Anxiety can be triggered by a lot of factors. With the stressors and demands of life, it’s not a surprise that many individuals feel as if they’re more prone now to anxiety. People feel as if they’re constantly bombarded with problems in their workplace, personal life, school, and even in some instances, their finances. For others, this is temporary and manageable, while there are also those that experience more of it in its severity.
Anxiety can also be due to any possible medical condition or health problem that one has to face. A person can feel anxious when they have a chronic illness, such as cancer or diabetes. Diet also plays a pivotal role, as caffeine and certain medications are also linked to anxiety.
Regardless of the cause of anxiety, it’s no secret that your choice of foods can help you feel calmer and boost your mood. What you put into your mouth affects how you feel. We call this concept the gut-brain connection. The gut-brain connection tells us that a healthy gut positively impacts your brain function. To keep your gut healthy, you need to eat the right foods. For one that has been diagnosed with anxiety disorders, this fact is good news as it means that you’ve got hope. Before you even become dependent on over-the-counter anti-anxiety pills, you now have a better recourse through starting with a diet and lifestyle change first.
Of the many diet options that are popular among the health-conscious population, one of the most popular today is the low-carb, vegan keto diet. Learn more about it in this article.
What Is the Vegan Keto Diet And Does It Help with Anxiety?
Let’s start by defining what a ketogenic diet is. The ketogenic diet or keto is a dietary approach where a person eats more fats, very little carbohydrates, and moderate protein. The goal here is to keep your carbs at the least minimum intake as possible. In doing so, your body relies on its stored energy and fat to function, allowing you to lose weight faster.
On a standard American diet, people get their energy from carbohydrates. When you’re on keto, your body gets used to tapping into its stored fat for fuel. Keto macronutrient ratios usually fall within the following ranges:
- 60-75% of calories from fat
- 5-10% of calories from carbs
- 15-30% of calories from protein
Using a keto calculator is beneficial in many cases because it helps you determine your specific macro numbers depending on your personal goals for weight loss or weight gain. At the same time, it makes sure that you stay in ketosis.
People who follow a vegan ketogenic diet meet their keto macros by eliminating all animal products and eating plant-based foods. Examples of these vegan foods are green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, and seaweed, and plant milks.
This is what’s great about going keto to achieve your health and wellness goals — the diet can be tailored to your food preferences. So yes, you can be a vegan and a keto dieter at the same time.
Since your body will also need to adjust, you don’t’ have to make this diet and lifestyle change abruptly. Even a small and gradual change is enough to give you that good start in sticking to a vegan ketogenic diet.
For instance, because your body is going through a lot of changes, you might also experience certain changes in your physical body, such as a rash. This is completely normal and curable as long as you know how to cure and avoid keto rash. It’s important, therefore, that you research this diet, ensuring that whatever changes your body experiences, you know how to handle it.
Here’s How Vegan Keto Alleviates Anxiety
When we experience stress and anxiety, our cortisol levels increase, making us crave for sweet, sugar-laden foods. Cortisol is the stress hormone produced by your adrenal glands. While sweet foods induce positive feelings as your blood sugar levels rise, these feelings do not last very long.
This “sugar high” is followed by a crash in which your blood sugar drops below the normal range (hypoglycemia). It happens because your body releases large amounts of insulin to try to normalize that blood sugar. A study shows that hypoglycemia triggers the release of adrenaline which then leads to anxiety.
Recall that on a keto diet, you need to drastically reduce all carbohydrates. As a result, your blood glucose stays within the normal range, making you more emotionally healthy. One study of keto in psychiatry revealed that male rats who were fed with ketone supplements had reduced anxiety.
Following a vegan ketogenic diet to relieve anxiety also entails that you consume low-carbohydrate, non-starchy plant-based foods that contain mood-boosting vitamins and minerals.
10 Keto-Friendly Vegan Foods That Relieve Anxiety
Here’s what you should know: Not all plant-based foods are good for keto. A common mistake that vegans planning to go keto make is that they confuse a high-carb food for a low-carb food. On top of eating plenty of healthy fats, it’s important to watch out for high-carb sources — because truth be told, many foods in a vegan diet are full of carbs.
For the purpose of dealing with anxiety, here are ten keto-approved vegan foods that work wonders on your mental health:
- Spinach – Spinach contains vitamin B which reduces your anxiety levels. As a keto-friendly vegetable, a one-cup raw serving contains only one gram of carbohydrate.
- Avocados – They’re one of the most versatile keto foods since you can add them to your dips, salads, soups, or breakfast recipes. Avocados are a rich source of omega-3, a fatty acid that regulates the flow of your neurotransmitters.
- Kale – There are so many delicious ways to eat kale on a vegan keto diet. What about a quick breakfast smoothie made of kale and almond milk? If you love chips for snacks, you can make kale chips by baking curly kale.
- Pecans – Nuts such as pecans are high in good fats, making them great for keto. They’re a source of antioxidants. These antioxidants combat oxidative stress which is linked to anxiety.
- Asparagus – This vegetable isn’t just a stress-buster. It also comes with a lot of health perks like lower blood pressure, weight loss, and a stronger immune system.
- Walnuts – After coming home from a stressful day at school or work, munch on a bowl of walnuts. They’re another excellent source of omega-3 to reduce your cortisol hormone levels.
- Turmeric – The active ingredient in turmeric called curcumin has been said to treat inflammation, a factor of mood disorders. One study shows that curcumin balances the brain’s neurotransmitter levels. Administering curcumin boosts serotonin which helps you relax.
- Blueberries – Blueberries are great for snacking on and adding to your smoothies and desserts. They provide you with good amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin C regulates cortisol in a stressful situation.
- Chia seeds – You can add chia seeds to any plant milk such as almond milk or coconut milk to create a stress-busting pudding. Eat it for breakfast or as a dessert. One serving has only 8 grams of carbs.
- Olive oil – While olive oil isn’t really a food, it’s good for pan-frying vegetables and it makes an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). Including MUFAs in your diet improves your brain function.
All these said, it’s now safe for you to conclude that a vegan ketogenic diet helps beat anxiety. Low-carbohydrate vegetables keep your blood sugar from racing up and down, preventing those sudden mood changes. Make sure to stick with veggies that contain micronutrients that benefit brain health.
Because you’re essentially taking in healthier meal options, your body and mind in general also tend to function better. This is a whole lot different from how it would’ve been, had you consistently been sticking to your unhealthy diet. If you’ve been feeling constantly anxious lately, give this diet change a try for you to see the many positive changes that it can bring, not just to your mood, but even to your overall health.