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The link between diet and mood | Dina Merhbi, Nutritionist-Dietitian 

 

Dina Merhbi

Our eating habits have an important impact on our mental health and energy. Did you know that certain foods can increase your anxiety level? And on the other hand, that some foods can make you feel calm and help you cope better with everyday situations?

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Here are some food tips to help you reduce your vulnerability to stress, and help you keep your good mood.


Stabilize your blood sugar level 
It's important to have adequate and stable blood sugar levels throughout the day so that our organs and brain can function properly. Otherwise, instability can cause headaches, irritability, lack of concentration, tremors and cold sweats, anxiety, and even depressive symptoms. For this reason, dieting, food restriction, and skipping meals or snacks are strongly discouraged.

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What can be done about it?

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Eat every 3 hours: every time you skip a meal or snack, your blood sugar level drops. It is vital to avoid these drops by eating every 3 hours.  

Enjoy your meals and snacks

Eating should be a pleasure, a break, a time for yourself. If we eat with distractions, we lose the pleasure of eating and we don't listen to our hunger and satiety signals. Moreover, by eating quickly, we also increase our anxiety level.

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What can we do about this situation?

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Take a break from eating (min. 10 minutes for a snack, min. 20 minutes for a meal)
Turn off the phone and television
Put on soothing music, candles, a nice tablecloth.

Stay hydrated

Since our body is made of 75-80% water, dehydration can cause physical and mental stress. You may feel more irritated and have difficulty concentrating.

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What can be done about it?

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Drink a glass of water (with lemon or orange slices for variety) or herbal tea with each meal and snack.

Limit products containing caffeine

These products are stimulants that increase your stress and anxiety levels, and dehydrate your body. Here is a list of products that contain caffeine/theine: coffee, tea, some soft drinks (Pepsi, Coke), energy drinks, chocolate

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What can be done about it?

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Limit your consumption of caffeinated products to a minimum each day; the less, the better...
Avoid caffeine until 8 hours before bedtime so that your body has had time to eliminate it from your system before sleep.

Limit alcohol consumption

Alcohol dehydrates and makes the system more vulnerable to stress and mood swings. Also, alcohol does not allow your body to have a restful sleep, even after 1 drink.

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What can you do about it?

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Avoid alcohol if you are going through a difficult period.
Avoid drinking before bedtime.
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By making sure your blood sugar is stable, you are well hydrated, and you limit certain items that can increase your mental vulnerability, you ensure you are in better shape to deal with the stressful events of everyday life. A healthy body for a healthy mental state ☺

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Good balance!


Dina Merhbi, Dt. P.
 

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