Blog post provided by www.postivehealthwellness.com and written by Karen Reed
Stress is a silent killer. It raises your blood pressure and puts unnecessary strain on your whole body. Your organs can’t work properly, and the stress hormones make it harder for your brain to release happy hormones.
You need to find ways to get rid of the stress from your body. While exercise is powerful, so is making a few changes to your diet. It’s time to start adding some stress-fighting foods to your meals and as snacks.
With the right foods, you get a balance of your nutrients and in the hormones in your body. You’ll also get rid of the guilty for eating foods that are just empty calories, which automatically reduces your stress and anxiety.
So, here is your ultimate list of foods that you want to start adding to your diet.
Stress and depression have been linked to low levels of folic acid. It makes sense when you remember that folic acid helps with the development of cells in the body. If your brain cells are struggling, so will your hormone levels. You need to support every aspect of your body if you want to improve the release of the right chemicals from the brain.
Asparagus is filled with folic acid. Your body will absorb more without the need of taking store-bought multivitamins. In fact, asparagus is so good that you get two-thirds of your daily intake of folic acid with just one cup of asparagus. Chances are you can eat more than that of this delicious vegetable easily.
You’ll also find that asparagus is extremely easy to cook. You can boil and grill it or even add it to your stir-fries. It works extremely well as a bed for fish or chicken. If you’re looking for a healthy snack, asparagus is something to reach out for.
There was once a view that avocado was bad for you. It is full of fat, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will make you fat. It’s unsaturated fat, which is good for you and will help to line your arteries to protect your heart.
Likewise, the healthy fats will protect your brain and keep your stress hormones to a minimum. Healthy fats mean more B vitamins. They help to support the cell structure and hormonal control.
Many scientists have found that those who have low levels of B vitamins tend to suffer from depression. So, you want to boost your levels, and there’s no better way.
On top of this, the monounsaturated fats within the avocado will help to lower your blood pressure. Your body isn’t under as much stress so the happy hormones can release much quicker and easier than before.
Blueberries don’t just help to relieve stress, but they also help to battle against the damage that stress can cause. This is great news for your overall health, right?
Let’s look at the damage first. When you’re stressed, your cell structure becomes damaged. It needs your immune system to help repair the damage, but your body is suffering from the lack of nutrients. After all, your body doesn’t absorb nutrients as well when it is fighting against the stress hormones. There are high chances that you don’t have the antioxidants or vitamin C in your body to help.
Well, this is where blueberries come into play. They are filled with vitamin C and powerful antioxidants. They instantly get to work to repair damage and protect your cells against free radicals. The healthier your body is, the less stressed you will feel daily.
The best thing about blueberries is that they are extremely easy to add to your diet. You can eat them raw, add them to oats, or create ice cream with them to feel like you’re eating something naughty. You can also add them to yogurt or milk to create a smoothie. Just don’t forget to add some kale or spinach to boost your nutrition with smoothies.
Yes, you will want to reach for the cheeseburger when you’re stressed, but you don’t really need that. In fact, the cheeseburger or the bar of chocolate will just make you feel worse. What you really want to reach for is the dark leafy greens.
Okay, no you don’t want to reach for them, but your body needs you to reach for them. Dark leafy greens like broccoli and kale are filled with nutrients. They have iron and folate to support your cell structure and energy levels, but they’re not the best part. They also have dopamine.
Yes, dopamine is a natural nutrient and something your body will benefit from when stressed. It helps to relax the body and release the happy, painkilling hormones from your brain. These get to work to reduce a number of stress hormones that are in your body.
Dark leafy greens have proven positive in stress studies focused on students. The students who had the healthier and balanced diets had lower stress levels.
It is going to be hard to focus on the healthy diet and train your brain into craving these when you’re struggling with stress. It’s important to remember just how good they are to help calm down when you feel like you’re drowning in life.
When you eat a turkey dinner at Christmas or Thanksgiving, do you ever feel tired afterward? You get that feeling of a food coma and just want to curl up and go to bed, right?
This isn’t because you’ve eaten too much but because you’ve eaten the right type of food. Turkey is full of an amino acid called tryptophan, which is completely healthy for you and something that you need to get into your system when you’re stressed.
Why do you feel so calm after getting this amino acid? Well, it releases the serotonin in your brain. This is the happy hormone that also helps to regulate your hunger and make you feel much calmer than you did before eating. There’s a satisfied feeling after eating, and your body wants you to relax and sleep afterward.
If you’re not a meat-eater, you don’t need to think that you’re going to miss out. Tryptophan is also in nuts and seeds. You can also get some from eggs, fish, tofu, beans, and even oats. There really isn’t an excuse not to get it.
The best thing about this amino acid is that some of the foods on the list will be ones that you want to reach for. You likely want to snack on something that seems bad for you when stressed. Well, what about a handful of nuts and seeds? They sound bad for you but are very good in a moderate amount.
