January 8, 2017

How To Restock Your Body With Stress-Busting Foods

When you’re burning the candle at both ends, a well-nourished body has a stronger stress-resistance shield. Once you adopt healthy eating habits, it will become second nature, and you’ll automatically reach for the apple instead of the Danish. To help your body fend off stress, certain foods can fortify you, while others deplete your body’s resistance. The next section presents some foods to stay from and some to include in your stress-busting diet.

Avoid Caffeine

Cut down on caffeinated drinks that tax your nervous system, interfere with sleep, and dehydrate you. Replace Red Bulls, Diet Cokes, and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee with bottled water, protein smoothies, fruit juices, or herbal teas. For instance, in contrast to coffee, which boosts your cortisol level, did you know that black or green tea lowers it? That’s right. These teas increase levels of relaxing chemicals in the brain.

Eat Complex Carbs

Introduce complex carbs into your diet. A bowl of warm oatmeal can boost your serotonin level as can other complex carbs. Slowly digested high-fiber foods like whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas will stabilize blood sugar levels.

Serotonin is a calming brain chemical- activated by certain foods- that boosts mood and creates a sense of well-being.

Watch Your Sugar Intake

Shun simple carbs like quickly digested refined sugars that give you a fast serotonin high (and a quick crash). Too much sugar can cause rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels and poor concentration, triggering stress. I hate to say it, but Mom knew best when she said, “Eat your veggies.” Try eating more fruits and vegetables, which are digested more slowly and give you energy over the long haul.

Introduce Omega-3 Foods

Substitute high-fat meals with omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon and tuna. Omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease and prevent surges in stress hormones. Studies show that foods containing omega-3 fatty acids even help relieve mild depression. In addition to seafood, nuts, seeds, and oils such as canola, flax, and soybean provide these benefits.

Restore Vitamins and Minerals

Replenish your body with vitamins and minerals that it loses during bouts of stress. Eating well-balanced meals high in antioxidants and nutritional supplements of vitamins A, B, C, and E resupplies your body with the nutrients it needs.

Almonds restore vitamins B and E. The B vitamins strengthen your nervous system and help with stress-related fatigue by alleviating foggy thoughts. You can get those benefits from asparagus, spinach, and potatoes as well. Vitamin C sources like oranges and foods that contain magnesium- such as spinach or soybeans-reduce cortisol hormone levels and strengthen your immune system.

Truth Serum

Research links B vitamins to preserving memory, and enhancing mood and cognitive mastery. Studies also show that adults who take high doses of B complex supplements for one month are less subject to stress and perform higher on mental tests than those not taking supplements.

Use Low-Fat Dairy Products

Fill your fridge with low-fat dairy products and yogurt to restore lost calcium and magnesium that your body uses up to fend off stress, help you relax, and avoid mood swings. Stay away from saturated fats and trans-fats. Eat meals, poultry, and fish that are baked, broiled, or grilled.

Eat Healthy Snacks

Many snacks such as cheese puffs or potato chips are loaded with salty ingredients and artificial additives. These empty nutrients don’t give you the fuel you need to offset stress. Your body doesn’t recognize these artificial ingredients as natural and reacts defensively, putting undue strain on your immune system. Stock your car and office desk with high-protein, low-calorie snacks to prevent blood sugar dips and stress-related fatigue. Nibble on protein bars or trail mix. I keep granola bars in my office desk drawer just in case. Your body needs protein when you’re stressed because it uses up more amino acids to produce the additional stress hormones.

Buy Health Munchies

Munch on raw fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Apple wedges, celery, carrot sticks, or sunflower seeds contain stress-reducing compounds called flavonoids. And pistachios counteract the impact of stress and keep blood pressure down.

Flavonoids, sometimes called vitamin P, are antioxidants found in certain plants such as tomatoes, cabbage, pears, blueberries, and apricots. They’re believed to strengthen blood vessels, prevent cancers and hear disease, protect cells from oxygen damage, and reduce excessive inflammation throughout the body.

Health Disclaimer

Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging.

About the author

Bryan E. RobinsonBryan E. Robinson, Ph.D., is author, psychotherapist, and Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has authored thirty nonfiction books including such popular self-improvement books as: The Art of Confident Living (HCI Books, 2009), Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians who Treat Them (New York University Press, 2007), Don’t Let Your Mind Stunt Your Growth (New Harbinger Press, 2000), Overdoing It: How to Slow Down and Take Care of Yourself (HCI Books, 1992), and Heal Your Self-Esteem (HCI Books, 1991).

His latest book, The Smart Guide to Managing Stress, was released in April, 2012. Bryan’s debut novel, Limestone Gumption, (a Southern murder mystery) will be published by Gale/Five Star Publishers in January, 2014. You can read the first 2 chapters of the novel for free at www.bryanrobinsonnovels.com.

To know more about Dr. Bryan, visit his website www.bryanrobinsononline.com.

Copyright Notice

This article is copyright of Dr. Bryan Robinson. All rights reserved.

You may not, except with express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.

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