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Are Stress and Anxiety taking a toll on you? Here’s what can help

author: Renu Puri

Date: 07-03-2023

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In this day and age where relations have become super fragile, jobs are draining the life out of you, and unforeseen circumstances don’t seem to end, everyone feels that no matter how hard they work, life is taking them down. These 3 factors explained above have been found to be the leading contributors to anxiety, depression, and chronic stress, and all nutritionists in Delhi would agree with this.


In this blog, we aim to provide a solution to put an end to this condition. Curious to know what it is? Read on.



Introduction



Stress and anxiety are some of the common pitfalls that we all face at some point in our lives. No matter how happy go lucky you are, a stressful environment – be it at work, home, or responsibilities can take a toll on your emotions. If not fixed, these issues can snowball and cause prolonged distress. Telling yourself to stop being sad, stressed, or anxious is like telling yourself to stop dreaming when you sleep – It’s not possible and does not work that way. There can be an array of factors that could potentially inflict stress and anxiety. Today, our team of the best nutritionists in Delhi have curated a resource for you to utilize. 


External factors that can cause anxiety and stress could be:  


  • Life changes like death of a loved one, job change, or unhappy relationships.
  • Financial instability and the pressure to make ends meet.
  • Breakups, divorce, or any hindrances in close relations.
  • Job insecurity, no work life balance, and rude coworkers.
  • Noise, pollution, and traffic.


Internal factors that can cause anxiety and stress could be:


  • Genetics or mental illnesses.
  • Physical illnesses.
  • Mental trauma.
  • A huge amount of pressure to achieve something.
  • Negative self-image.



Regardless of these external and internal stressors, it is important to know that you can manage your stress levels through little tweaks in your diet and simple lifestyle changes. A living example of this statement is our client, Jai. Jai, a 30-year-old banker from Delhi, was at his lowest when he came to us. He typed in “best dietician in South Delhi” on a search engine, scrolled through multiple dietitians, and found us! Despite having a loving wife and a baby on the way, he did not feel his life was fulfilled in any way, shape, or form. In fact, he felt like he was drowning in responsibilities with no way out. His work conditions were horrible – long working hours, high workload, pressure to meet targets, office politics, lack of work life balance, and despite all his efforts, he had no job security. The high-pressure environment of his traditional corporate workplace was not conducive to his mental health, and just when he had lost all hope, he discovered nutrition therapy through niwi.ai. During his first consultation with us, he sheepishly admitted to skipping meals and intentionally reducing his appetite to meet certain work deadlines. We knew right off the bat that this had to change. 


Nutrition therapy is a great and efficient healthcare intervention that focuses on nutrition to manage medical conditions and improve overall health. There are people like Jai taking nutrition therapy from a dietitian in Delhi for weight loss, weight gain, stress reduction, etc. 


Taking nutrition therapy helped Jai get a personalized approach to his custom dietary needs. We curated a diet plan taking into consideration his medical history, current health status, lifestyle, and personal preferences. He absolutely despised bitter gourd and had given an ultimatum that if he had to eat that in any of our diet plans, he would go and have a cheat meal instead. Needless to say, we kept bitter gourd miles away from his diet plan.


These nutritional diet plans ensured that his food chart was tailored specifically to him and his busy schedule, and it indeed led to better outcomes. By working with a registered dietitian in Delhi or wherever you’re from, you can also receive education and support to make sustainable lifestyle changes, improve your immune system, promote healthy weight management, and boost your energy levels, just like Jai did. 


I’m sure there are a lot of people floating in the same boat as Jai. We can’t blame them though, diet is often overlooked as a part of the ‘stress-battling’ picture. In a place like India where the population is growing at an astronomical pace every second, one has to really shine through all the cut-throat competition to get work opportunities, and even more so to succeed. This fearful mindset often leaves people crippled in their existing jobs. Although we do agree that problems are persistent in everyone’s lives, finding a solution is pivotal but for finding a solution, it is important to know how stress affects the body.


Whenever you get stressed, your body’s immediate response is to release adrenaline and cortisol, also known as the stress hormones into your body. A sudden spike in blood sugar and blood pressure is supplemented with the release of hormones and your heart starts to beat faster. These responses are designed to take you into ‘fight or flight’ mode wherein either you are equipped to overcome those challenges or find a way to escape them. The problem, however, is that in today’s world, the stress response always remains on high alert to the point that the body finds it very hard to recover. 


