Foods to Help you Feel Better
Foods to help you feel better and reduce anxiety and depression
We are living through unprecedented times. We are cooped up in our home and everyone is out of routine. Worrying about and missing loved for. Financial stress and feeling disconnected from our normal life. It is very easy to slip into depression and have heightened anxiety. This is true for yourself but also those closest to you. It is not easy for anyone.
We don’t have control of what is happening but we can control how we cope. Exercise, food, and beverages can help and this is one area we can control.
We can help ourselves by introducing a few changes to our daily lives. Such as:
- Keep blood sugars stable.
If you are eating starchy and sugary foods where your blood sugars are going high and then quickly crashing. The digestion of starchy and sugary foods such as white bread, pasta, cereals, potatoes, flour products biscuits and chocolates, etc turn into glucose they go straight to your blood and raises blood sugar levels where you feel you are energised after eating the food. But the problem is the blood sugar can go too high the body creates more insulin to bring sugar back down. – the blood sugars will then come down to low and within an hour or 2, you may find you are hungry again with symptoms of anxiety, shakiness and/or tiredness – these symptoms cause you to reach for high sugar snacks, / foods and so the cycle continues. This is also playing havoc with our gut as you are not getting good fibre, key nutrients, and water.
How can we do this?
Your body and mind will perform better when your blood sugars are kept at a constant where it does not fluctuate rapidly.
A few suggestions for meals
- Try to add a whole grain carb and a good source of protein (oats with yoghurt, berries and nuts/seeds or wholegrain bread with eggs). These are slow-release foods that will keep you fuller for longer and not cause the cycle of blood sugar spiking.
- Good quality protein such as chicken, turkey, eggs, fish. Adding a salad with cucumber, rocket, peppers, tomatoes etc.
This one area people fall down. However, if you control the blood sugars for breakfast and lunch this will help should stop the craving for sugary snacks.
- Good quality snacks such as nuts and seeds ( help increase omega 3 and balance blood sugar level)
- Nut butter on rice or oatcake
- Piece of fruit with some nuts
- Yoghurts choose unsweetened and add your fruit to sweeten it.
- If you are looking for chocolate in the evening time a square or 2 of dark chocolate would be a good option
It is a good time to try new recipes and food.
- Eat fish at least twice a week. Especially oily fish – Salmon, Mackeral Tuna and Sardines. All are high in omega 3 that we can only get from foods. Chia seeds and flax seeds are also a source but wouldn’t have the same amount as fish. Omega 3 can help with our brain health especially depression.
- When eating meat use a good quality protein – chicken, lean meat, fish etc. Processed meat does not have the same nutrients.
- Try to add greens to a meal such as spinach, kale, broccoli – They are full of essential vitamins and nutrients. Spinach can easily be added to casseroles, stir fry.
- Use whole grain carbs such as brown rice, pasta and sweet potatoes.
Other things we can do:
- Routine: Your old routine is gone for the moment so let’s try and introduce a new routine. Even just write a list of things you want to do each day and this will help keep you focused.
- Exercise: This will help manage stress and anxiety and aid sleep. There are 1000’s of online workouts you can do from weights to yoga. If that isn’t possible or not something you like try and get out for a walk. It helps if this is part of your daily routine.
- Vitamin D: Over recent weeks there has been a lot of publicity about the benefits of Vit D. Vit D is great for our immunity and also helps with our mood. We are all probably low on this after coming out of the winter. So getting out in the garden and soak up the rays (with sun protection) is a good idea. You can also use a vitamin – the spray is better as it absorbs quickly into your system than a tablet. We need 1000 to 2000 UI per day (just be careful not to overtake).
- Limit Alcohol – it is very easy to reach for the glass of wine to help us relax and switch off. Just be mindful on how much you are drinking and is it having the opposite effect the day after – leaving you moody, irritable and anxious.
- Reduce Caffeine: This can play havoc with our sleep patterns if drank too late in the day and can also increase anxiety. Try reducing caffeine if you feel it is causing issues or switch to Decaf.
- Drink Water: Drink a glass of water before you even get out of bed in the morning, We are at our most dehydrated first thing in the morning. Then aim for a least 2 litres a day. Green and herbal tea can be counted towards it. A good idea is to fill up a 2-litre jug in the morning and aim to finish it by the end of the day.
Remember to treat yourself with kindness these are difficult days xx