In this day and time, we need all the help we can get. Just turn on the news or your computer, and these days you will see very little positivity. Along with the world’s news, we have our own lives and the stresses of home, work, finances, family and unplanned expenses. Some fall to binge eating, grabbing fast-food, or not eating at all. These lifestyle habits are contributing to our stress levels. Putting things into our bodies that are doing more harm than good can result in acid reflux, ulcers, headaches, constipation, high-blood pressure, and bloating. All these can cause even more stress.
NBC news had a report today on 5 foods that have natural ingredients to work with the triggers and effects of stress in our systems and they are all very nutritious in many ways. These are the foods and how they help us maintain more of a calm balance in our body’s foundation.
- Avocado–Avocados are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which fight inflammation (a reaction to cellular stress), as well as numerous other anti-inflammatory compounds. The healthy fats in this fruit promote blood flow to the brain, and are also linked to helping lower blood pressure. Add them to your meals or just snack on them when you are feeling stressed.
- Leafy Greens–Greens like spinach, kale and broccoli rabe are filled with folic acid, a nutrient that helps maintain normal levels of serotonin (that feel-good hormone). Asparagus and broccoli are also high in this water-soluble vitamin. Have a meal with just these as a salad or make a smoothie.
- Dark Chocolate–No less than 70% dark chocolate is one of the healthiest foods we can eat. Dark chocolate has been shown to increase serotonin in the brain because of the high content of magnesium which also reduces anxiety.
- Cashews–containing zinc that help manage the body’s response to stress. People with chronic stress have seen improvement by adding zinc to their diet.
- Grapefruit–high in vitamin C which reduces cortisol in the body improving physical and psychological stability.
Evolutionary Psychiatry in Psychology Today suggests along with certain foods already mentioned by NBC, to add the following to help with stress and it’s effects:
- Nature therapy–walks, hikes, taking time to enjoy the fresh air and scenery
- Adding spices and herbs to your diet
- Keeping your mouth healthy-gums and teeth
- Keeping your life clean–home and surroundings
- Proper amounts of sleep/rest
- Avoiding the “western” diet as much as possible–unhealthy gut
Stress is a part of life, and you can’t always avoid it. But you can try to avoid situations that can cause it, and you can control how you respond to it. Manage your time and find your purpose. By fulfilling our purpose we find peace amidst the stresses. Stress has so many effects on the body but it’s up to us to do all we can to have a healthier/happier life.
Photo courtesy of www.girlgonestrong.com