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Thursday, July 20, 2017

De-Stressing Your Diet

In spite of the so-called conveniences of our technophilic world, we seem to be more stressed out and suffer more anxiety, fear, depression and unhappiness.  Often people use food to medicate the negative symptoms of our hectic lifestyles instead of using food to prevent and blunt the effects of stress in our constantly hyped-up lives.

Here are healthful tips to de-stress your diet:

  1. Limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine.  

    There may be a short-term calming or boosting of energy, but both substances leave you altered, edgy, nervous and interfere with sleep.  Cutting those substances out of your routine may take a little patience and determination, but the benefits of a more stable mood and energy level will make a huge impact in your ability to cope with and reduce stressors. If you're looking for a bit more motivation to cut the caffeine, keep in mind that when your body eliminates caffeine from your system, your serotonin levels take a big dive.  Caffeine also blocks certain chemical pathways needed to make serotonin, so the more caffeine you consume, the less your body can produce it's own serotonin. In a nutshell, dependence of any kind means stress - chemically and mentally.  
  2. Balancing your diet with some protein, some complex carbohydrates and a generous amount of fruits and veggies will reduce stress on many levels.
     Firstly, your body will have enough nutrients for optimal metabolism and healing and overall health.  Secondly, a high-plant, low-processed diet naturally leads to a healthier weight, lower blood pressure and less mental stress over your body and health.  
  3. Don't fear carbs.  
    The macro and other popular diet crazes lead some people to strictly limit or eliminate carbohydrates.  While it's good to limit the amount of refined flours and sugars, remember that not all carbohydrates are created equal.  Your body and your mind run on the preferred fuel of carbohydrates, so having adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates is essential to maintaining not only your energy and feeling satisfied at meals, but also is needed in the production of more stable levels of serotonin (as opposed to the peak and crash serotonin mode that comes from downing sugar). 
  4. Consider probiotic-rich foods.  Not only is there some evidence of a link between probiotics and lower anxiety, but the majority of the serotonin receptors are found in the gut, so a happy gut means a happier you all the way around.  
Don't forget to slow down, enjoy and find satisfaction when you eat.  Mindful eating ensures that you have a pleasant, relaxing, stress-relieving breaks multiple times throughout the day.  

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