What is the solution? 


1) Eat a balanced diet


A nutritious and balanced diet can strengthen your immune system and also simultaneously repair damaged cells by providing the energy needed for the ‘fight or flight’ mode. As we explained above, whenever you get stressed, your hormones, blood sugar, and blood pressure spike. So, if you are in a stressful situation all the time, it will mess up your bodily functions. That is why it is important to neutralize and stabilize your levels to help your body cope well. We encourage you to eat whole foods and green leafy vegetables and avoid processed foods to see a staggering change in your stress levels. There’a a reason, they say “you are what you eat.”


2) Amp up your protein intake


Protein is the building block of life, everyone knows it. But what you may or may not know is that protein helps with muscle building and repair. If you are stressed, you tend to lose out on your muscle mass. This is where protein comes into play! Choose good proteins like lean meats, eggs, fish, pulses, nuts, and seeds, and incorporate them into your daily meals. Including these protein rich sources will also help slow down the release of sugar into the blood. We have written a dedicated blog wherein you will find everything you need to know about protein so if you’re on the fence as to what exactly you need to do to amp up your protein intake, do check out that blog! 


3) Don’t skip meals


I know what you’re thinking – easier said than done! Yes, we do agree that a highly stressful environment does not spare you the time or energy to cook or eat but you have to realize that not doing that is doing something much worse for your health. If you think you don’t have the time to cook, try meal prepping. Meal prepping is the concept of preparing your meals and foods ahead of time. It is gaining a lot of popularity among people who are busy or those who have hectic schedules, because it helps save a lot of time and resources. We recommend batch cooking for busy people as you can cook a lot of food and freeze it on your free day and not be bothered about cooking for the entire week. This ensures that you have full control over the nutritive and calorific value of the meals. Having small and frequent meals can help stabilize mood, energy levels and eradicate the constant feeling of fatigue. 


4) Avoid junk food


We understand on hectic days, it becomes impossible to stay in and cook. Although we don’t condone eating at a restaurant very often, we do condone the practice of choosing unhealthy foods from the menu. Our entire notion of ‘eating outside’ encompasses eating calorie-heavy, processed foods that are designed to spike up our sugar levels and promise taste first-and health later approach. Most places you go to have healthy options too, if you do not want to settle in for a Caprese salad, you can enjoy a decent serving of tandoori chicken. A lot of folks would overlook these healthy items and order triple cheese pizzas and saucy burgers which can worsen your stress levels. Also, make sure to not have alcohol as it can imbalance the blood sugar levels too. The science on alcohol is very consistent now- the ‘have one wine glass of wine a day’ data is flushed out.


5) Check your caffeine


Your favorite caffeinated beverages may give you a temporary kick, but consuming a whole lot of it can lead to prolonged fatigue and depletion of nutrients in the long haul. Remember- the quicker the high, the stronger the crash. If you cannot live without your teas and coffees, look for decaf options. Chamomile tea, fruit teas, ginger tea, or peppermint tea can be great caffeine free alternatives for you. 


6) Good quality sleep


Quality over quantity should be the thumb rule for your sleeping schedule. If you get sound sleep for 6 hours every day, you will wake up feeling fresh, happy, and energized. Whereas, even if you get disturbed sleep for 9 hours every day, you will wake up feeling groggy and irritated which further induces stress. So make sure to get sound sleep by setting a favourable environment that does not have a lot of noise pollution.



Best foods to help fight stress and anxiety



1) Whole grains



Have you ever experienced sudden happiness after consuming a piece of bread? No, it is not in your head. In fact, research has stated that carbohydrates can give a burst of Serotonin – A hormone that makes you happy and lets go of stress. If your Serotonin levels are enhanced, you would be able to lower your stress levels. This does not give you the green light to go and have that vada pao that you’ve been craving but yes, it does give you the provision to enjoy complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and whole grains. 


