We all deal with stress. It is ever present. But how we handle stress makes a whole world of difference. Learning how to manage stress is crucial in one’s physical and mental wellness. You probably have heard numerous stress busting techniques from meditating, being mindful, breathing techniques, warm baths, relaxing music, reconnecting and chatting with friends and loved ones, and many more but have you ever heard of stress management through foods?
This may sound strange to some but foods can bring down stress levels in numerous ways. In fact many of us turn to comfort foods when we feel down, blue or when things don’t go our way. A simple bowl of warm oatmeal boosts your levels of serotonin, which is a brain chemical with a soothing and calming effect. Some foods also bring down levels of cortisol and adrenaline. These are stress hormones which over time wreaks havoc to the body. Eating a healthy diet can do great wonders to your health including countering the effects of stress. So which foods can bust stress? Read on!
Stress Buster Foods
- Complex carbs – Foods that are high in carbohydrates actually trigger the brain to produce the feel good chemical serotonin. To make sure that you have a steady supply of serotonin, eat complex carbs since they are digested at a slower pace. The best choices are whole grain breakfast cereals, pasta, bread and oatmeal. Complex carbs are also helpful in stabilizing your body’s blood sugar levels.
- Simple carbs – You probably have been advised to stay away from simple carbs such as sweets and sodas. Doctors and dietitians especially give this advice and for good reasons. However, if you take in small amounts of simple carbs, they can help in beating stress. Since simple sugars are digested more quickly, you can get a spike in serotonin levels almost immediately. The catch however is that since they are quickly digested, the effect doesn’t last that long. So you should not make it a habit to stuff yourself full of sweets and other simple sugars to relieve stress. There are other foods that are way healthier and more effective in beating stress.
- Oranges – Oranges are packed with Vitamin C and according to studies, Vitamin C helps deter levels of stress hormones while at the same time bolstering the immune system. One study conducted on people with high blood pressure showed that those who took Vitamin C before doing a stressful task resulted into a quicker return of blood pressure levels as well as the stress hormone cortisol levels to normal.
- Spinach – We all know that Popeye gets stronger because of spinach but did you know that spinach also helps reduce stress? Spinach is loaded with magnesium. Having too little magnesium can result to headaches and fatigue which amplify the effects of stress. Just a cup of spinach will do great wonders in replenishing your supply of magnesium. If you are not fond of spinach you can try soybeans of a salmon filet instead since these two are also packed with magnesium.
Include these foods in your diet to beat stress!
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