In fact, we’ll move on them next.
It’s time to put some nuts, seeds, and dried fruit into a bag and create your own trail mix. Keep the dried fruits to a minimum because of the sugar, but add a few raisins, dried cranberries, and papaya just for that little bit of a sweet kick.
The benefit is that you feel like you’re eating something bad for you. You trick your brain into thinking that you’re satisfying the stress cravings of sugar and junk food. In truth, you’re getting a handful or two of healthy nuts, seeds, and nutrients.
Let’s start with the tryptophan that we mentioned above. The nuts and seeds are full of this amino acid to help with the release of the serotonin. Of course, because you feel like you’re eating something naughty that you know is good or you, your cravings are met, so you start to feel happier because of that.
Nuts are also full of healthy fats and protein. These regulate your hunger and help to support your cell growth and repair. You’ll also get more selenium, which can help to keep stress levels to a minimum. Most of us are deficient in selenium, which is often noted by that tired and drained feeling. Of course, most of us believe that it’s iron that causes this problem. When you don’t feel as tired, you can push the happy hormone through and handle situations that would usually be stressful when you’re tired.
At the same time, you get plenty of vitamins E and B. These nutrients are especially found in almonds, so make sure you add them to your trail mix—if you’re not allergic. The vitamins will boost your immune system to help protect against the damage of the stress hormones.
Salmon is another food that you want to add to your list when you feel stressed. While it does have some tryptophan, this amino isn’t the main reason for adding it to your stress-fighting food list.
It’s the omega 3 fatty acids that are beneficial. You’ll link omega 3 to the brain health a lot, and this is where the stress comes from. Your brain starts to release the cortisol (the stress hormones) and will keep releasing that until you find a way to battle against it.
The Omega 3 helps to boost the cell growth and repair within the brain. The fatty acids and amino acids work together to release more happy hormones to fight against the stress hormones that have been released.
At the same time, you’ll get enough protein to make you feel fuller. You’ll fight against cravings that your brain thinks you need and feel happier knowing that you’ve stuck to a healthy diet.
Did you know that bacteria in your gut can cause stress? This sounds weird, but it just shows how much your body works together to create a fully working system. Your digestive system and your brain need to be in the balance with each other.
Well, this means you need to keep the bacteria in your gut to a minimum. Well, you need to keep the bad bacteria in your gut to a minimum.
Natural yogurt is excellent for this. It has the good bacteria that fights against the bad stuff and removes it from the system. At the same time, you get a diary to help support the growth of your bones, while adding anti-inflammatory properties to help keep the inflammation response to stress and bacteria to a minimum.
Make sure you get yogurt that has probiotics in them. These are the good bacteria that will fight against the bad in your system.
It’s time to add some coarse oats to your diet. They are filled with fiber and keep your digestive system working. At the same time, they help to balance your body and reduce the stress hormones being released.
There are a few reasons that oats work. The first is that they are filling. The fiber breaks down slowly, so you feel fuller throughout the day. You won’t want to snack as much or counting down the hours for your next meal. This instantly cuts down the stress, as your brain isn’t panicking that you won’t get food later. The effects also last longer, since the fiber takes the longest out of all food groups to break down.
Oats also help to release the serotonin in the body. You get that calm feeling. Watch out because you can feel a little sleepy from this food.
But aren’t oats also a carb? Well, yes and no. They are a carb but not the type of carb that you’re thinking about. Oats will not make your blood sugar rise. They have the opposite effect. The stress in your body will make your blood sugar rise, but the oats help to balance that by removing the stress and getting your blood sugar levels down naturally to protect against the insulin response because of the fiber.
The foods above are all ones that you can add to your cupboards, fridge, and freezer. The next time you feel stressed, think about the meals that you’ll make and the foods you’ll reach for.
You may think that you need the chocolate bar, but it’s not going to do you any good. Instead, you want to focus on foods that will replace nutrients that the cortisol is trying to get rid of. You need to add nutrients that will support the immune system and carry out repair work as well as prevention work.
Focus on a diet full of protein and fiber. You’ll be satisfied for longer and get the amino acids that release the serotonin rather than cortisol. Not only will you keep stress levels at a minimum, but you’ll also feel less depressed and anxious.
The great news is that you’ll also support your weight loss efforts and boost your overall health. Just think about all the extra nutrients you’ll get without adding the extra calories. Even adding some nuts and seeds to your diet isn’t going to cause the calorie intake to shoot up that much, and you’ll snack less throughout the day! It’s a win-win situation.
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I’m going to give it to you straight: I believe that bars are really a last resort option. You’ve entirely run out of snacks, you’re stuck in a 4 hour meeting, airplane food grosses you out, or eating on the subway makes you feel awkward. See what I’m saying? We live in a world where real, whole, and natural foods are generally ubiquitous. If you have the opportunity to design your meals and snacks, why settle for often processed ingredients, loads of fat, or excess sugar?
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