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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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