Stress is a part and parcel of modern life. The current COVID-19 pandemic is not helping, and experts say that stress levels have increased significantly since the start of the global health crisis. This has led to psychological distress in many people. The young and the old are particularly affected but others are not immune either. The realities have undergone a big change for almost all people. Most people are now working from home, many have suffered temporary unemployment, children are undergoing home-schooling and there is a lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues. All this takes some getting used to. According to the World Health Organisation, adapting to lifestyle changes such as these, and managing the fear of contracting the virus and worry about people close to us who are particularly vulnerable, are challenging for all of us. They can be particularly difficult for people with mental health conditions.
WHO also says that fear, worry, and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats, and at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown. So, it is normal and understandable that people are experiencing fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This translates to stress and anxiety. You can overcome this problem by making lifestyle changes. You can keep in touch with others via video call. Regular exercise helps too. But did you know that some foods can also help you deal with stress? Yes, there are many foods that you must add to your diet now to keep mental health problems away. Whole grains, antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies, legumes are good for mental health.
Here, let us take a look at a few foods that you must definitely add to your pandemic diet.
Get your carbs from whole grains during these stressful times. When you have healthy carbs, it stimulates the production of serotonin, the chemical that makes you feel better. So, add unrefined carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, quinoa and brown rice to your diet. It will also ensure that you get your daily quota of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Fatty fish can help you beat stress. These are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which is known to beat depression. You can add tuna, salmon, halibut, salmon, herring and sardines to your diet. But if you are a vegetarian, you can instead have chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts or even fish oil capsules.
Nuts and seeds
These are packed with many essential vitamins and minerals. Most nuts are a rich source of vitamin B fatty acids. So, munch on almonds, pistachios and walnuts whenever you get the hunger pangs. These are packed with magnesium which can help you keep mental health problems away. Moreover, nuts and seeds contain fatty acids, which boost overall health. But try and restrict yourself to a handful a day.
Fruits and veggies
This is the time when you must increase your intake of fresh fruits and veggies. These are rich in fibre and antioxidants. So have a lot of beans, green peas, leafy greens every day. Add berries, and citrus fruits to you diet too. These are rich in vitamin C, which reduces stress, anxiety and depression. Oranges, grapefruits and strawberries are the ideal choices here. You must also have avocados as these are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, fiber that reduce stress and anxiety.
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