Nutrition for feeling calm...
Ever tried meditating after drinking an espresso??
Improve your chances of finding meditation bliss by choosing good nutrition.
The following tips and foods help balance adrenal function by curbing cravings for caffeine and sugar, increasing energy, and stabilizing blood sugars.
- Consume 5-6 small meals a day - That would be breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. By making sure there is a constant supply of quality energy being consumed there is less chance of blood sugar levels dropping out causing the symptoms of mood swings, fatigue, the shakes, and sugar and caffeine cravings.
- Consuming protein with every meal and snack makes for a more balanced release of energy.
- Reduce highly refined foods in the diet such as convenience foods and fast food. They contain high levels of sugar, preservatives, colorings and flavourings.
- Consume low glycemic-index (GI) carbohydrates – the glycemic index indicates how quickly or slowly a carbohydrate breaks down in the body. A fast release carbohydrate (sugar) has no fiber and is converted by the body to energy very quickly – this is a high glycemic index carbohydrate. A piece of grainy bread has more fiber and is thereby more complicated for the body to convert to energy – this is a low glycemic index food. Go to www.glycemicindex.com for more information and specific low GI foods to include in the diet.
- Reduce caffeine intake – Caffeine causes the body to release adrenal hormones that mimic the ‘fight or flight’ response. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) recommends the daily intake of caffeine for adults be 210mg.
Caffeine content per beverage
Percolated coffee - 60-120 mg/250 mL cup
Formulated caffeinated beverages or ' Energy' Drinks - 80 mg/250 mL can
Instant coffee (1 teaspoon/cup) - 60-80 mg/250 mL cup
Tea - 10-50 mg/250 mL cup
Coca Cola - 48.75 mg/375 mL can
Milk Chocolate - 20 mg/100g bar
Specific ‘mood foods’
Tryptophan-rich foods – Tryptophan is the amino acid precursor to serotonin, our ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter. Tryptophan is present in protein-rich foods such as turkey, beef, fish, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, goat’s milk and related products, cow’s milk and related products, and soybeans.
Omega 3 fatty acids - found in salmon (tin, smoked and fresh); green leafy vegetables, chia seeds, flaxseed (oil and meal) and walnuts have been shown to support mood stabilization. Fat sourced from olive oil, coconut oil and nuts and seeds are also important in small amounts with every meal and snack to support energy levels.
Water – The human brain is made up of 70% water and consuming 2 litres of water a day can assist energy levels and therefore mood. Avoid highly sugared cordials and too much fruit juice as this can affect blood sugar levels.
Foods rich in Vitamin B6 and B12 – Oats, offal, legumes, egg yolk, tuna, salmon, chicken, walnuts, peanuts, and nutritional yeast (available from health food stores).
Magnesium rich foods – Magnesium is a cofactor in many energy production pathways and deficiency has been linked to anxiety and depression. Foods to enjoy that contain high levels of magnesium are almonds, cashews, soybeans, parsnips, cocoa, and wholegrain cereals.