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7 Foods Habits You Don’t Know Are Increasing Anxiety

7 Foods Habits You Don’t Know Are Increasing Anxiety

If you suffer from anxiety, the last thing you want is to eat any food that will aggravate the situation. If you are crazy busy and a bit exhausted, here is a fast guide to make sure that you are avoiding several foods which can increase anxiety and make things a lot worse. By doing that, you will be on the fast track to a calmer and more relaxed existence. Here are 7 food habits to avoid—or at least eat in moderation.

1. Don’t fall into the coffee trap

Coffee is great for a short-term energy boost. However, it also has an effect on the brain whereby it suppresses serotonin, which is a key hormone in keeping you feeling relaxed and calm. As it is a stimulant, you might find that a coffee in the afternoon or evening is going to keep you awake. It is also a diuretic, meaning more trips to the bathroom. Drinking less coffee helps you to save time and stay positive.

2. Avoid the sugar rollercoaster

Sugar is everywhere and the body needs the glucose as fuel. What is the problem, then, you may ask? The spikes in the blood sugar causes the stress hormone cortisol to become the leading actor. This means anxiety can surface far too quickly. We get lots of sugar from milk and fruit. Americans are overdoing it by adding about 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day. The USDA recommendation is half that amount!

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3. Beware alcohol’s downside

It would be too good to be true if alcohol could lift your mood and keep anxiety locked up. The bad news is that the good mood, loss of inhibitions, and newfound confidence are all part of a passing phase. In the long term, alcohol tends to block off the serotonin in the brain that helps to regulate your mood and prevent you from getting caught up in anxious thoughts.

“If you’re feeling anxious, don’t drink to calm down because it will aggravate anxiety symptoms. Booze can also disrupt your sleep.” — Desiree Nielsen, dietitian and author of Un-junk Your Diet

4. Don’t fry your brain

All those fried and highly processed foods, plus dairy and sweet desserts, just increase depression and anxiety. This was the result of one study which found that people addicted to this sort of diet had a 58% higher chance of depression. All the chemicals in these foods are giving your blood sugar levels a really rough ride. Ease off and eat some whole foods such as fish, nuts, fruits, and vegetables for a change.

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5. Forget the refined grains

A lot of refined breads and other white foods contain preservatives, sugar, and unhealthy fats. In addition, all the natural vitamins and minerals have been stripped out of the flour in the processing and baking. It is incredible to think that not much has changed in 100 years—in 1911, this poor quality bread was the staple diet of 40% of people in the UK! Today, it accounts for 50% of the American diet. Not much progress here!

The fact is that these refined breads and cookies are mostly sugars and starches which will send your blood sugar levels on another rollercoaster. When you are plunging down into the depths of that ride, do not be surprised to find you are cranky and even more anxious than before.

6. Remember that salt will pile on the pressure

When you suffer from anxiety, you want to reduce all that pressure. When you have a nice, salty snack, you are doing the exact opposite. The surplus salt is increasing your blood pressure levels and your heart has to work even harder. This releases even more adrenaline and tension skyrockets.

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7. Don’t skip breakfast (or any other meals!)

Time is of the essence, but if you are skipping breakfast or other meals, then you are asking for trouble on the anxiety front. Skipping meals during the day can cause your blood sugar levels to plunge, bringing on anxiety and irritability.

Another problem is consuming too many carbs and too little protein at breakfast time. You normally need about 25 grams of protein at breakfast to prevent those blood sugar levels from going crazy. Just add in an egg, Greek yogurt, or some cheese to prevent another awful day.

Researchers are now focusing on the possible link between stomach disorders and mood. It may all come down to making sure that we eat the right kinds of food. This will produce the best bacterial environment in our gut, which will in turn benefit our mood.

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Some food you should eat to prevent anxiety include spinach, oatmeal, salmon, dark chocolate, asparagus, avocado, oranges, almonds, and whole grains. Eat your way to a calmer and happier you.

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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