Don't underestimate the power of food to soothe stress and counteract the damaging effects of chronic pressure. Eating can be a stay-calm trick; provided you eat right! Stress eating on unhealthy foods is not the answer. Instead bone up on some foods that can help you beat stress. Remember - Stress can shrink Hippocampus - a part of the brain essential for memory. High stress increases the production of catecholamines that acts as harmful hormones which purges the body of Magnesium resulting in cellular destruction. The damage done to the human body and mind by chronic levels of stress hormones is very high.
The choices you make on your plate absolutely influence how you are going to feel. Food is a powerful modifier when it comes to depression and the brain. With judicious choice of food and snacks that balance several beneficial nutritive elements, create a sort of 'depression defense portfolio' and strengthen your brain and body in a way that boosts emotional well being.
Eat and beat beat stress
To achieve emotional balance, it is necessary to improve nutritional balance. Fats, carbohydrates and protein in your daily diet along with other beneficial nutrients are necessary. Don't skip enough hydration. Do not skip meals and instead have smaller meals. Skipping meals can have a tremendous toll on your health and state of mind. Stop eating junk food, and instead increase fiber and whole foods. Some super foods that can help beat stress are discussed below:
Avocados: Vitamin B is necessary for healthy nerves and brain cells. Feelings of anxiety are often rooted in deficiency of vitamin B. Avocados are rich in stress relieving B vitamins. They are high in monounsaturated fat and potassium. These help to lower blood pressure. Next time, when stressed out reach for a non dairy DIY version of avocado blended with ripe banana, vanilla extract, nut milk, and non nutritive sweetener. Freeze and drink.
Skim milk: A glass of warm milk is an age-old remedy for insomnia and restlessness. Calcium in milk can reduce muscle spasms and soothe tension. It can also reduce stressful PMS symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety and irritability. According to research released in Archives of Internal Medicine, women who drank four or more servings of low-fat or skim milk per day have a 46 % lower risk of PMS misery than the ones who had no more than one serving per week. The protein lactium in milk can lower blood pressure.
Oatmeal: Serotonin is the relaxing brain chemical that carbohydrates can make the brain produce. The more slowly your body absorbs carbs, the more steadily serotonin flows. Thick hearty oatmeal is high in fiber; it is one of the few things that take longer for the stomach to digest. Topping it with a swirl of jam can quicken release of serotonin. As coarse oats are higher in fiber and the corollary is that it takes longer to digest – meaning the calming effect actually lasts longer.
Asparagus: To boost folic acid which is often linked to depression, asparagus is the ideal nutrient. It is easy to fit asparagus into any meal. For instance, sauté some asparagus and use it for a tasty omelet. Asparagus can also be steamed and used as a side for meat, fish or poultry.
Almonds, walnuts and pistachios: All these are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that bolsters the immune system. Almonds contain vitamin B and this helps the body to hold up against unpleasant events. Either eat fresh almonds or a quarter cup of almond butter on high tension days. For variety, spread some almond butter on fruit slices or whole wheat crackers. Alternatively opt for pistachios or crack walnuts.
When stress strikes adrenaline raises blood pressure to boost energy. Eating 1 ½ ounces or a handful of pistachios a day lowers blood pressure and your heart does not have to work overtime. Walnuts are good at lowering blood pressure both at rest and under stress. An ounce of walnuts can also be added to salads, cereals and oatmeal. Research so strongly backs the health benefits of walnuts that the US Food and Drug administration goes to recommend 1 ½ oz of walnuts per day.
Blueberries: Berries pack a powerful punch of antioxidants and vitamin C to counter the effects of stress hormones like cortisol. Blueberries help neurons in the brain to communicate with each other more effectively - according to Dr.James Joseph, a scientist at the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the US Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center. Freeze blue berries and have them for a cold berry snack. Or boost the nutrition by a serving of yogurt or high fiber cereal with blue berries.
Oranges: The magic nutrient vitamin C in oranges can help return blood pressure and levels of cortisol to normal faster. As such, vitamin C is a well known immune system booster. For that quick burst of vitamin C, simply eat a whole orange or drink a fresh squeezed orange juice without added sugar.
When stressed, the body releases cortisol, which can lead to excess weight gain around the stomach. Capsicum, oranges, blueberries and carrots are ideal to help relax a tense jaw.
Salmon: More fish in your dish is bound to help you feel at ease. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon keeps cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when tense. Salmon is one of the best sources of omega 3 and consuming 4 ounces thrice a week can protect prevent heartburn when those stress hormones surge.
Scientific evidence suggests that increased dietary omega 3 consumption helps decrease depression. Foods high in omega 3 other than salmon include sardines, tuna, trout, walnuts and hemp.
As your body needs protein power to guard off permanent stress, consume fish, chicken, lean red meat, eggs, milk and beans at meal time. A diet insufficient in protein can reduce your immunity and body defense. Oily fish like salmon, trout, tuna and sardines are good choices because they supply essential fats capable of thinning blood and thus counteract the blood thickening properties of adrenaline.
Turkey: Amino acid tryptophan is found in turkey. And tryptophan signals the brain to release the feel-good chemical serotonin which promotes calmness and even sleepiness.
Dark chocolate: Nibble on dark chocolate slowly so as not to overdo it. Curl with your favorite book and savor a small slab and allow your stresses to melt away. High Flavonoids are lauded for their relaxing properties and chocolate contains phenethylamine, a chemical substance that enhances her mood. The darker the chocolate, the healthier it is!
Friendly fats and carbohydrates
Plant based fats are vital for brain health as they keep the cell membranes fluid. Carbohydrates produce serotonin and this floods us with good feeling and calmness. Complex Carbs contain fiber, and this helps slow blood sugar level changes and reduce negative effects on mood. To get the most out of sustained energy, combine a complex carbohydrate with protein, and another nutritional depression fighter. A cup of skim milk for instance has carbohydrate and protein at the same time. It is a great snack to squelch hunger. Or a cup of hemp seed beverage for a snack containing a combination of macro-nutrients is welcome.
Spinach: Folate rich food like spinach and kale can boost your body to process and lower homocysteine levels. As such, high levels of homocysteine can damage blood vessels and also interfere with the flow of blood and nutrients to the brain. Sunflower seed is yet another good source of folate, and this helps your body produce a pleasure inducing brain chemical dopamine.
It is quite true that many of us turn to Mac and cheese; chocolate chips cookies, fried chicken, ice cream and donuts for comfort. But these foods can make us better for a few minutes but the negative mood will swing back into action. The next time you feel overwhelmed, stay focused and heap some super foods on your plate.