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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 November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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