Stress and burnout require a multitude of holistic approaches to manage effectively. One major way is through our nutrition. We eat 3-5 times every day and our food can control our mood! Here are my top 9 tips to burnout proof your body.
1. Eat three meals a day. You want to keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day, no huge surges and no big drops. Skipping meals can drop your blood sugar and cause anxiety, irritability, overeating, and metabolism disruption. Only snack if you need to. If you feel low when your cortisol naturally dips during the day, have a snack high in fibre and protein to support your energy. The image below shows you the times that's likely to be.
2. Ensure you have enough protein. At breakfast aim for 30g of protein. You’ve been fasting overnight and this is your first meal to set yourself up for the day. You should aim for around 1 gram of protein per kg of body weight throughout the day.
3. Don’t avoid carbohydrates. This will interfere with your gut health which can cause further anxiety and even depression. Complex carbs are best as they’re high in fibre and are thought to increase your serotonin levels, which has a calming effect. So focus on whole grains like oats, quinoa, rice and whole grain bread and cereals, fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. Steer clear of foods that contain simple carbohydrates such as sugary foods and drinks.
4. Never fear fats. Good fats are essential to keep you feeling full and satisfied after a meal, they give your body energy and help you to absorb vitamin and minerals, and we need fat to produce important hormones. Try avocado, olive oil, cheeses, fatty fish and nuts and seeds.
5. Eat balanced meals! Aim for 45-65% Carbohydrates, 10-35% Protein and 20-35% Fat at each meal. This will balance out your blood sugar and keep your energy stable for longer.
Complex carbs are best as they’re high in fibre and are thought to increase your serotonin levels, which has a calming effect
6. Drink plenty, and I mean plenty of water. Start working your way up, an extra cup a day to 3 litres. I’ve done it and I can tell you it feels amazing. It improves your energy and your mood, it stops you from eating unnecessarily. You really have to try it to believe it.
7. Limit your caffeine intake. I know that sounds awful and it can be hard but caffeine can trigger a cortisol response in your body and only make you feel more stressed. If you drink a lot of coffee, wean yourself down slowly or you risk the dreaded caffeine 'cold-turkey' headache. You can try decaf, green tea, chai tea, or earl grey tea first as they contain less caffeine. I love mushroom tea, my favourite brand is ‘Super Shrooms’. It contains four adaptogenic mushrooms - lions mane, reishi, chaga, and cordyceps, plus raw cacao, masala chai, turmeric, cinnamon, and Himalayan salt. It's really delicious and energising and contains no caffeine at all.
8. Limit alcohol. It just doesn’t do anything good for your body. Yes, you may feel relaxed and content but it depletes your B Vitamins, disrupts your sleep and contributes to anxiety. You will feel better without it.
9. And finally, watch out for food sensitivities. For some people, food sensitivities may lead to shifts in mood, including irritability or anxiety. If you’re unsure, get tested. Ask your doctor or Health Practitioner.