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Michael Olpin College Stress, Eating Well, Nutrition, stress prevention, Student Stress, Weight Control, Weight Management

Want to help overcome stress in a natural way? How about by eating food? Sounds good, but you must eat a certain way to make eating an effective anxiety remedy.

First let’s talk about when you should eat for treatments for anxiety, and the answer is – several times a day and at regular intervals – about two to four hours apart. This DOES NOT mean snacking on junk all day. It DOES mean starting out with a nutritious breakfast and then planning healthy snacks to eat between meals. Why? Because it is crucial to have blood sugar levels stay constant throughout the day.

Breakfast doesn’t have to be a big meal, but it is important to eat because overnight blood sugar levels drop as digestion finishes. If blood sugar is low, your brain will eventually send the strong hunger and craving signals that you need to eat, making it much more tempting for you to get a quick fix from the vending machines, the convenience store, or the bakery you pass on your way to work.

As a matter of fact, people who skip breakfast tend to eat more calories throughout the day than those who do eat in the morning, so skipping meals can actually promote weight gain!

As far as helping anxiety, weight gain doesn’t seem like a great solution. But there is another even more important item you need to consider about blood sugar levels, and that is the way they affect how you feel.

When your blood sugar is low, you feel lethargic, low energy, your attention span shortens, and you can be easily distracted or irritated. Other symptoms of anxiety can become more acute like muscle pain, the inability to relax, weakness, or stress headaches. If you are anxious you feel awful anyway, why make these symptoms worse?

Some people try quick fixes like drinking a soda, an energy drink, or eating sugary foods to feel better and keep those hunger signals from the brain at bay. This may seem like a good solution at first because people do feel better when their blood sugar rises – at least for a little while.  People have more energy and their brain rewards them with some powerful feel good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, but then comes the crash.

What goes way up, must come way down. After a splurge, blood sugar levels may drop lower than they were before the sugary snacks. This causes a repeat of the vicious cycle. You feel awful, low energy, short attention span, little things start to bug you, and you can’t seem to focus enough on anything to get something done. So again, your brain sends the signal, you eat snacks; get the high and then the low all over again. This contributes to – weight gain, increased anxiety symptoms, and a much higher risk of getting more serious diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and chronic anxiety.

So planning your menu, may be one of the best anxiety cures. Take a minute and plan what and when you will eat. Try to include protein in your snacks, and make sure there are lots of healthy choices for your regular meals.

14 Responses to Natural Anxiety Relief

  1. Tyler

    I really found this article to be interesting. Never would I have thought of food in terms of being a way to help reduce anxiety. This article also served as a great reminder as to the importance of eating healthy as well as being sure to eat breakfast on a daily bases.

  2. Jane Hjorth

    I was super interested in reading this article as my son suffers from anxiety. It was interesting to read the suggestions here were exactly what 2 “natural healing” doctors told us. The psychologist just recommended a pill. This is a much better way.

  3. JaLynn Rasmussen

    I though this article was very interesting. I agree that eating healthy and regularly can decrease stress. I know from personal experience that I definitely feel better when I start the day off by eating a good breakfast. I also stay happier and have more energy when I eat good snacks throughout the day.

  4. Kelly

    This hits so close to home. I recently have become stressed at work during the day, resulting in memory loss and frustration. My boss mentioned it could be my blood sugar. I denied that it could. She asks me all of the time if I have eaten. I tend to forget to eat during the day. I entertained her and ate the snacks that she brings to work such as carrots, yogurt, and fruit. It has made a world of difference. I have never thought that it could be “food” that was my problem!

  5. Colletta Kryger-Jensen

    In the last six months I have become an insulin dependant diabetic. This article brought to light some of the things I am learnig in my diabetic class. It is very hard to change old habits for new one, eat the right foods at the right times when ones life is very busy and is always in need of revamping. With articles like this one, I am learning to deal with my disease.

  6. Jim M

    I can a test to what was written in this article, not just from my personal life; but, also watching my wife. We both have a bad habit of skipping that first meal of the day, rushing around and next thing we know it is dinner time. It turns out that is the only meal we eat. I find myself using Rockstars and MT. Dew to “make it” through the day and have noticed lately that I get cranky when I drink two or more within a few hours of each other. Time to start packing carrots….

  7. Monica G

    This was a great article. I usually try to eat good but there are days that I just don’t get the hungry signals, so I don’t eat. It seems like on those days I am the most stressed out. Hopefully I will remember this article on those stressful days.

  8. Gretchen

    I’ve noticed this in my own life–my diet has a significant effect on my emotional well-being. When i eat well my self esteem is higher, my body feels strong and my work-outs are better. I feel less moody, and have more energy. Good article, thanks!

  9. Gretchen

    Good article. I have found this true in my own life–i feel much more relaxed and in control of my life when i trust my body and eat well. I am less moody and have more self esteem. Thanks for discussing the connection between mind and body.

  10. Joslyn H

    I think this article is interesting and helpful. I have experienced some of the symptoms mentioned before, and it is a good reminder to not skip meals and to stay healthy.

  11. Sarah F

    Interesting article! Being a vegetarian for quite some time now hasn’t been the easiest. A simple salad doesn’t make up for everything, I can always feel the irritability taking away my focus & my energy drop when I don’t eat properly. I’ve learned the hard way.

  12. Tralyn

    I like how you covered the information with out making it too scientific or preachy. The information made sense and is very basic changes that can be done for anyone.

  13. Darren S.

    I really liked how this artical toalked about the chemicals in your body that were effected by getting the right snakcs. I always noticed something was different in how I acted in the mornings that I didn’t eat breakfast and from the mornings I did.

  14. Alexis I

    I found the information in this article interesting because I have hypoglycemia, and these symptoms are all very common for me to get when I need to eat, its a nice reminder as to what I am supposed to be doing and watching for even as busy and stressed life gets.


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