“Just relax, and let it happen.”

“What will be, will be, don’t stress over it.”

Sound familiar? If you have been trying to conceive for six months or more, you may have lost count the number of times family or friends have offered supportive advice.

It is very easy for anxiety to set in if you have been trying to get pregnant for a while. However, stress and your overall mind-set can play a major role in conception.

The food we consume has a powerful effect on not only our body, but our minds and how we deal with stressful situations. If you are already feeling a bit anxious about trying to conceive, it is important to monitor what you are eating; you want to avoid increasing stress levels even further.

To help you make more informed choices about what you are eating, take a look at five foods that will increase stress levels.

1. White Breads & Pastries

White Breads & Pastries

Commonly found in breads and pastries, refined white flour can cause drastic changes in your blood sugar levels, and when there is a spike in blood sugar levels, inflammation occurs. Inflammatory foods place a massive strain on the digestive system and act as an additional stressor to the body.

In addition to inflammation, some people have a difficult time digesting the gluten contained in white breads, and many have a complete intolerance to gluten.

To avoid inflammation issues, try replacing white flour goods with brown rice, quinoa or choose gluten free alternatives which have been prepared with almond or coconut flour.

2. Sugary Foods

Sugary Foods

Do you reach for that tub of ice-cream or family-sized chocolate bar when you are stressed?

When we eat sugary foods the body creates a surge of feel-good hormones, serotonin and dopamine, and just like a drug, we crave more of it after the initial high. In order to stabilise blood sugar levels, the pancreas releases insulin to help absorb excess glucose; cue sugar crash. The drastic drop in blood sugar levels can make you feel panicky, and you will soon be seeking out your next high-sugar meal.

If you are eating high amounts of sugar you can quickly find yourself on the emotional blood sugar rollercoaster and overtime it will leave you feeling drained, irritable and stressed.

3. Salty Foods

Salty Foods

Salt may add a bit of flavour to bland food, but a diet high in salt can have a detrimental effect on your stress levels.

Consuming food containing a high amount of salt can increase blood pressure levels and put a strain on the heart, arteries and kidneys. As your heart works harder to pump blood around your body, adrenaline, the stress hormone is released which leaves people prone to edginess and anxiety.

When cooking at home, instead of using salt for seasoning, try using herbs and spices to add flavour to your food.

4. Caffeine

Caffeine

Do you live for your morning coffee?

Be wary, the side effects of excess caffeine can have a major effect on your mood. This is not exclusive to coffee, we are talking all caffeinated substances such as energy drinks and tea.

Although it can boost energy, caffeine stimulates the nervous system which can lead to an increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure levels.

Instead of guzzling down on a cup of Joe, try having a light herbal tea instead; it will hydrate your body and also help calm you down.

5. Alcohol

Alcohol

Yes, a few sips of wine might make you feel relaxed, but it can in fact exacerbate your stress levels.

As well as affecting overall liver health, alcohol acts as a depressant in the nervous system and can increase cortisol levels in the body.

Elevated levels of cortisol can often lead to a disrupted sleeping pattern, and with less quality sleep, you become less capable of managing stressful situations.