Nutritional Choices That Stop Stress in Its Tracks
When someone mentions the words “food” and “stress” in the same sentence, you’re probably instantly looking at the connection between too much stress and using food as comfort.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying food. We’ve always been a society where meals are meant for bonding with friends and family. Of course, using it in an unhealthy way, to suppress feelings, is never good.
But did you know there’s another way to look at the food and stress connection? Certain foods can actually help you in the stress relief department – you just have to know which foods to choose over cakes and other unhealthy carbs.
There are foods that suppress cortisol in your body. Cortisol is the hormone that gets released in your body when you’re under stress. It makes you feel that “fight or flight” feeling.
It’s not bad once in awhile, but chronic cortisol can damage your body at a cellular level. Instead, you want foods that keep cortisol under control, like nuts, for instance! It doesn’t take many, but a handful of nuts allow the magnesium to keep cortisol levels under control.
Do you think your blood pressure spikes when you’re stressed out? It probably does. If this is a danger to you, or you want to feel calmer, reach for a food high in potassium like a banana or an avocado.
Asparagus, which is rich in folic acid, helps boost your mood, which directly combats that stressed-out feeling. Broccoli does the same thing. Eat it raw so that the nutrients don’t get zapped through the cooking process.
Sugary foods combat stress, too. Didn’t expect to hear that, did you? But all it takes is a teeny amount on your tongue to do the job, so eat a fruit-filled sorbet with natural sugars instead of full fat ice cream.
Stress takes a toll on your body. With cortisol coursing through your veins, your cells have a hard time repairing what goes wrong. That’s why your immune system takes a hit when you’re stressed. Foods rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, like blueberries, can help you feel calm and healthier during stressful times.
Are you the type of person who goes on full alert when you’re stressed out? If your adrenaline gets pumping, opt for an oily, omega-3 filled fish to help soothe your mood.
We mentioned cakes and fatty carbs initially. Carbs can actually help keep you calm by boosting serotonin levels, but choose whole grain options instead. Complex carbs don’t have you crashing like the others do.
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