Did you know that eating certain foods can help you beat stress and keep it at bay? Even some comfort foods — like the old faithful standby of warm, delicious oatmeal — can boost seratonins, which are chemicals in the brain that produce calming sensations. Some foods reduce adrenaline and cortisol levels as well. And of course a healthy, nutritious diet can shore up your immune system and lower your blood pressure, helping you become more healthy and relaxed.
Slow (Complex) Carbs
Slow carbs are non-processed, which means your body works harder over a longer period of time to break down and use them. This translates to a smoother, more steady supply of energy and calm-inducing seratonins. Get off the insulin-spiking blood-sugar roller coaster by saying goodbye to high-sugar, highly-processed, fast carbs. Try whole grains and old-fashioned steel-cut oatmeal or pearled barley instead.
Vitamin C – Rich Foods
You may already know to take plenty of vitamin C to build a strong immune system, beat back colds and kick other infections. But did you know there are even better ways to get your C than eating oranges? Incorporate plenty of sweet red bell peppers and guava (try it in a smoothie!) to your diet and feel your immune system power up as your stress level decreases!
As Popeye says, “I’m strong to the ‘finich’ ‘cause I eat my spinach!” Part of the reason Popeye does so well on this nutritional advice is that spinach is strong in magnesium, which gets depleted when we are under a lot of stress. Low magnesium is often a culprit in stress headaches, fatigue, and other stress-related ills. In addition to spinach, you can enjoy salmon, soybeans, and broccoli.
Known partly as a great reducer of high blood pressure, potassium can be found in passion fruits like bananas, mango, and papaya. Can you say stress-beating smoothie? Or whip together a batch of guacamole; avacados are not only high in potassium, they can really satisfy the stress-induced urge for a high-fat treat.
The B vitamins are marvelous for helping make the body more resilient under stress. They metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy (this is why you often see them in energy drinks), and are needed for the proper formation of every cell in your body. Too few Bs and you’re likely to see sallow skin, low energy, moodiness, and even depression. Enjoy a handful of almonds every day to help shore up your supply of the B’s.