Feeling Anxious? Alcohol May Be to Blame
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Feeling Anxious? Alcohol May Be to Blame

Feeling Anxious? Alcohol May Be to Blame

After a shocking 2020, mental health seems to be on everyone’s minds these days. But have you considered that what you eat is related to how you feel? 

Researchers have coined your gut as the “second brain.” The reason for this is due to your enteric nervous system (ENS), which is made up of more than 200 million nerve cells that line your digestive tract. That is — more than in your spinal cord! There’s a lot of communication going on between your ENS and your brain.

Your second brain may not be able to complete a math problem for you, but it does play a role in emotional swings. In my previous article, I addressed foods that promote mental health. Here, I’m diving into one of three foods that can contribute to the degradation of your mood and mental power. I encourage you to consider your intake and try cutting out or cutting back on the foods we will cover in the coming issues to help you feel your best every day.

While a glass of wine at night can help you wind down initially, too much will cause negative effects in the body. You should aim for one drink for women per day and two for men. When we drink the recommended amounts, alcohol has a vasodilating effect, which boosts your circulation and blood flow, helping nutrients move throughout your body. 

Alternatively, consuming more than the recommended amount will have vasoconstrictive effects, elevating blood pressure and making it harder for your body to pump your blood and nutrients to the cells.

Excessive drinking can lead to disruptive sleep. In the wee morning hours, you may find yourself waking up because your liver is processing excess alcohol at that time. You may feel anxious or depressed the day (or days) after a bout of drinking. If you regularly drink heavily (> three or four drinks per day), consider how much better your sleep, mood, waistline and energy will be if you stick to drinking the recommended amount. 

I challenge you to give it a go! Try drinking according to my recommendation of one drink for women and two for men per day, for 30 days starting NOW. Remember that you cannot buy a new body, nor can you trade it in. Your physical and mental state is malleable by what you eat and how you take care of yourself on a regular basis. Practice being kind, respectful and intentionally nourishing yourself every day. It is amazing the perspective and purposeful energy this will bring to your life.

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Performance Dietitian Eleanor Baker MS, RDN, LDN formed Elevated Nutrition and Wellness so she could provide exceptional performance enhancement and preventative healthcare in a holistic manner, all with the understanding that exceptional healthcare is a progressive process and not a quick fix. She expanded her wellness reach in 2016 via telehealth and has worked with clients such as The PGA Tour, Jacksonville Jaguars, Florida Institute of Technology athletics department and many more.


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