Does Your Diet Cause Stress and Anxiety?

Is Your Diet, Stress and Anxiety Related?

Did you know that your diet can be linked to stress and anxiety? If you ate differently, you might just be better able to handle your emotions better, as sometimes what you eat can cause anxiety.

Diet Can Cause Stress and Anxiety

Do you ever wonder how stress might affect you and what you eat? No matter which way you look at it, stress and food are related. There are many things that you can do to help manage stress without resorting to those munchies for emotional support.

Do You Eat More or Less?

When you’re stressed out you’re more likely to either eat more or eat less. I know it depends on what I am stressed about. Sometimes I will binge…other times I am too depressed to eat.

Unfortunately when you do either of these things you are negatively impacting your blood glucose levels and your moods may swing violently, which will only create conflict and intensify your stress. Your cortisol levels are also affected (this is known as the stress and stomach fat hormone).

Most of us don’t realize how we can sabotage ourselves with food! Once you become aware of your stress response, you can make the choice to change it.

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Food cannot cure stress, but it can help. When you eat nutritious foods you are giving your body what it needs to deal with your daily demands.

In other words, when you eat the proper foods you are giving your body the fuel it needs to make it through common stressful situations. When you predominantly eat sugars and fats in your diet, your body doesn’t have all of the nutrients and energy supplies needed to deal with stress, so instead, you’re more likely to feel grouchy, tired, or anxious.

Stress breaks down the immune system, while the right foods can help support it. Time and time again, studies have proven that stress makes our immune system weaker, leaving us exposed to dangerous viruses, bacteria, and illnesses. It has also been proven that when you eat the right foods you’re helping your body build and maintain a healthy immune system.

  • The key here is simple: Eat right, feel great with no stress and anxiety!

When you look at all of the ways that stress and weight gain or diet are interwoven, it’s hard to deny the fact that the foods you eat affect how you think, feel, and react. After all, an unhealthy diet not only stresses your body, but your mind as well. A good starting point is to evaluate your daily diet and make one change at a time to create that healthy lifestyle you deserve.

Your Diet Is One Way To Fight Anxiety

This is one way to fight anxiety and stress! Eating healthy. I love sharing healthy nutrition tips because it helps you both physically and mentally!

It’s easy to forget the importance of everything we eat. While you can’t always eat a completely balanced diet, you can reduce your anxiety and stress levels simply by choosing anxiety and stress fighting foods. Since everyone is different, some stress-relieving foods might work for you better than others. Your best option will be to try them all and then incorporate the ones that work for you into your regular diet.

Here Is A List of Foods To Help Alleviate Anxiety and Stress

1. Green Leafy Vegetables. Leafy greens contain a lot of magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral that has the power to relax muscles. If you are like me you will need your daily magnesium supplementation.

2. Fish Oil. Fish oil contains essential fatty acids that help with serotonin uptake in the brain. Serotonin makes you feel good mentally and enables your brain to better cope with stress. You can get your fish oil from certain kinds of fish, such as salmon, or from supplements.

3. Milk. This is sometimes referred to as a “wind down” food. The proteins in milk can help reduce anxiety while the calcium is another mineral that can help with muscle relaxation. (I personally don’t like milk…but it may be helpful to you.)

4. Chocolate. A small piece of dark chocolate can actually provide you with many health benefits. Chocolate has a stimulating effect and can help increase your serotonin levels. It’s okay to indulge in chocolate in small amounts! At least I like to think so.

5. Red Wine. Many experts believe that a glass of red wine each day provides health benefits. The only drawback is that it’s easy to overdo it when drinking alcoholic beverages. Wine is packed with beneficial antioxidants and can temporarily lower blood pressure and help you relax.

Warning! Don’t confuse this…as alcohol and anxiety don’t mix! Do not overdo it! Too much alcohol can cause anxiety and depression.

6. Oatmeal. Oatmeal and other carbohydrates also help increase serotonin levels. Your brain needs carbohydrates in order to function normally. This is why it’s essential to include good carbohydrates like oatmeal in your regular diet.

7. Nuts. Nuts contain plenty of vitamin B complex, which combats fatigue, anxiety and stress. Many of you know me already and know I like to keep my almonds handy. They are my little lifesavers.

