Stress and anxiety can be found just about everywhere. These mental conditions thrive in the workplace, at home, and at school. Stress leads to anxiety, and anxiety can lead to depression, if not handled properly. According to the American Institute of Stress, stress is the basic cause of 60% of all human illness and disease, including heart disease. Stress and anxiety are not just “disorders”, but diseases themselves.
People often rely on medications to treat their anxiety. While most believe that these pills will cure them, they do not realize that they, like most drugs, only provide temporary relief. It is important that people who are adversely affected by these diseases understand the safety and effectiveness of anti-anxiety drugs and how they affect your body in short and long term. I have been affected by stress and anxiety immensely but have never turned to medications to help me cope with the indisputable symptoms. Instead, I turn to the Earth’s natural medicine to feed-off the disease, nutrition.
When people are stressed, they tend to overeat and eat unhealthy foods to calm themselves down. These foods high in saturated fat, trans fat and sugar may help temporarily stimulate your central nervous system, but they will soon leave you crashing and craving more. Following a balanced, healthy diet is the most effective way to eliminate and beat stress. The healthier your diet, the lower your stress levels will be. Following some of nutrition tips has helped me lower my stress and anxiety levels, leaving me feeling happier and healthier. Use food as a stimulant to improve your mental health and mood:
- Amino acids like Tryptophan are linked precursors to serotonin, which is a calming neurotransmitter. Make a turkey or chicken sandwich with cheese on whole wheat bread, snack on a variety of unsalted nuts or have spread peanut butter on a banana. All of these food sources will leave you and your mind calm, cool and collected.
- Vitamin B, especially Thiamin (B1) and Niacin are known to calm your anxious jitters and has been shown to reduce depression. To get more of this feel-good vitamin incorporate leafy greens into your day along with chicken. Start your day with citrus fruit, nuts or eggs to feel the stress relief first thing in the morning.
- One of my favorite happy foods is Salmon! Salmon along with other omega-3 fatty fish, like tuna, will leave you upbeat and smiling. The EPA and DHA associated with omega-3 fatty acids act as antidepressants and you will be eating to reduce your risk of heart disease as well.
- Foods high in Protein stimulate the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. High amounts of these neurotransmitters improve energy, alertness and reaction time. For the ultimate brain boosting power mix foods high in protein with your complex carbohydrates throughout the day. Greek yogurt with nuts, whole grain pasta with chicken and vegetables, and egg whites on toast are just a few of the many possibilities for a lively brain.
When it comes to reducing and managing stress and anxiety, an overall balanced diet is the best way to stay worry-free. Regular exercise along with sufficient sleep will also help you beat stress and stay tranquil as the day goes on. Eating whole, real foods will keep you from crashing throughout the day and after a few days of mindful eating; I guarantee you will feel less stressed and less anxious. Using nature as medicine instead of medication is the most natural and best way to maintain exemplary mental and physical health.
Fuel your body with the right nutrients and your mind will repay you with the right attitude. Work hard, be humble and do less with more focus.