“To be a champion, you have to learn to handle stress and pressure. But if you’ve prepared mentally and physically, you don’t have to worry.”-Harvey Mackay
Lets be honest, stress is just apart of life, and learning how to manage and deal with it is just necessary part of it. Your stress could be related to work deadlines really piling up, perhaps too many social obligation stretching your energy too thin, or maybe it is not having enough time to eat exactly what you want, when you want it.
Making time to eat healthy sometimes just isn’t in the cards, and that vending machine is just too easy, or perhaps that fast food run will really save you time, and ease your nights schedule.
Oddly enough, depending on what you eat could indeed help combat stress levels, and relieve your tension. Some of these super-foods will help regulate blood sugar, giving more energy to manage the many tasks you have throughout the day, and will also increase your emotional response to ensure proper reactions, and no mini breakdowns over little details when things get hard.
Here is a list of foods and how they will help:
1. Green leafy vegetables
Who doesn’t want to just crush a cheeseburger when all stressed out, right? Wrong! Go green instead, go for the spinach which contains folate or folic acid, which will help produce dopamine. Dopamine for those that are not familiar with it, is a certain chemical in the brain that helps feel pleasure, and keeping you calm. Research has shown that healthy eating seemed to help with a positive mood, it is hard to predict if it was the pleasant mood or the food that came first, either way there is a correlation.
2. Turkey breast
We are all very familiar with the food coma that happens shortly after thanksgiving feast, thanks to tryptophan. This could make you sleepy, but it is also an amino acid, which helps produce serotonin, which regulates hunger and feelings of happiness and well being, plus it may also have a calming effect. Another great food to indulge in during high levels of stress.
Carbohydrates can help the brain create serotonin, which is the same substance that antidepressants is regulated. Stress can cause your blood sugar to rise, so instead of reaching for that powdered sugar doughnut, go for the complex carbs like oatmeal, which will not continue to spike your blood sugar, but give you plenty of energy to tackle your daily tasks.
Most of your immune system resides in your gut, and all of the good/bad bacteria in there could be contributing to your stress. By consuming probiotics, and yogurt can ensure a healthy gastrointestinal tract, and not giving you uneasy feelings of constipation, and more emotional stress. This should be a morning staple to add to your diet, it is quick easy, and packed full of calcium, protein, and probiotics.
Stress can send off anxiety hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol. “The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon have anti inflammatory properties that may help counteract the negative effects of stress hormones,” says Lisa Cimperman, RD, of the University Hospitals Case Medical Center and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Salmon can be quick and easy to pan fry up at home, or if you have a grill. No excuses, eat up.
“When you’re stressed, there’s a battle being fought inside you,” Heather Mangieri, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says. “The antioxidants and phytonutrients found in berries fight in your defense, helping improve your body’s response to stress and fight stress-related free radicals.”These little berries pack quite the punch when it comes making sure your system is in check, and helping ensure a proper immune system. Few handfuls a deal, at your desk, or on the run can make a big impact on your overall health and stress levels.
“Eating pistachios may reduce acute stress by lowering blood pressure and heart rate,” Mangieri says. “The nuts contain key phytonutrients that may provide antioxidant support for cardiovascular health”. When feeling down, or stressed there have been studies shown to doing something with your hands, to help focus on other thoughts besides your issues, and cracking open some nuts will help just that.
Good ‘ol fashioned milk. That’s right, a great source of vitamin D, a nutrient that can boost happiness. Studies have shown that those with sufficient levels of vitamin D had reduced risks of panic disorders compared to those with lower vitamin D levels, and panic attacks will completely stress you out, leaving you rattled for hours after.