What To Eat To Ease Anxiety, According To A Wellness Coach
This is exactly what you should eat to keep the worries at bay!
When we're stressed, we almost always have the impulse to reach for a bag of sour cream potato chips, a tub of ice cream, or a bar of milk chocolate. These indulgent treats may make us feel good in that instant, but may actually be bad for our wellbeing in the long run. These days when we're all stuck at home with all the bad news swirling around us, it's but natural for us to turn to food to give us that feel good kick we need.
But did you know that what you eat has a direct impact on how you feel? We spoke with certified nutritionist and wellness coach Weizel Gulfan about her professional advice on what to eat, and how to treat ourselves during these stressful times. Scroll ahead!
The not-so-sweet truthWeizel shares that "Sweets trigger the very same pleasure centers as addictive drugs, this is cited by the American Psychological Association. So when you find yourself reaching out for a cookie after having a “moment,” don’t beat yourself over it (because that will just lead you to having two more, or the entire box); it's perfectly fine to sweeten your nerves after it was roughed-up. The key is, with what?"
Just because regular ice cream or chocolate are bad for you doesn't mean you can't satisfy that sweet tooth anymore. The thing to consider is what type of sweets you're consuming! "Normally I would condition my clients to easily resist cravings by waiting it out or having the more wholesome alternative, but seeing as were currently going through a major shift in our lives where our sense of security is threatened, our body more than deserves a gentler, more compassionate support and food is the most immediate source of comfort we can treat it to", she shares.
What then should we eat to satisfy our sugar cravings? Weizel advises us to indulge in feel-good flavonoid-rich food such as chocolate, but make sure it's 70% or more in cacao content. "Instead of the bar why not scoop a couple of tablespoon of cacao powder on oat meal or even rice to make yourself a porridge and just cream it up with coconut milk and muscovado or brown sugar with a pinch of sea salt", Weizel suggests. She even goes on to say that "the cost is surprisingly less than a whole chocolate bar, but it’s rich enough to satiate your craving without extending it to chips and ice cream after.
Take it slow
But what if dark chocolate or healthier alternatives don't really do it for you? Weizel tells us to take it slow. Get that chocolate bar but savor it by nibbling slowly. "Really relish every bite, mentally noting the earthy notes of the chocolate and how easily it melts in your mouth. Slowing down to appreciate food by chewing it well is what satisfies our senses and stops us from over-indulging. Most of us overeat because we don’t pay attention to our food, we don’t even bother to register the taste of it as we're too distracted watching, talking or even thinking."
On that note, while sweets do take up a special place in our lives, we also have to think of the other things we're eating while we're on quarantine (and beyond). The last thing we want is for people to add more stress into their lives by obsessing about every single calorie they consume, but knowing the basics really helps us steer the wheel towards a better way of eating.
According to Healthline, "if anxiety is still impacting your life, it might be worth it to a glance down at your plate." Being mindless about what we put into our mouths may be impacting our stress and anxiety levels, especially in times like a pandemic, when our attention is scattered all over the place. Do yourself a favor: examine what you eat, and note how it makes your body feel afterwards. This makes all the difference.
According to the same story, things like alcohol, too much caffeine, aged and cured foods, added sweeteners, and processed food like non-dairy creamer may contribute to your body's stress and anxiety levels. In addition, Weizel warns us against tobacco (although not eaten), MSG, trans fat, and refined sugar like high fructose corn syrup. These days, examining what's on the label really saves you from a lot of added calories and health problems!
What in the world should I eat?
Weizel tells us to stock up on cocoa, bananas, coconut, nuts and seeds, oats, brown rice, fermented foods like Kimchi, and avocados. These feel-good foods don't just nourish your body, they contribute to your anti-anxiety efforts too! Armed with enough sleep, a good diet, meditation, and skipping on the junk food, lack of sleep, and exposure to negativity, you'll be well on your way to living anxiety-free!
Stay safe, and eat up!