Most people don't understand how vital a role food plays in improving your mood. Trudy Scott, certified nutritionist (CN), educates women about the amazing healing powers of food and nutrients and helps them find natural solutions for anxiety and other mood-related issues.
She is the founder of Every Woman Over 29, a thriving nutrition practice with a focus on food, mood and women's health, and is the author of The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution -- How the Foods You Eat Can Help you Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood and End Cravings (June 2011, New Harbinger). Trudy's goal for all her clients (and all women): "You can be your healthiest, look your best and feel on-top-of-the-world emotionally!"
Here are nine ways that you can improve your mood without medication today!
Trudy suggests that you keep a three-day diary to see what your intake of real whole food is compared to processed foods, junk food, and sugar. Trudy says: "Simply go back to eating the way your grandparents ate!"
She also reminds us that when you include protein (like eggs, meat, whey, fish) in your breakfast, it helps to keep healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day and, therefore, reduce stress and anxiety.
To keep blood sugar levels even, three meals a day and two healthy snacks are needed. Trudy shares some great snack ideas: "fresh fruit, a boiled egg and grass-fed beef jerky. Raw baby carrots and ornamental green/yellow/red peppers are crunchy and tasty, especially dipped in hummus." Another easy snack is leftovers from dinner, such as a chicken drumstick or wing. Trudy's travel snacks include cans of sardines, oysters and salmon. They are a good protein alternative to fast food and good for emergencies if you get stuck at an airport or arrive late when traveling. Another favorite is pumpkin seeds because, as Trudy states, "They are a great source of tryptophan and zinc, both of which help improve mood and reduce anxiety."
Yes, really! Especially, if drinking coffee makes you more anxious and affects your sleep. Instead, try herbal, caffeine-free teas. Licorice herbal tea is delicious, rooibos herbal tea from South Africa is rich in antioxidants and chamomile tea is calming. If you can't function without coffee and use it to give you energy then you need to figure out why -- low iron, burned-out adrenals, low catecholamines, or underactive thyroid?
If athletes perform better without gluten in their diets, and many seem to, then maybe it's time to assess your gluten intake as well. Trudy advises that you start with a two-week gluten elimination trial. If you feel less anxious without gluten and more anxious when you add it back, you may have gluten intolerance or may need to be tested for celiac disease.
Exercise helps raise serotonin levels to help you feel less blue and worried. You'll also get some Vitamin D from being outside, which improves mood and reduces stress.
Yoga, tai chi and guided imagery actually raises GABA (a calming neurotransmitter) to help you feel less overwhelmed.
Consider using a good multivitamin, a good B complex and the amazing amino acid supplements tryptophan or GABA for short-term relief of anxiety, worry and stress.
Make "me-time" a priority and learn to say no. Take care of yourself!
With this food-mood approach you may become free of anxiety, have no more panic attacks and feel super-confident.
Each person has their own unique biochemistry and there may be other factors involved, but this would be a great start. Good luck!
By Clarissa Burt with Haleigh Hoffmanner
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