Did you know that you can change the way your body reacts to stress by making some easy changes to your diet?
As well as feeding you, the food you eat feeds the trillions of bacteria that live in your gut. Some studies find regulating gut bacteria via diet can have a positive impact on anxiety symptoms. The amount and types of bacteria in your gut are affected by your diet, and good dietary choices can “communicate calm to the brain”, according to Rangan Chatterjee, medical doctor and author of The Stress Solution.
Fruit and veg
The cheapest and most simple way of giving your gut more ‘good’ bacteria is to eat a wide range of foods. A great way to remember to do this is to ‘eat the rainbow’ - try eating five different coloured fruits and vegetables every day.
Cut the sugar
If you find yourself craving sugar, you’ll probably be well aware of the sugar highs and crashes that come with eating your favourite sweet treat. This journey of ups and downs may have negative side effects, such as lack of concentration and tiredness, which can hinder your ability to cope with stressful situations.
Reduce your caffeine
Positive and negative effects of caffeine on anxiety have been recorded. Most studies are based on research done with people already diagnosed with anxiety, but Medlin says the results can often be applied to people suffering from everyday stress.
Drinking caffeine can affect your sleep, which may impact the way you deal with stress. If drinking or eating caffeine negatively affects you, it’s a good idea to switch to decaf (although do this slowly, as caffeine withdrawals are no joke!).
Limit your alcohol intake
Alcohol may seem to give you temporary stress relief but in the long run, it also increases stress on the body in multiple ways. It affects sleep quality, dehydrates the body and much more. This is because alcohol affects the neurotransmitters in your brain. These are chemicals that send messages from one nerve in your brain to another. Alcohol stops them from working correctly and has a negative impact on your mental health and wellbeing.
If you need help coping with stress, anxiety & depression or any other mental health concerns, don't hesitate to contact me here.