It’s that time of year when sugar is a mainstay ingredient in our food and festivities- even more than it usually is. From Halloween up until New Year’s, we enjoy all the carbs. But watch out. Research says sugar can increase anxiety. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo Pumpkin Pie and Christmas cookies this holiday season. But it does mean you should manage your sugar intake to protect your mental wellbeing. 

Sugar raises serotonin

Anxiety gets worse if serotonin levels are too high, according to research. But did you know that sugar raises serotonin, contributing to feeling more anxious? 

Sugar disrupts the gut-brain communication

Researchers continue to learn about the vagus nerve – the communication pathway between the gut and brain. Because of this key pathway, the brain can be negatively impacted when the gut is inflamed. We can exacerbate gut inflammation by eating inflammatory foods – sugar being a top offender.

Sugar can elevate stress hormones

Another reason why sugar contributes to anxiety is because when we consume sugar, our blood sugar levels rise. So, the pancreas secretes insulin to move the sugar out of the blood and into the cells. With too much sugar, and therefore, too much insulin, the cells simply stop responding to insulin. This is called insulin resistance and it impacts our stress levels, too. 

Carb-heavy comfort food might seem like the right thing to do when you’re stressed out, but it can actually make you feel more stressed and anxious. The research is there to prove it. This study shows that diets high in carbs can make anxiety worse.  

You don’t have to boycott sugar and carbs. But consider cutting back on processed foods and sugar whenever you can. Your anxiety will thank you. 

7 easy stretches for tight shoulders

If you work at a computer, there’s a very good chance your shoulders are pretty tight. But this tightness doesn’t stay in your shoulders. It can creep down into your arms and cause tightness in the neck, too. Besides this, it’s just super uncomfortable. So, if you’re feeling a bit worse for wear and you need to let loose, try these seven easy stretches. 

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5 ways to teach the brain to be happy

The internet abounds with tips how to be happy. And that’s all fine and well. But the truth is, the brain isn’t wired to be happy and positive. In fact, the brain is wired to be a Debby Downer and negative. So, if happiness is your goal, you’ve got to teach the brain how to be happy. Here’s how.

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