6 Ways to Use Nutrition for Stress Management

There's no denying that what we eat has a big impact on how we feel.

While healing my mind and body from chronic stress, I have personally found somatic practices and coaching to be absolute game-changers for me.

In exploring additional ways to heal my nervous system, I've found a wealth of research showing how nutritional support, when used in conjunction with other practices, can be transformational.

And that's what we're diving into in this post. How you can use food to support your healing journey.

1. Healthy carbs

Healthy carbs can shift you into a recovery state and increase serotonin levels. Take in small amounts of carbs more frequently to shift into a recovery state after trauma or a stressful event.

2. Healthy Proteins

Once you're in a calmer state, eating small portions of protein every 2-3 hours can help calm the nervous system, reduce symptoms of anxiety & depression as well as improve sleep. Protein can also boost ‘feel good' chemicals in your brain like dopamine and oxytocin.

3. Support Your Digestion

Digestion is the cornerstone of health. You are what you absorb (not just what you eat) so it pays to improve your digestion. Try ginger & raw honey or apple cider vinegar before meals or digestive enzymes.

4. Eat Fermented and Probiotic-rich Foods

Fermented and Probiotic-rich foods help to keep a good balance of bacteria in the gut. Gut health and brain health are directly linked! Try sauerkraut, kimchi, or kefir and there are, of course, probiotic supplements as well.

5. Cooking as an Active Meditation Practice

Use cooking as a form of active meditation. Be really present to the aromas, the colors, the textures of the food. Play music and make it an enjoyable experience when you cook and you're likely to be in a better mood before you even take a bite!

6. Stay Hydrated

Stress can cause dehydration and vice versa. Dehydration can lead to hormone imbalances, plus, being well-hydrated aids digestion! Studies have shown that being just half a liter dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels (a.k.a. the stress hormone).

BONUS TIP: Don’t forget that we can eat for pure pleasure too! If tacos make you happy, don’t skip Taco Tuesday! All things in balance, my friend!

Let me know if this was helpful and I’ll share more tips! 

6 ways to use nutrition for stress management

Disclaimer: This is not meant to be medical advice or in place of other treatments such as therapy or prescribed medications. Always consult your doctor before changing your diet or taking supplements.

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