According to research results, some products calm the nervous system, help to relax and relieve anxiety, while others, on the contrary, give strength and tone. This means that dietary adjustments play an important role in alleviating stress.
What to eat during stress to reduce anxiety?
Amino acids, B vitamins, omega-3s, protein – all these substances help to cope with strong feelings. In products that reduce anxiety and stress, they are found in large quantities.
- Turkey, chicken, bananas – L– tryptophan.
L-tryptophan is an amino acid involved in protein metabolism. It is also needed for the production of serotonin (hormone of joy), melatonin (hormone of sleep), choline – a natural antidepressant.
Products containing L-tryptophan have a calming effect and improve mood.
There is a lot of this amino acid not only in poultry and bananas – it is found in chickpeas, cheese, oatmeal, milk, nuts, sesame seeds.
- Beef – vitamins of the group B.
Vitamin B1 has a positive effect on mood, and a lack of B9 (folic acid) or B12 leads to depression. To get rid of anxiety, eat red meat (pork, beef), chicken, eggs, nuts. There are other foods that relieve stress and anxiety and are rich in B vitamins, such as lettuce, oranges, rice.
- Whole grain bread – slow carbohydrates.
In order for the brain to produce serotonin, carbohydrates are needed. However, for this it is better not to use sweets or starchy sweets, which provide fast carbohydrates. On the contrary, you need to concentrate on slow carbohydrates, which are abundant in whole grain bread, brown rice. The fact is that whole grains are digested slowly – sugar enters the bloodstream just as slowly. If you eat a candy, then the sugar level will rise quickly – you will feel a surge of strength. True, then the level of insulin will increase – the level of sugar in the blood will fall, and you will begin to feel tired.
- Oily fish is omega-3.
Omega-3 fatty acids improve mood. They restore the integrity of brain cells, which is important for the performance of mental functions. According to studies, patients who took omega-3 along with antidepressants felt much better than those who received only drug therapy.
Therefore, in order to alleviate the condition during stress, nutrition should include the use of salmon, herring, tuna. A lot of omega-3 in sardines, anchovies.
- Greek yogurt is protein.
Protein is needed for many processes in the brain. For example, with its participation, norepinephrine and dopamine are produced, which are responsible for the transmission of impulses between cells. If there is enough norepinephrine and dopamine in the body, a person easily concentrates and retains attention, feels a surge of strength, and can do mental work for a long time.
The source of protein is not only Greek yogurt, but also cottage cheese, eggs. A lot of it in fish, meat, cheese, soy, lentils.
According to scientists, proper nutrition for stress and anxiety should combine protein with complex carbohydrates.
In addition, experts recommend introducing cruciferous vegetables (rich in fiber, which normalizes the intestinal microflora), turmeric and black pepper into home cooking. You can please yourself with a slice of dark chocolate: it contains a lot of magnesium (with a magnesium deficiency, an increase in the level of anxiety is noted). And at night you can drink chamomile tea (chamomile is known for its soothing properties).
How not to eat when stressed?
Some people are used to “seizing” stress – and for this, products are most often used that allow you to quickly get energy and pleasure. These are sweets and other sweets, fast food. Other people, on the contrary, refuse food, preferring coffee and energy drinks. Both options will not help, but they will definitely aggravate the condition. What should be given up?
Caffeine, of course, helps to cheer up, but it lowers the level of serotonin – hence increased irritability, depressive mood. In addition, caffeine can cause dehydration. It has diuretic properties, which means it forces you to go to the toilet more often. And dehydration contributes to increased anxiety.
Therefore, it is worth limiting the consumption of coffee and other drinks with a high content of caffeine (strong tea, hot chocolate, Coca-Cola, energy drinks).
According to studies, if the body receives less than 100 mg of caffeine per day (that’s 2 cups of espresso), then you should not worry about an increase in anxiety levels. But if you drink more than 4 cups of coffee, then this is a reason to think.
- Fast carbs.
As we already know, fast carbohydrates instantly give strength, but then a period of severe fatigue and depression sets in. Therefore, sweets, honey, soda, cakes, buns, cookies, pastries are not the best companions for increased anxiety.
Everyone knows that you can not “wash down” stress: it brings only temporary relief. The fact is that alcohol is a depressant, which means that it will not be able to solve the main task – to get rid of depressive moods, anxiety, panic. In addition, it, like caffeine, has diuretic properties, which means it contributes to dehydration.
In hot dogs, sausages in dough, donuts, hamburgers, semi-finished products, there are a lot of not only fast carbohydrates, but also fat. During the experiment, London researchers proved that people who actively consume fatty foods have a 58% higher risk of developing depression than those who adhere to proper nutrition and receive “good” fats (for example, from fish, avocados, nuts).
Please note that it is not enough to choose products for depression and anxiety – you also need to follow the rules of nutrition. So, experts recommend eating only when you feel hungry, not overeating and avoiding long periods of fasting. Choose healthy foods and avoid rigid diets that only increase anxiety. Do not forget about compliance with the drinking regime (it is important to drink water, not tea or coffee).