Food Is Not Your Enemy


7 Stress-Busting Foods
September 28, 2017, 2:12 pm
Filed under: Grains, Vegetables | Tags: , ,

What we eat directly affects not just our physical well-being, but our mental and emotional well-being as well. If you largely rely on a diet of sugary foods, frozen dinners, bagels, muffins, and coffee, you’re not going to feel as good as you would if you were to eat a diet that provides your body and mind with the nutrients it needs and craves. Foods like pizza, French fries, fast food, breakfast pastries and other refined carbohydrates will actually increase your stress levels. As these foods largely lack vital nutrients and send you into a vicious cycle of high/low blood sugar, you may regularly experience a nagging irritability and a feeling that you’re quick to anger, and as a result get stressed out.

The solution? Crowd out the unhealthy, stress-causing foods you eat with nutritious, stress-busting foods like the following…

Leafy green vegetables: Green vegetables are the foods most missing in modern diets. Eating such greens as spinach, kale, cabbage, Swiss chard, arugula, dark lettuces, and broccoli is essential to creating health. Greens help build a healthy gut biome and strengthen the blood and respiratory systems.

Nutritionally, greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. They are crammed with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phyto-chemicals.

Eating dark leafy greens will help you feel a light energy and will lift your spirits and quell depression, all of which will help improve your body’s response to stress. The calmness that greens can impart will set you up for a much different response to a difficult situation than how you might react if you’re feeling jittery from coffee and a donut or cranky two hours after downing pizza.

Whole grains: Whole grains, such as whole wheat, oats, brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat, are an important component in a healthy diet, but especially in the diet of someone struggling with stress. Replacing refined carbohydrates like white bread, white pasta, white rice, and cakes/muffins/cookies with whole-grain carbs will greatly stabilize your blood sugar, and in turn, your mood and energy. Whole grains are packed with nutrients and fiber, and nourish your body in a way that foods made with refined grains don’t. The ultimate lunch during a stressy day at work? One based on whole-grain carbs–a meal like this will produce a calming effect. Have a stir-fry made with buckwheat soba noodles and veggies (including greens!). Or have turkey on whole-wheat bread with a mesclun or romaine side salad. Or try a Middle Eastern-themed lunch that includes tabouli, hummus, and whole-wheat pita bread.

Vitamin B-rich foods: Eggs, plain yogurt, bananas, fish, and organic poultry are all rich in B vitamins, which help support your adrenal glands and provide energy, thus reducing the symptoms of stress.

So give it a try! Add these foods into your regular rotation, and note how you feel in response. Do you notice any changes in your mood? Your energy level? How your body responds when faced with a stressful situation?

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