Since the school year started our family has been having discussions regarding anxiety and how it hurts mentally and physically. It’s paralyzing! You feel sick to your stomach and just want to run or, in a lot of cases, can’t move. Sometimes it springs out of nowhere, with no rational explanation or, a much larger deal is made out of something that should even be an issue. These have been very looooong days however, we’re getting help, getting answers and getting better – together – every day. If this sounds familiar to you check out these 6 tips to help keep anxiety levels away.
Contributed by Sara Siskind, Certified Nutritional Health Counselor:
1.) Load up on Antioxidants: Antioxidants seem to be the buzz word these days, claiming to help everything from inflammation reduction, keeping your skin looking good and even reducing your anxiety. Yes, antioxidants are a wonderful way to improve health and luckily they are found in an assortment of healthy foods that most people have in their homes. I am sure to always include foods that are rich in beta-carotene into my meals, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, citrus fruits, red pepper, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, avocados, and nuts. All of these help to maximize and support brain function, which keeps me going throughout the busy workday.
2.) Drink Purified Water: Simple, clean water is essential to a healthy body, mind, and soul. Although the direct correlation between drinking water and anxiety levels has never been proven, studies have shown that even mild dehydration can cause a problematic mood swing. Did you know that by the time you are feeling thirsty, it’s already technically too late? Your mind and body start to experience a change in performance leading to unsettling feelings. Staying hydrated throughout the day is easy. To manage my hydration, I always keep a pitcher of fresh lemon water on my desk.
3.) Eat Foods Rich in Magnesium: Magnesium is a mineral that helps to relax the central nervous system and calms the body. Diets low in magnesium have been seen to cause anxious behavior. Nuts, such as Setton Farms premium quality California grown pistachios, contain a sufficient amount of magnesium in a half of cup serving. Pistachios are a great snack to keep on hand and are easy to transport. When I am feeling stressed or anxious during the day, I like to toss them on my salad or yogurt to make a nutritious meal. Setton Farms’ Pistachio Chewy Bites are another easy way to incorporate pistachios into your diet. By combining nutrient-rich pistachios with antioxidant-filled cranberries, I get the energy and nutrients I need in one, bite-sized snack. Other natural sources of magnesium that I like to include in my diet are dark leafy greens, eggs, legumes, and avocados.
4.) Exercise Daily: It’s almost impossible to feel anxious or stressed after you work out. Countless studies have proven that our bodies release chemicals called endorphins that naturally trigger a positive feeling in the body. I like to workout in the morning so that I feel the endorphins for the rest of the day. Exercise not only lifts your mood but strengthens muscles & bones, helps with circulation and heart health.
5.) Eat Small Meals Throughout the Day: I find that it’s essential to eat small meals every 2-3 hours for a 12 hour period during the day. Doing this will help keep blood sugar levels steady and maintain energy. Eating smaller, frequent meals throughout the day prevents me from getting to the point of starvation, which can have a negative effect on people prone to becoming anxious.
6.) Include a Variety of Foods in Meals: I’m careful of fad diets that eliminate certain food groups. Evidence has shown that a diet lacking in complex carbohydrates can be detrimental to anxious people. Complex carbohydrates like oatmeal, quinoa, peas, lentils, brown rice and sweet potatoes (to name a few) are an important part of balanced diet. Including a wide variety of foods my diet ensures I am getting the proper nutrients to calm my mind.
About Sara Siskind
Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara Siskind is the founder of Hands On Healthy, cooking classes for adults, families and teens based in New York. Sara has dedicated her career to educating clients on how food and lifestyle choices affect health, and how to make the right choices to look and feel your best each day. Sara translates the complexity of integrated nutrition into usable tools with easy-to-cook recipes that appeal to the entire family. Sara counsels privately to offer highly customized health and nutrition plans for her clients. She also works with parents on shopping and cooking smarter to create healthier homes. In addition, she teaches beginner to gourmet cooking classes with her signature “toss it in” approach. In addition, Sara regularly works with corporations and non-profit organizations to lead workshops and lectures on healthy eating.
(*shared with permission)