If you’re someone that has suffered with anxiety, then you’ll know how turbulent it can be. Anxiety for me was a side effect of depression. Depression stripped me of my confidence to even step foot out the house, and then anxiety crept in and suddenly it became a gripping fear instead.
While, like depression, there’s no magic wand that can banish anxiety (otherwise the world would be all unicorns and sparkle for a lot more of us, right?) there are lifestyle factors you can change, as well as natural supplements that can help improve your outlook. The first step of the day? Breakfast. Try to eat something protein-rich as this will help you not only feel fuller for longer, but it will keep your blood sugar at a steady level, giving you a real boost of energy to kickstart your day.
For lunch or dinner, eat complex carbs, including green vegetables and such whole grains as oatmeal, pasta, quinoa and whole-grain breads. Starchy foods like sweet potatoes and pumpkin are also good choices and offer not only satiety but also mood-boosting phytochemicals. Eating a meal with these foods helps increase the amount of serotonin in your brain, which has a calming effect on our body.
Try to fuel your body with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables as they are vital for physical and mental health. Also be aware of food sensitivities. It’s likely that some foods you eat are the cause of irritability and anxiety, and may be causing a huge shift in mood, so try to discover which foods trigger you and eliminate them. A lot of people are sensitive to the additives in prepared food, which is why you should try to make your food from scratch. This way you have full control over what goes onto your plate and into your body.
Hydration is crucial. But many people don’t realize just how unsettling even mild dehydration can be for our mood. Dehydration can make you feel tired even when you’re well rested. Also try to avoid alcohol. While many of us find the immediate effect of drinking alcohol comforting and calming, it won’t last and you may end up feeling worse then before. As the effects wear off, you’ll be left feeling on edge and it may also interfere with sleep, which isn’t healthy in the long run. In addition to the foods you should eat, there are foods you shouldn’t eat.
Foods to avoid: Tofu, whole-wheat bread, processed foods, canned foods, apple juice, caffeine and red wine.
Foods to eat: Fatty fish, eggs, leafy greens, legumes, nuts, citrus fruits, rice, turmeric, avocado, asparagus, sweetcorn, chamomile and rooibos tea.
Now we make it easy for you, by giving you a couple of comfort food recipes to help you ease your anxiety both mentally and physically.
1. Lavender Lemonade
Lavender is calming, so if you’re feeling anxious this beverage will hopefully give you a little breathing room. The tart lemon combined with sweet honey creates a refreshing drink that feels like much-needed TLC.
Get the recipe here.
2. Fabulous Fish Pie
Fish pie feels like a real throwback to my childhood when home-cooked meals were something you got placed in front of you every night. Even now, I sometimes crave an indulgent and delicious dinner. So when that mood strikes, this fish pie is a really easy dish to whip up, plus its bursting with ingredients like sweet potatoes, that help alleviate anxiety.
Get the recipe here.
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