8. Spinach. Spinach is one of the world’s super foods. It contains many vitamins, antioxidants and omega 3’s. This means it would be hard to eat spinach and not feel good! Just ask “Popeye”!

Diet and Other Stress Management Tips

A healthy and balanced diet can help you manage stress much more effectively, but simply eating right is not enough to help you deal with stress. There are many different things you can do to help control and manage your stress such as:

  • Getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night
  • Making time to relax
  • Having a support system
  • Knowing your limits
  • Proactively planning and organizing
  • Being able to say no

Vitamins and Natural Anxiety Supplements

Of course, it’s always best to get your nutrients from nature’s garden, however if this isn’t possible, or if you can’t stomach a certain food, it’s best to look for vitamin supplements, or natural supplements for anxiety, so you can still derive some benefits from the essential nutrients.

Vitamin supplements help your body with the nutrients you might be missing. That is what they are for! Once your body gets all the right vitamins and minerals it needs, you’ll be on your way to feeling anxiety and stress-free…and not to mention healthier!

As I have said before, “You are what you eat”. That goes for physical health as well as mental health.

These are just a few natural stress relief methods that, in addition to healthy eating, will help you limit and control the stress in your life. When you incorporate even just a few of these healthy living strategies into your life, you’ll find that overwhelming stress and anxiety is a thing of the past. Another point is that the weight will be lifted off your shoulders and dare I be cheeky enough to say your waistline

How does stress and your diet affect you? Let me know in the comments below!

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About Jennifer Johnson

I suffered with social anxiety and stress for years. I discovered what my triggers were and learned to control them. Hopefully some of the natural anxiety relief techniques I have tried, will also be your solution.

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Comments

  1. Hi, first time poster here. I work in the medical profession and stress comes with the job. We have a lot of responsibility and long hours with little sleep. Unfortunately, I also inevitable wind up eating a lot of fast food and snack foods full of sugar from vending machines. I am going to make a concerted effort to stop this and try your suggested approach. Thanks for the tips and I’ll try to report back if it helps. God bless.

    • Hi Ernie, that’s excellent! Making the effort to stop eating ‘bad’ foods and starting to eat a healthy diet is a big factor in reducing anxiety and stress.

      I look forward to you reporting back! I know it helps…so I’ll see you again! 🙂

  2. I am making a conscious effort to eat better and lose weight in an effort to help me with my anxiety. Additionally, i am cutting out the glass of wine i had after work. I am about 20 lbs overweight…ppl look and say you look fine…,,,but the last bit of baby weight never came off and I believe it’s led to my anxiety,in conjunction with stress of a job and making a peaceful happy family life. I am now on medicine for my anxiety and my goal is to lose the weight, exercise, improve my mood within myself and hopefully the anxiety will change. Sleep has been a challenge….I wake up usually at 1 or 2 am and cannot get back to sleep…..mind racing. Last night, sleepy time tea and voila, full nights sleep. I wish others peace and luck on their journey.

    • Hi Lisa,

      You sound like you have taken control of your situation…and you will win. I believe diet plays a huge part in our management of anxiety and stress…and seen others (and myself) have positive outcomes.

      I am so happy you took the time to let me know your current situation and I look forward to watching your progress! Please comment on my articles anytime…as it helps other too on their journey.

      I hope you sleep all night tonight…and every night from now on.

  3. I can totally tell when Im eating foods I shouldnt because I feel bloated and sluggish. Im still a bit new to this whole anxiety thing so its hard to change your diet and cut out “triggers” especially when your use to eating whatever you want. But a healthy mind and body comes first.

  4. Jennifer Johnson says

    Hi Mae,

    I loved ‘but a healthy body and mind come first’. 😀 It certainly does. To help you find out what your triggers are, I suggest you keep a journal. I have written about it here: https://anxietyreliefstress.com/panic-and-anxiety-attacks-journal/

    It is so helpful because the smallest of things can trigger your anxiety. Foods are just one thing. However a healthy diet is so important…and as we all know, it is more than just for helping with our anxiety. Have a wonderful anxiety-free day!

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