Healing from Stress & Anxiety

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Article by Andrea Burton, Nutritionist at http://www.mybodyfabulous.co.uk

Today I’m going to talk stress! I know, I know… it’s one of those subjects that brings out emotions and lots of “I’m not THAT stressed” comments but now, more than ever, we live in an age of high stress and I firmly believe that the right nutrition can have a dramatic impact on your ability to cope with it. So I put together my top 5 nutrients that may help your body to have a balanced response to stress, helping you to feel calmer and more relaxed.

Magnesium and calcium
Magnesium can help to relax muscles and reduce anxiety, while also playing an essential role in hormone and energy production. Nuts - particularly Brazil nuts - are high in magnesium, as are beans and lentils, wholegrains and leafy greens. A lack of either calcium or magnesium can make you more nervous, irritable and aggressive. Research into stress and diet shows that calcium may be able to help reduce certain symptoms, such as muscle tension and anxiety. So include plenty of calcium rich foods in your diet such as cooked spinach, basil, kale, rosemary, romaine lettuce, celery, sesame seeds, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus.

B Vitamins
B vitamins are essential for helping to cope with stress in a balanced way and can be found in bananas, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, meat, fish and dairy products. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) in particular is found in high concentrations in the adrenal glands (the part of the body that manages the stress response).

Vitamin C
The largest store of vitamin C is in the adrenal glands, so keep these glands healthy by eating plenty of vitamin C rich foods such as oranges, tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens and broccoli. This nutrient is rapidly depleted during chemical, emotional, psychological or physiological stress and it is particularly important to supply high quantities during these times to cope with increased demand.

Theanine
L-theanine is a relaxing, health-promoting amino acid found in tea. Studies have shown that when theanine is absorbed by the body, it can help to bring about an alert, yet totally relaxed state of mind. L-theanine may help to support balance and improve the quality of sleep.

For more help and support on dealing with stress naturally check out our next event Saturday April 21st - http://www.mybodyfabulous.co.uk/events/2018/1/29/recovering-from-stress-anxiety-seminar

Can Food Help Shift Anxiety?

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Anxiety symptoms can make you feel very unwell and run down. Coping with anxiety can be a challenge not just for you but also for your family. Anxiety can leave you feeling powerless but by making some lifestyle changes you can get your power back! There aren't any diet changes that can cure anxiety, but watching what you eat may help.

Here are my top tips

1. Eating protein at breakfast can help you feel fuller longer and help keep your blood sugar steady so that you have more energy as you start your day. Eggs, Greek yoghurt, nuts and seeds are great options. Protein helps stimulate the production of the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine, which, like serotonin, are neurotransmitters and carry impulses between nerve cells.

2. Carbohydrates are thought to increase the amount of serotonin in your brain, which has a calming effect. Eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as oats, quinoa, whole-grain breads and whole-grain cereals.

3. Try and eat a healthy, whole foods diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. It is especially important to include foods that are rich in the B vitamins, such as beef, pork, chicken, leafy greens, legumes, oranges and other citrus fruits, rice, nuts, eggs, whole grains, nuts and fish. A deficiency in B vitamins such as folic acid and B12 can trigger depression in some people. Vitamin B supplements can be very useful to add to your diet if you feel you are not eating enough vitamin B rich food.

4. Increase omega 3 in your diet. Evidence continues to mount that consuming omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines, can be uplifting and enhance your mood.

5. Tryptophan can have a positive effect on stress because this amino acid helps your brain produce feel-good chemicals. You will find tryptophan in a variety of foods such as turkey, chicken, bananas, milk, oats, cheese, nuts, peanut butter, and sesame seeds.

6. Pay attention to food sensitivities. In some people, certain foods or food additives can cause unpleasant physical reactions. In certain people, these physical reactions may lead to shifts in mood, including irritability or anxiety. If in doubt contact us to arrange a food intolerance blood test.

7. Could processed foods such as hot dogs, sausage rolls, pork pies and cakes cause anxiety or other mental health issues? Researchers in London found that eating a diet of processed and fatty foods increases the risk for depression. In the study, people who mainly ate fried food, processed meat, high-fat dairy products and sweetened desserts had a 58% higher risk of depression than those who ate "whole" foods such as fish and vegetables.To help lift mood and calm anxiety, keep away from processed foods and eat more natural products.

8. Although drinking alcohol seems to have a calming effect short term, it dehydrates the body and can actually end up acting as a depressant. Alcohol can also interfere with sleep so moderate it in your diet.

9. Sugar is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. The absorption causes an initial high or surge of energy. But that surge wears off as the body increases its insulin production to remove the sugar from your bloodstream. The result: You're left feeling tired and low. Avoid fizzy drinks loaded with sugar, instead drink plenty of water, to stay hydrated.

10. Reduce caffeine in your diet as this can make you feel jittery and nervous and can interfere with sleep. The problem is that caffeine has been shown to inhibit levels of serotonin in the brain, and when serotonin levels are suppressed, you can become depressed and feel irritable.

Try these 10 top tips and always remember - feelings by there very nature come and go. This too shall pass.