Advertising
Advertising

2 Major Flaws in Your Diet That Cause Stress and Anxiety

2 Major Flaws in Your Diet That Cause Stress and Anxiety

How are you today?

‘Bit stressed out at the moment’

‘Not too bad, really tired though’

‘Feeling a bit spaced out today’

‘Not with it today’

‘Can’t seem it concentrate’

Advertising

‘I’m knackered’

Sound familiar? So often when I ask how someone is, I get these sort of responses. Often the main reason for this is the high level of stress hormones (adrenalin and cortisol) in our bodies. It’s a big problem because it’s stopping us from fully enjoying our lives.

What’s frustrating is your modern diet and eating patterns are probably one of the root causes for these high levels of stress hormones. It’s frustrating because it could be easily avoided.

I’m Going to let You into a Little Secret…

Before you think I’m having a go at you, I’m not at all, it’s not your fault. There’s a lot of confusing information out there and misleading marketing…

‘Carbohydrates are bad for you’ ‘But I have always been told they are our main energy source?’

‘Fats are good for you, eat more fat.’ ‘But wait, I was always told fats were bad?’

Advertising

‘You’re eating too much protein and dairy.’

Confusing right?

I’m going to let you into a secret. Come a little closer so you can hear me clearly…

It’s all a load of rubbish.

This is all misinformation that shouldn’t be taken at face value, and doesn’t take into account the individual. This is all created by money-hungry companies that don’t care about your health. They are just trying to confuse and scare you into buying a product!

Let’s shed some light on the situation…

Advertising

The Power 3

We all have what I call the ‘Power 3’ – hormones, neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain) and the nervous system. The feelings and symptoms of stress and anxiety are created when one of these or all three are not functioning correctly.

But, the reason I call them the Power 3 is because when they are functioning correctly/optimally they also have the power to empty the body of these stress hormones to the correct level and create that feeling of serenity.

So, why I’m I talking about the Power 3?

Because your modern day diet has two major problems that is causing the Power 3 to not function correctly. Therefore creating those symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Have you ever wondered why you feel stressed and anxious out for no rational reason? It’s because something has triggered a negative response to your Power 3.

These two major problems are what I’m going to call ‘Negative Nutritional Triggers’ because they are triggering a negative response to your Power 3.

Advertising

The more these negative nutritional triggers creep into your diet, the more your body fills up with stress hormones, therefore inhibiting your Power 3. This can happen quickly or can be a slow build up over time. Either way, the outcome is the same. You get stressed out. You also leave yourself open to other mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

Negative Nutritional Trigger 1 – Modern diets create an energy imbalance throughout the day

This is mainly caused by ups and downs in sugar levels throughout the day. For example, breakfast is too imbalanced. Most people eat a breakfast that is imbalanced and overloaded with refined carbohydrates. This creates an up and down effect on your sugar levels. This increases stress hormones as the body tries to balance out its sugar levels,  therefore putting stress on the Power 3. I’m not for one moment saying carbs are bad, just that imbalanced meals are.

Solution: Eat a balance of fats, protein, carbohydrates and fibre in every meal.

Negative Nutritional Trigger 2- Modern diets create an imbalance of gut bacteria

Often our diet is filled with foods that trigger a negative response to our gut. This is because so many of the foods we eat these days are too high in processed ingredients that are completely unnatural to the body. This imbalances bacteria in the gut and disrupts how well the Power 3 function through something called the gut-brain axis.

Solution: Avoid something I call ‘Negative Trigger Foods’. To start with, just check the label on foods. The more processed the food is, the more it will increase stress.

Motivational Energy

If you are someone who suffers with stress and anxiety, I hope you found this article useful and have some Motivational Energy. “Motivational Energy” is how I describe that small burst of mental clarity you get when you realise what you have to do to get something you want – the light bulb is suddenly switched on. The problem is, Motivational Energy doesn’t last long before the light bulb goes out. So what’s important is what you do right now to put this motivation to good use.

Things like stress, anxiety and depression are on the rise and the problem is getting worse. I believe these ‘Negative Nutritional Triggers’ are a big reason why. They should not be ignored. If you’re feeling a bit stressed or anxious, put your motivational energy to good use, try out the solutions I listed to get yourself started.

Remember, if you are experiencing symptoms of stress or anxiety, always seek medical advice and talk to a doctor. These things are nothing to ashamed of. If you found this useful please like and share, as it might help someone else going through the same thing. We can beat things like stress and anxiety together.

