Focusing on nutrition to help manage stress
As we head into the holiday season, anxiety and stress are two words that are often synonymous with this time of year. Did you know that anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illness in the US according to the Institute of Mental Health? There’s a good chance you did know that, in fact there’s a good chance you or someone you know has struggled with the effects of anxiety given that a whopping 40 million adults experience problems with anxiety, that’s almost ⅕ of the population. Even if you don’t have a chronic or diagnosable anxiety disorder, many adults experience situational or temporary anxiety that may include sensations of excessive worrying, feeling agitated or restlessness, fatigue or trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, or feeling irrationally fearful. There is increasing evidence to suggest that anxiety may be linked to our gut microbiota, which means that what you eat can have a strong effect on the anxiety symptoms you experience. These studies are in the beginning stages, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety. Luckily, many of the suggested nutritional focuses for helping with anxiety is also the general guidelines for a healthy lifestyle, so trying them out is worth a try. Here are some nutrients currently being studied for their effect on anxiety:
- Vitamin C: Consuming foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges and other citrus fruits, can reduce stress and boost the immune system. Intake of this vitamin can help lower the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and blood pressure during high-anxiety situations. Try a Yogo Parfait for a dose of vitamin C.
- Complex Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can induce the brain to increase serotonin production and stabilizing blood pressure as a way to reduce stress. Try a complex carbohydrate rich meal such as our Ancient Grain Bowl.
- Magnesium: Getting an adequate amount of magnesium can help reduce headaches and fatigue. Additionally, increased magnesium intake has been found to improve sleep quality in older adults. Healthy sources of magnesium include spinach or other leafy greens, salmon, and soybeans. Try one of Eat Fit Go’s salads to get in those leafy greens!
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna) and nuts and seeds (such as flaxseeds, pistachios, walnuts, and almonds) are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce surges of stress hormones, depression, and premenstrual syndrome. Try our Teriyaki Salmon or Salmon with Dill Sauce for dinner tonight to get in those Omega-3’s!
What you don’t put in your body can be equally important to what you put in your body when it comes to symptom reduction. There are a few foods you can try to reduce or eliminate to help reduce anxiety symptoms.
- Alcohol – affects the level of serotonin in the brain.
- Dairy – can affect the digestive system.
- Soda – refined sugar plus caffeine – stimulant, triggers body’s fight or flight response. Can cause light headedness, jitteriness, nauseous.
- Refined sugar – can cause mood changes and heart palpitations.
- Processed foods – typically contains refined sugar, can affect gut microbiota which affects mental health.
There is increasing evidence that CBD oil my help to reduce anxiety and stress, no matter what time of year it is. Talk to your doctor about how CBD oil can assist with your anxiety symptoms, and head into an Eat Fit Go location near you to try a sample of of CBD oil.