do you experience stress or anxiety? You’re not alone! Your body is responding to several different stimuli. For example, the chemicals released by your brain when you’re feeling stressed out can lead to physical symptoms like shakiness and difficulty sleeping. This makes it hard to think clearly and stay energized – two crucial things for maintaining mental wellness. If you often feel this way, it’s vital that you understand the natural response your body has to stress and how nutrition can be used as a weapon against anxiety.
Living with anxiety is understandably difficult, but by understanding how your body reacts to stress you can manage your anxiety to help it become less of a problem. This article will cover the benefits of eating for someone who suffers from stress and anxiety, as well as some tips for ways you can introduce foods that are relatively stress-free.
What are Stress & Anxiety?
Stress is “the sum total of all the physical and psychological reactions your body has to any situation or external source that threatens its normal functioning.”
- Stress isn’t always insufficient – physical exercise, feeling loved and having a healthy social life often trigger positive stress responses in which our bodies release hormones like adrenaline. For example, your body releases more adrenaline when you’re about to say “I do” during your wedding or while waiting for a plane.
- But when stress is caused by something negative like anxiety, it has become an insidious problem because the effect on the body can be similar but much more severe.
- There are many causes of stress, but the majority are emotional.
Anxiety is an emotional state arising from our perception that we are faced with danger or uncertainty or that time is short.
- It results in how the brain responds to potential risks and produces physical symptoms similar to what’s experienced during stress.
- It is something that affects millions of people worldwide, especially people who are sensitive to stressful situations.
- Common anxiety symptoms include trembling, irritability, fatigue, insomnia, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations.
When stress becomes overwhelming, it can lead to anxiety. When this happens, your body goes into a “fight or flight” response – resulting in physical symptoms like increased heart rate and blood pressure. Over time, this can have profound health implications because the body is not meant to experience these kinds of responses for extended periods. As a result, millions of people are now experiencing physical symptoms and mental impairments that they may be able to manage if their mental health was addressed at the source – with diet.
The Role of Nutrition in Mental Wellness
Mental health is a complex concept, and anxiety is the most common mental health issue men and women face in the United States today. It’s a problem that affects more than just a few people and one that can have a powerful impact on our physical and emotional well-being. Luckily, there are some things you can do today to help reduce your anxiety symptoms – including eating healthier.
- The most crucial strategy for improving overall mental wellness is how different foods affect you emotionally and physically. Many foods can support your body’s response to stress, like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fish, while others can exacerbate it like processed foods or excess sugar.
- A critical facet of diet has to do with the type of food you eat. For those experiencing anxiety, eating lighter foods and avoiding processed foods could be the best ways to help control and reduce emotional fluctuations.
- You could also eat more often and avoid junk food which can trigger anxiety and low energy.
- The bottom line is that it would be wise to center your diet around naturally nutritious foods if you’re trying to reduce stress and anxiety symptoms.
Eliminating Anxiety Symptoms With Food
Sometimes we aren’t aware that what we’re eating causes us stress or anxiety until we’ve already experienced the effects on our bodies. Like many other issues, the key is to listen to your body and see if changes to your diet can help you feel better. If you experience anxiety, there could be several culprits that are putting undue stress on your body. Some of these include:
- Anxiety-producing foods: Many processed foods contain ingredients like sugar and caffeine that can trigger feelings of worry or interfere with sleep. High-sodium foods may also exacerbate feelings of stress or cause headaches.
- Anxiety-causing stress: Stress can cause your body to hold on to extra water, making you feel fuller and more bloated. Other sources of focus may include being rushed each day or too much physical activity, resulting in uncomfortable bloating.
- Anxiety contributing medications: Some medications like antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and tranquilizers may lead to side effects like weight gain and mood changes which can exacerbate stress naturally.
What about Food Delivery Services?
Food delivery services deliver high-quality, freshly made meals right to your door. Yes, it’s a healthy way of eating, but you’re still taking the mindset that convenience trumps quality.
A lot of people ask me if they should start eating faster food delivery. And the truth is: yes! You should eat more immediate food delivery because it’s very convenient and many people don’t have time to cook healthy meals every day. I’ve tried Dinnerly in the past as an example, and I liked it because the meals were delicious, nutritious, quick to order online, and arrived fresh. It’s just very convenient.
When we go shopping, most people do not think about what we’re going for with our purchases, and we just need something that will satisfy us and find tasty and satisfying in most cases.
The key is to look at what you’re eating and how much you’re sleeping and work on changing those habits if possible. If your nutrition seems to be the primary source of your anxiety, it may be time to make some changes in your diet. It would be wise to follow guidelines for anxiety management with a doctor first since some foods are contraindicated for some people due to health conditions or medication use. Still, many options are available that can help reduce symptoms naturally. Some of the most common food choices helpful for reducing anxiety include:9 Eating smaller meals more often: This can help keep blood sugar levels stable, which can alleviate feelings of worry or agitation.