It’s a little known fact that what we put inside us affects our mental wellbeing. Food & Mood are very much linked. After spending years suffering from anxiety myself. Being on medication and trying every self-help book out there etc.. It wasn’t until I spoke to a Psychiatrist that he suggested I changed my diet. We all know that what we eat affects us physically, but I had never thought about the impact it had on my mental health. Like many, I used to comfort eat A LOT. Cake, chocolate, biscuits, you name it, I ate it!
It’s very common for people with anxiety to develop issues with their gut too. I discovered last year that I suffer from acid reflux. With the information from the psychiatrist and the pain I was suffering from due to the acid reflux, I made the decision to change my eating habits.
Foods To Avoid
First I looked into what foods to stay away from to avoid a reflux flare-up. these include:
- Anything deep-fried
- Foods high in saturated fats
- High-fat cuts of red meat, such as marbled sirloin or prime rib
- Spicy foods
- Anything tomato-based
- Pineapple, Onion, Garlic, Citrus fruits
- Tea & Coffee
But What Can I Have?
Now you’re thinking “great, all the good stuff” BUT there are so many yummy foods and drinks you CAN have that will not only help your gut, they will drastically improve your mood too. Remember food & mood are linked. Like many with acid reflux, I was prescribed Omeprazole (a medicine to lower stomach acid). But after looking into more natural ways to lower my anxiety and help my gut, I came across some more natural ways to feel better.
Just to give you an idea, here are a few foods I have added to my diet that have made the world of difference.
My Go-To Foods
- Cashew Nuts. I’m not keen on the plain ones, but the marmite ones are delicious! Not only do cashew nuts contain B vitamins and magnesium they are also one of the few nuts actually linked to reducing anxiety, warding off general stress and even mild depression. Marmite also contains B vitamins too! Nuts are a healthy alternative to crisps and other high-fat snacks. Don’t let the high-fat content in nuts scare you off though! These fats are healthy fats. That being said, it’s not recommended that you have more than a handful of nuts a day
- Salmon, I did toy with the idea of going vegan. From what I have read, cutting out everything processed and going back to the basics of what mother earth intended for us to eat is best for your body and mind. However, I have always been a meat eater and as much as I admire vegans, I don’t think it’s something I can stick to so instead, I decided to cut out all meats and stick with just fish. Fish is high in good fats such as omega 3 which can help your mental wellbeing.
- Veg Top up on your veggies! Vegetables are naturally low in fat and sugar. The best options are broccoli, asparagus, leafy greens, green beans, cauliflower and potatoes.
- Fruit Avoid citrus fruits and stick to bananas, apples, pears, and melons. These are less likely to trigger reflux.
- Oatmeal Breakfast of champions! Oatmeal is high in fibre and also has other health benefits such as lowing cholesterol and blood sugar. High fibre diets are popular for reducing acid reflux symptoms. Switch up your bread, rice and pasta for the wholemeal option too.
Back To Basics
I don’t follow a specific diet, I have simply done some research into food & mood and found what works for me and I’m still learning. I have also cut out a lot of dairy from my diet too. Basically, you want to ditch the crappy processed foods and go back to basics. From there, you can reintroduce foods like dairy, meats etc and you will be better able to identify what triggers your gut. As for your mood, stick with only whole foods or foods high in natural ingredients and B vitamins. Also, try to only eat foods low in sugars and added crap.
This doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself, just do it in moderation and be more mindful about what you choose. For example, switch milk chocolate for dark chocolate.
Food & Mood? But What Should I Drink?
As I mentioned above, it’s best to avoid tea and coffee. BUT this is because of the caffine. You can easily replace your daily beverages with herbal teas. There are so many to choose from. Remember food & mood and research the ingredients to find the tea that best suits you. Not only do these teas taste amazing, but they also have many health benefits too. Three of my favorates are from the Pukka range. These include:
A Few Of My Favorite Teas
Feel New Once you realise the link between food & mood, you really will feel new! This tea contains Aniseed which is well known for its ability to decrease bloating and settle the digestive tract. coriander seed. These tiny seeds are magical for your gut health aiding issues such as bloating, diarrhoea and nausea. Liquorice root which helps with gastrointestinal problems, stomach ulcers, and heartburn.
Peace helps to bring tranquillity back into your body and mind with ingredients such as Chamomile which is commonly used to treat stress and also helps with relaxing your digestive tract. Lavender flower which can help to reduce blood pressure and heart rate and can also help with sleep problems too. Hemp (Cannabis sativa) before you ask, no, this tea will not get you high. The Hemp seed comes from the small seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant and has no THC (the component which has psychoactive effects) Hemp has many health benefits such as aiding with digestion and even reducing symptoms of menopause.
Night Time Tea
Night Time Tea is my personal favourite. My anxiety issues tend to flare up at nighttime sometimes making it impossible to get a decent nights sleep! This tea contains Oat Flower which has been used to relieve stress and anxiety since ancient times. Valerian root which after doing some research, I am not surprised this tea is my favourite! The use of Valerian root can be dated back to the Romans and Greeks as a herbal remedy to treat insomnia. Even they knew there’s a link between food & Mood! It was also noted to treat headaches, nervousness, trembling, and heart palpitations.
Let us know in the comments what your favourites are!