2) Fish



Apart from giving you healthy hair and glowing skin, Fish, especially fatty fish, is often considered beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety levels because it is a rich source of essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The omega-3 present in the fish can help fight depression as the nutrients can intertwine with mood lifting brain molecules and encourage a better frame of mind. If you are someone who does not like the taste or the smell of fish, you can opt for omega-3 supplements like fish oil. However, these supplements should always be bought from reputed brands and pharmacists and checked with your doctor or registered dietitian before beginning a routine. 


3) Nuts



Nuts are powerhouses of nutrients and people somehow do not understand the nutritive value of them despite thousands of studies done. Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are proven to reduce blood pressure and stress. They are also packed with magnesium. Magnesium has been found to be really good for anxiety and stress. 


4) Probiotics



Probiotics promote healthy gut bacteria that play a pivotal role in managing the body’s response to stressors, be it internal or external. By promoting a healthy balance of gut bacteria, probiotics can help support this regulation and reduce the negative effects of stress on the body. We also highly recommend probiotics in most diets as they help with chronic inflammation that is linked to major health problems including anxiety. 


5) High fiber foods



Fiber rich foods are gut friendly and can massively help in reducing stress levels. All fibers neutralize and stabilize your blood sugar. It also keeps you full for longer and helps with satiety which in turn prevents overeating and the stress associated with indulgence. We have a lot of clients that eat out of boredom and later on have a feeling of guilt. To tackle such incidents, we put a lot of high fiber foods in their diets for adequate satiety. These foods are often nutrient dense and contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial components.


6) Herbal tea



Ever heard of doctors recommending chamomile tea for good sleep? Wonder why they do that? The answer is simple – Drinking a hot cup of herbal tea is one of the best ways to naturally make yourself feel calm and composed. Herbal teas are great as they provide you with a dose of nutrition and give you all the goodness that you need to unwind. Certain herbs like lavender, chamomile, and lemon are shown to have relaxing effects on the mind and body. These herbs are also used in aromatherapy - a form of alternative medicine that uses essential oils and other aromatic plant compounds to promote health and well-being. Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts derived from plants that are believed to have therapeutic properties. 



These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.



You are not alone, everyone goes through periods of stress and anxiety – you, me, your neighbor’s grandmother, your favorite celebrity, and literally everyone! Life can be difficult but with the right guidance, you can overcome everything. All you need is the right support. What a gynecologist does for a woman’s fertility, a registered dietitian does for your body and mind, and that includes taking care of your daily bodily functions and ensuring that your mental health is at the best it could be. They ensure that your problem areas and pain points are eliminated from the root, all while taking care of the fact that you are getting the proper nutrients. 


If you have 2-3 goals and find it impossible to run them parallelly to each other, especially if they are a mix of body and mind goals, then let the best dietitians in Delhi help you achieve that in the minimum time frame.


Our registered dietitians in Delhi NCR at niwi.ai ensure to educate you on the benefits of nutrition so you can take charge of your health and be the best version of yourself. Our highly personalized meal plans include food options that provide you with the maximum nutritional value while making sure that you are not settling for bland and tasteless foods. 


Our nutritionists thoroughly evaluate your body type, genetics, activity levels, busy schedules, and even your tastebuds to give you a diet chart that would not even feel like a diet chart. Yes, you heard it right. In our opinion, food should be enjoyed. That is the reason we only include food options that you find appetizing. 


Ready for a health revolution? Join us on our mission to transform the nutrition landscape!


At niwi.ai, we have helped thousands of people build a healthy relationship with food to encourage confidence and self-love.

about the author

Renu Puri Senior Nutritionist at niwi.ai

Renu PuriCo-Founder at niwiM.Sc. in Foods & Nutrition

Renu Puri, a skilled expert with an M.Sc. in Foods & Nutrition, is dedicated to making India healthier through her initiative - niwi. Drawing from years of experience in providing computer training to top corporate clients in software and IT, Renu realized her true passion lies in promoting health and wellness. This led her to establish niwi, where she combines her expertise in technology with her love for nutrition. niwi specializes in understanding the deep rooted behavior patterns surrounding nutrition. Renu and her team offer personalized diet counseling, helping clients not only understand what to eat but also why. What sets niwi apart in a crowded industry of nutrition services is Renu's ethos of nurturing client's eating patterns and fostering a healthy relationship with food.

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