We all encounter stress on a daily basis but how we handle it can make a big difference. Stress management can be a powerful tool for wellness, since having too much stress is bad for you. There are numerous ways to relieve your stress and one of them includes the food you eat.
For example, you're sitting in traffic, late for an interview, watching the minutes go by. What your hypothalamus ( a tiny control tower in your brain) decides to do is send out the order: Send in the stress hormones! These stress hormones are the same ones that trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response.
Stress encounters like this on a daily basis can take a toll on your body. Here are some common effects of stress.
You may be asking “how do these stress-busting foods work?” Food can help tame stress in several ways. Comfort foods, like a bowl of warm oatmeal, boost levels of serotonin, a calming brain chemical. Other foods can cut levels of cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones that take a toll on the body over time. A healthy diet can help counter the impact of stress by lowering your blood pressure.
All carbs prompt the brain to make more serotonin. For a steady supply of this feel-good chemical, it's best to eat complex carbs, which take longer to digest. Some good choices you can include such as whole-grain breads, pastas, and breakfast cereals. They can also help you feel balanced by stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Oranges make the list for their wealth of vitamin C. Studies suggest this vitamin can curb levels of stress hormones while strengthening the immune system. In one study of people with high blood pressure, blood pressure and levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) returned to normal more quickly when people took vitamin C before a stressful task.
Too little magnesium may trigger headaches and fatigue, compounding effects of stress. One cup of spinach helps you stock back up on magnesium. If you are not a fan of spinach, other green leafy vegetables are good magnesium sources too. Or even a fillet of salon, being very high in magnesium.
Drinking black tea may help you recover from stressful events more quickly. One study compared people who drank 4 cups of tea daily for 6 weeks with people who drank another beverage. The tea drinkers reported feeling calmer and had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol after stressful situations.
Almonds are a group full of helpful vitamins: VItamin E to bolster the immune system, plus B vitamins, which may make you more resilient during bouts of stress or depression. To get the benefits, snack on a quarter cup a day.
Garlic is high in sulfur compounds that help increase levels of glutathione. This antioxidant is part of your body’s first line of defense against stress. Studies have suggested that garlic helps combat stress and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The bottom line
Whether we decide to ignore the stress we encounter or convince ourselves we are okay, it will slowly take a toll on our physical and mental health. Try incorporating some of these foods and beverages into your diet to naturally promote stress relief.