I wrote this post originally at the start of lockdown 1.0 as we enter into lockdown 3.0 I think being aware of our mental health and using our nutrition to help us is even more important. So if you have read this before and found yourself here again maybe there is something here that you need to hear again so please read on…..
However good your mental health and stress levels were before entering isolation I think most people are struggling on some level – even if it’s just the fact that you are out of your normal routine this make you feel uncomfortable. Add in the fact that the people you would usually vent too aren’t so freely available at the moment can means that you are trying to deal with some of these feeling alone!
I’m not an expert in mental health but simple dietary adjustments can help us to deal with stress and anxiety more effectively. Here are my 5 top tips on how to eat to help to keep your head right –
Balance your blood sugar – an oldie but a goodie. In nutrition if you don’t know where to start this is the place. Blood sugar fluctuations can be caused by high sugar foods, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and eating too frequently. Stress can also cause elevations in blood glucose and the subsequent blood sugar drop cause a release of stress hormones as the body scrambles to manage your blood sugar level. Easy steps to balance your blood sugar – eat 3 meals per day (stay out of the fridge), base all meals around protein and avoid drinking your calories whether that is in the form of fizzy drinks or alcohol these are often consumed away from food leading to increased blood sugar levels.
Eat your essential fats; essential because without them your brain can’t function efficiently, you will struggle to absorb certain vitamins and minerals and your hormone production will be impacted. What are your essential fat foods – oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil aim to include at least one of these foods daily.
Eat your veggies!!! At every meal include ½ a plate of veggies. Aim to include leafy greens such as kale, spinach and chard daily. These leafy powerhouses contain magnesium which support better sleep, relaxation both mentally and physically furthermore; low magnesium is associated with increased levels of anxiety.
Eat a portion of berries everyday – their bright pigment is proof of their high antioxidant content. These antioxidants have been shown to reduce the symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.
Look after your gut bacteria; your gut bacteria can speak directly to your brain if they are unhappy so are you. Feeding them on a diet rich in plant foods and low in sugar and alcohol enables them to grow and thrive. Add in some fermented foods and they will be as happy as Larry (whoever Larry is!!).
I hope you found this helpful and I wish you the best of luck during this crazy times!!