There are many aspects of nutrition that can either relieve or exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety. When under extra stress, the adrenal glands pump out adrenalin and cortisol to help the body cope with the extra stress. During these times diet becomes more important than usual to support the extra demands on the body. Symptoms of stress, anxiety and mild depression, might be cravings for sweet foods, salty foods and refined carbohydrates and fast foods.
A diet designed specifically for you as an individual can assist in lifting and maintaining optimal mood.
Maintaining steady blood glucose levels
Fluctuations in blood sugar levels caused by poor or irregular eating, can cause many symptoms including headaches (including migraines), shakiness, irritability, nausea, brain fog, anxiety, panic attacks, depleted energy levels, feeling ‘overly emotional’ as well as symptoms of mild depression.
A diet plan to correct this will include eating particular foods, avoiding other foods and drinks and eating at regular intervals.
Supplying nutrients for the production of brain chemicals
Neurotransmitters such as dopamine, adrenaline, serotonin and others, require certain nutrients in the diet for optimal function. Some foods contain tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin which makes us feel relaxed and calm.
Food intolerances and allergies can affect mood
Some preservatives, artificial colours, and other foods such as wheat, dairy, salicylates or amines, can produce obvious changes in both feelings and behaviour and can also affect energy levels. These need to be removed from the diet.
Supplies Adequate B Vitamins, Complex Carbohydrates and Omega 3s
All the above nutrients are essential for adequate energy production and optimal brain function. Depletion of these nutrients can result in feelings of anxiety and low mood, headache, constant feelings of fatigue, migraine and other symptoms.
Addresses the importance of Regular Healthy Meals
The timing of healthy meals and healthy snacks in between meals, are essential for some people to maintain optimal mood. This prevents fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
Losing weight too quickly
Losing weight too quickly can result in depleted glycogen stores, extreme fatigue, feelings of being ‘overly emotional and loss of muscle instead of fat. This will affect mood negatively. Effective weight loss needs to be done safely under the guidance of a Nutritionist.
Adequate sunshine for Vitamin D levels, as well as regular exercise play a major part alongside correct diet to improve and maintain mood. Particular exercises that calm the central nervous system such as Yoga, or Pilates can also be beneficial.
Adequate, regular and refreshing sleep is also essential for happiness.