Can You Eat Your Way To A More Relaxed State Of Mind?

Stress eating is something we all go through. But rather than satiating unhealthy cravings, you can relieve stress with the right nutrients.

The Covid-19 pandemic has upturned the way we work, live and play. Most of us are spending more time at home than ever, whether we are working, keeping house or caring for loved ones. 

In an ideal world, all this time at home should translate to better, healthier home cooked meals. Instead, we are busier with remote working arrangements, and continue to struggle with managing our time.

There are four reasons for this:

  • even while home, our work must continue;
  • we experience diminished boundaries as family time becomes intertwined with work time;
  • there are space constraints or non-conducive work spaces; and 
  • we have fewer choices when it comes to social company.

This has in turn affected how we eat — where we get our food from, how it is prepared, and how we consume it. Due to movement restrictions and continued work-from-home recommendations, food deliveries have spiked. 

Understandably most of us chose convenience to get through this period of adjustment, with healthy choices taking a backseat.

Treats like chocolates, chips and sweet drinks help us feel better momentarily, but these foods can worsen the anxiety and stress we feel. Consuming large amounts of added, processed sugars can result in spikes and inevitable crashes in energy levels, affecting alertness and productivity. 

Caffeine from coffee or tea might be the antidote to sleep-deprivation, but a study found that too much of it can intensify feelings of anxiety. Caffeine can elevate blood pressure and plasma norepinephrine levels at rest, resulting in significantly raised levels of stress.

On the flip side, some foods can help your body deal with new pressures. Research has shown that eating lots of fruits and vegetables not only has a positive impact on your physical health, but can do wonders for mental health too. Foods rich in probiotics, like yogurt and other fermented foods, that contribute to gut health and increased serotonin levels, can help enhance moods.

There are several nutrients you can choose from depending on your most immediate needs, your age and your lifestyle. There is no single fix for stress. Please speak with your doctor if you have any concerns about stress management.



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