More by this author

Ben Jones

Fitness Coordinator

We Feel Empty Because Our Bodies Aren’t Evolved to Cope With the Current Lifestyle How Not to Let Negative Thoughts Trump the Positive Vibes The 20-Minute Morning Routine That Relieves Anxiety The 10-Minute Daily “Lifestyle Trigger” That Relieves Anxiety and Depression 2 Major Flaws in Your Diet That Cause Stress and Anxiety

Trending in Brain

1 How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways 2 9 Types of Intelligence (And How to Know Your Type) 3 25 Memory Exercises That Actually Help You Remember More 4 What Is Social Intelligence (And How to Increase Yours) 5 How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 18, 2020

How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

Memory plays an integral role in our lives, both in the short and long term. If you’re wondering how to improve memory, I’m here to tell you that there are natural and effective ways to do so.

Despite what you might think, improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it.

Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve memory efficiently and reduce the risk of memory loss.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts, and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder, then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. Research suggests that the more information and distractions you receive, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory[1].

Fortunately, meditation can help.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which, in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

While any amount of meditation will do something to help your memory, one study pointed out that “8 but not 4 weeks of brief, daily meditation decreased negative mood state and enhanced attention, working memory, and recognition memory as well as decreased state anxiety scores”[2].

Therefore, if you’re looking for the most benefits, try sticking with a meditation practice for at least 8 weeks.

However, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get Plenty of Sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then it’s likely that you’re not able to remember well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities, including your memory.

Advertising

If you want to learn how to improve memory, how much sleep should you be getting?

Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation[3], you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things[4].

If you want to improve memory, get plenty of sleep.

    Maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!), but if you care about improving your long and short term memory, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

    Try these three things to naturally improve your sleep cycle:

    • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
    • Don’t eat too late
    • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

    Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

    However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory.

    3. Challenge Your Brain

    When was the last time you challenged your brain?

    I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or under-sleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and memory games.

    To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

    Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-solving ability, and memory.

    There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

    • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

    If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

    Advertising

    Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it; try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

    4. Take More Breaks

    When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctly remember working all the hours under the sun—and many under the moon, too!

    At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat, and tears.

    However, if you want to know how to improve memory, taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative, and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

    Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

    One 2011 study from the University of Illinois concluded that “the brain is built to detect and respond to change…and prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance”[5].

    This is based on something called the “vigilance decrement.” This can be applied to many things. For example, we often don’t notice the feeling of clothing touch our bodies because our brain becomes accustomed to the sensation. However, if you change clothes, you’ll likely notice the difference in texture and temperature for a few minutes.

    When you take a break from memorizing information, it refocuses your attention and energy, leading to increased focus overall.

    It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart, and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

    Basically, make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

    5. Learn a New Skill

    I love this quote, as it’s 100% true but frequently overlooked:

    “Learning never exhausts the mind.” -Leonardo da Vinci

    From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

    Advertising

    Let me give you an example of this:

    Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day, many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

    Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

    The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you rather than letting you work in your own way.

    Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction into learning a new skill (computer coding).

    It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career, and the ongoing learning made the call center job much more bearable.

    Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus, and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking out new information. When learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly becomes a habit, too.

    If you want to know how to learn something new every day, check out this article.

    6. Start Working out

    If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

    Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory[6].

    Regular physical activities increase blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. A well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

    Even if you don’t have much time, research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines[7].

    Interested in getting started?

    Advertising

    Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

    • Join a gym
    • Join a sports team
    • Buy a bike
    • Take up hiking
    • Dance to your favorite music

    7. Eat Healthier Foods

    I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

    This applies to your brain, too.

    The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health, as well.

    Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery, and dark chocolate. But any fruits, vegetables, or foods high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory. Here’re some ideas: 15 Brain Foods That Will Super Boost Your Brain Power

    Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain, leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

    If you want to improve your mental health, eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

    • Turmeric – Helps new brain cells grown
    • Broccoli – Protects the brain against damage
    • Nuts – Improves memory
    • Green tea – Enhances brain performance, memory and focus[8]
    • Fish oilFish oil supplements can increase your brain power

    Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

    Also, remember that your brain is about 75% water, so dehydration can have a huge effect on the way your brain functions. Stay hydrated if you really want to improve memory!

    Final Thoughts

    I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be helpful for you.

    You don’t need to implement them all, but you can try out the ones that appeal to you.

    But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory and avoiding cognitive decline, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested.

    More on How to Improve Memory

    Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next