If you’re in the process of planning for your wedding, you’ve probably already started (or are thinking about) changing what you eat. While the main purpose of a pre-wedding diet is to assure you look your best, it can be so much more than that. Among other problems, good nutrition can help lower your prenuptial jitters and help achieve a stress-free wedding. When coming up with a diet plan, try to implement the following suggestions on what to eat and what to avoid. This way, you can be sure you’re in tip-top shape mentally as well as physically on your wedding day.
More: Dark Leafy Greens and Beans
Dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach, as well as soy and black beans, are excellent sources of magnesium which is known to relieve anxiety. People who are stressed often have a diet low in magnesium and stress. Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough of this mineral, especially in the United States. Magnesium also offers other benefits, such as better sleep and lessened PMS symptoms. Aside from the examples mentioned above, you can also look to whole wheat, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and avocados to get your daily quota.
More: Healthy Fats
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, are a major source of omega-3s, which are known to ease depression and anxiety. However, other healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds are also beneficial. You can also buy fish oil supplements, but it’s best to get your nutrients directly from the source if you can.
A good cup of joe is something many of us look forward to in the morning. For some, it’s a source of liquid happiness, especially if we don’t roll out of bed easily. However, too much of it can backfire, causing symptoms of anxiety and jittery behavior. Caffeine, after all, increases cortisol. Not to mention, drinking caffeine too late in the day can interfere with sleep. While you don’t need to cut down on your caffeine if you don’t have any issues, it may be a good idea in times of high stress.
More: Citrus Fruits
Vitamin C does miracles for stress reduction by reducing cortisol levels in the body. Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, and lemons are all great sources of this vitamin, but you can also get it from strawberries, bell peppers, and avocados.
More: Eggs and Milk
Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D can be a wonder booster for your mood. It’s best to get it by spending some time in the sun, but you can also find it in eggs and milk. Eggs also contain tryptophan, which increases serotonin (the happiness hormone) levels in your brain. When it comes to vitamin D, be careful about supplements. It’s best to ask your doctor to check your vitamin D levels before taking it in pill form as it is possible to overdose on this vitamin.
For many people, alcohol is a go-to as a means of relaxation and reducing stress. And yes, it does have that effect at first. However, if you drink regularly or in large amounts, alcohol is known to worsen mental health symptoms, especially anxiety and depression. It’s better to limit your alcohol consumption to the occasional drink. Alcohol has a lot of calories anyway, and can easily sabotage any diet.
More: Fermented Foods
You might know that fermented foods are good for your digestion, but did you know that they affect your happiness as well? It’s true! A healthy gut is linked to a healthy emotional state. So load up on the yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha. You can also combine it with probiotic supplements for added benefits.
Yes, you read that right. Chocolate is good for your mental health, but only in moderation. A Swiss study confirmed that eating a little bit of chocolate daily does reduce overall stress levels. However, not all chocolate applies. Opt for dark chocolate, at least 60% cocoa, and choose a variety low in sugar. And when it comes to portioning, limit yourself to 1-2 ounces a day or else the benefit will be counteracted by the calories consumed.
More: Complex Carbs
Most diets will tell you that carbs are the devil, but that depends on what kind of carbs you’re talking about (and how much of them you eat). Complex carbs, unlike simple carbs, are actually great for reducing stress. Not only do they keep your blood sugar stable, which means you’ll be less cranky, but many healthy carb-rich foods also contain the necessary vitamins and minerals to help you keep your cool. Some examples of beneficial carbs include whole grain bread, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, beans, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables.
…And Less: Simple Carbs
You probably have heard this many times before, but too much sugar and refined carbs are pretty much always a bad idea. The spikes and crashes due to blood sugar jumps do no good for your nerves. Steer clear of added sugars, which can lurk in foods you’d never expect such as ketchup, beef jerky, pasta sauces, and packaged soups. Potatoes and bananas, on the other hand, are not as bad for you as you’d think and are actually full of complex carbs.
Always Diet Wisely
If you do go on a diet, avoid anything drastic and don’t try to lose a massive amount of weight at the last minute. Crash diets increase the amount of the stress hormone cortisol, so the moment you stop following the diet, you might gain more pounds than you lost. It’s best to adopt any changes slowly and at least a few months before the big day. For example, don’t go 100% keto if you’re always had a sweet tooth. Try instead to first remove all sweet treats from your daily intake, and then substitute refined carbs for complex ones, and so on.