Nature’s Stress-Relievers - Common Foods to Combat Stress
Posted on 02 September 2017
When you’ve got tons of deadlines to work on, social gatherings to attend to, emotional turmoil and and daily routines to face, it will all come together into one heaping pile of mess. You’d be tempted to reach out for your phone and order one whole pizza for yourself, or go out and buy your usual comfort snack, but that’s a big no no! It’ll slow you down and make you feel groggy that you won’t be able to face your stressful situations head on. Not only that, you’ll gain too much weight which will contribute to your growing anxiety. Instead of consuming your usual comfort foods, a healthy eating tip would be to consume some of these mood-boosting foods.
Carbohydrates have been known to help in the production of a stress relieving hormone known as serotonin. This hormone is synthesized in the GIT and brain, which gives your body a calming effect. If you think this gives you an excuse to binge on your favorite carbo-loaded treats like burgers, pizzas, donuts, and the like, well think again! Studies have also shown that stressful situations increase blood sugar levels in the body, so you must limit simple sugars in order to prevent hyperglycemic events. So, in order to boost your serotonin levels, go for complex sugars like oatmeal, brown rice, wheat bread, and the like.
Broccoli, or foods high in folic acid, has been shown to increase mental and cognitive function in stressed individuals. This means that when you’re stressed, your mind tends to get fuzzled, thus inhibiting you from focusing on the task at hand. Mental block can thus worsen your stress and anxiety. This can be avoided by consuming more folic acid in your diet. A healthy life tip for you is to stock up on your vegetable greens (broccoli, asparagus, spinach, etc.), since these foods are rich in folic acid.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries; basically all types of berries are high in anthocyanin, a potent antioxidant which scavenges free radicals in your body. These free radicals promote cell-damage and are increased during the body’s stressed state. Not only will berries reduce stress damage, they can also improve skin health and may even lessen cancer occurrence. You can’t go wrong with adding this to your diet. A tip for healthy eating would be to add these to your morning oatmeal, it’ll add more flavor and nutrients to your meals..
Studies have shown that individuals who consume ample amounts of chamomile tea every day have exhibited decreased levels of stress and anxiety. Not only that, but they also have improved sleep cycles. So not only will you be stress-free, you’ll also have improved sleep. Also, drinking it warm adds to the soothing effect by promoting relaxation and rejuvenation. Grab some at your local supermarket and notice the improvement in your overall mood.
It’s no surprise that chocolate is in this list since it contains theobromine and anandamide - mild stimulants that help mimic effects of certain drugs. Also, they increase serotonin and endorphin levels in your system. This will increase your sense of relaxation and happiness. However, not all chocolates are created equal. Dark chocolates contain less of the bad constituents of chocolate like sugar and fat, as compared to milk chocolate. They also have high levels of flavonoids that lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular function. However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t overdo your chocolate consumption because it is high in calorie content. Just a small amount can already provide you with great benefits. A healthy tip for eating dark chocolate is to keep some in your bag or your refrigerator as a snack. Only consume up to 2 ounces a day.
This fruit is high in vitamin B complex which promotes brain function and memory. This will make you more alert during stressful situations. Also, if you’re chronically stressed, it can lead to serious heart problems. Avocados can help combat this since they’re also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and potassium that are known to improve cardiovascular health. Also, a healthy eating tip for those who are trying to lose weight is to try consuming around a fourth of an avocado every morning. It’ll help you feel fuller during the day, thus preventing you from binging on unhealthy snacks.
Beef is a good source for zinc, a mineral associated with improved wound healing, enhanced immunity, and increased libido in males. Zinc is used for cell signaling in all parts of the body, but it’s prominent mostly in the brain. Decreased levels of this mineral have been seen in cases of ADHD, aggression, reduced memory, learning deficits, seizures, and other stress-related problems. Increasing zinc consumption can lessen or prevent these problems from affecting individuals. Other common foods that are high in zinc are oysters, crabs, and fortified breakfast cereal. Grass-fed beef are also known to have higher levels of omega-3 and lower levels of omega-6 as compared to grain-fed beef. They also have lower amounts of toxins, which makes it a healthier option.
Water not only quenches thirst and temporarily relieves the body from dehydration, it also improves the overall hydration status and blood flow of the body. Improving blood flow can help stimulate endorphin production in the body, thus increasing your overall sense of happiness. Don’t miss drinking your water daily. Around 2 liters a day will help you not only look better but feel better as well.
These are just some of the natural and common foods you can consume to combat stress. A tip for healthier living would be to start stocking up on these and add them to your diet. You’ll be cooler and calmer, trust me.
AUTHOR BIO: Mumsy & Bub is an Australian-based community of mothers who aim to inspire and educate mothers about the ups and downs, and in-betweens of motherhood. Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for exciting news and updates. You may also send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.