When you feel the stress in you start to soar the next time, go fill your plate with these wonderful foods that are scientifically proven to help you feel less frazzled and at peace. Also, having a healthy gut can actually help you battle stress-induced blues and frayed nerves.
Between social distancing, trying to stay safe in isolation, managing money and familial issues, and trying to get dinner (and breakfast, and lunch) on the table while juggling a zillion other household tasks. We can agree that stress symptoms are soaring these days.
There are many ways to manage and even reduce stress levels when you are feeling tense. Food can be one of your biggest allies – or enemies. It can make your stress levels go down or up, so it’s important to pay attention to what you are eating when you feel frazzled. When you are stressed, it can lead you to crave for certain foods, as well as increase your need for certain nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin B, selenium, and magnesium.
Studies have shown anxiety can negatively affect your health, and learning how to deal with it is a highly important skill set. Gut health expert, Ian Smith, MD believes that gut health is closely linked to the body’s ability to manage stress and that the connection between anxiety and the gut runs deep. Distress can trigger the immune system to send out signals to break down the gut lining. An imbalanced or damaged gut can then drive a chronic stress response, which stimulates our body to end fight-or-flight mode. The result? More gut damage!
You can have a choice to save your gut by popping endless probiotic medication to build up the millions of microbes that are residing in your intestines, why not consume the foods that Mother Nature has created for us since the beginning of time for man’s survival?
Here are the top 9 Best Foods that will provide great relieve and calm your gut and protect the microbes in the gut lining.
By drinking a warm cup of tea is one way to help make yourself feel calmer as qualified by online nutrition coach, Sandra Meyerowitz. Past research has suggested that holding and sipping a warm beverage increases feelings of interpersonal ‘warmth’ and friendliness. There is a soothing effect of sipping warm drink, regardless of the flavor. But certain herbs such as lavender and chamomile, have shown to have a relaxing effect on their own.
You could try a warm cup of Herbal Tea which is great for winding down. Or have green tea for a small jolt of caffeine as it’s full of flavonoids that can aid in brain health. Too boost calmness, you may add a few doses of doterra oil (https://www.doterra.com/SG/en_SG/p/loyalty-reward-kits-5-essential-oil-favorites-kit ) to the beverage. This essential oil is made of the finest grade for topical and oral usage.
Dark Chocolates contain polyphenols, which are great antioxidants that have been shown to improve brain function and mood. When incorporated into the diet, it can reduce stress in two ways – via its chemical impact and its emotional impact. Chocolate feels like an indulgence that it can be like a real treat to loosen away the unhappy feelings.
Eating dark chocolates may help to lower the levels of stress hormones in the body. You should aim to eat only one-fourth of a small dark chocolate bar (about 1 oz). Do not consume milk chocolates as they contain sugar instead of pure dark chocolates, when eaten in the right quantity, can provide a good source of rich antioxidants to combat stress in the body.
Avocados are delicious and healthy food that can be served by itself or added to salad or even into shake. They contain healthy essential omega-3 fatty acids known to reduce stress and anxiety, boost concentration, and improve mood, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Avocados have been linked to better diet quality and nutrient intake as well as a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a group of conditions that include high blood pressure and obesity. Do note, however, there is no direct association that between eating avocados and the improved health markers by cause-and-effect relationship.
Fight stress and help prevent heart disease by adding seafood to your plate. Fatty Fish in particular are a great option because they are heart-healthy, and their omega-3 may help ease depression as the nutrients easily interact with mood-related brain molecules. Fatty fish include tuna, halibut, salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines and lake trout, according to the American Heart Association.
Alternative to fish, you could try the other whole-food options, like seaweed, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, and fortified food, such as certain brands of eggs, milk, soy milk, and nut milk. You can also try omega-3 supplements in the form of fish oil, which can be found at the drugstore or grocery store.
Like everything, if you are not eating a balanced diet rich in omega-e then consumption of fish oils as supplement is fine. Otherwise, eating of fish twice weekly is sufficient for your diet. Avoid meats with high amounts of saturated fats.
Warm Milk can help you get a good night’s sleep and aid in stress management. It is a centuries-old home remedy as warm milk can have a relaxing effect on the body as well as on a psychological level.
Milk contains rich calcium, which forms an essential part of a healthy diet for bone health. This nutrient also may help to reduce depression, according to the journal published by Nutrition Research and Practice in Dec 2012. Milk and other dairy foods with calcium and added vitamin D can help muscles relax and stabilize mood.
Milk is the main stress reducer here. If milk is not your favorite drink, try yogurt and cheese which are excellent sources of calcium, according to MedlinePlus. If you are lactose intolerant, you may substitute with green leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli, turnip greens for sources of calcium
Nuts are a great stress-busting snack and high in healthy fat, including vitamin B. Almonds, pistachios, and walnuts may even help lower blood pressure levels. Nuts and seeds are high in magnesium, which has been linked to better anxiety management. Nuts also produce tryptophan, which is essential for body to produce serotonin: a good-mood enabler.
Fruits, especially berries such as blueberries, not only contain high levels of vitamin C to help ease stress levels, but reduce stress hormone cortisol that can negatively affect your mood. Taking 500 mg per day of vitamin C found in most fruits can significantly prevent anxiety. Hence it is a good place to start daily for health and stress prevention.
Probiotics can help boost the immune system, protect against harmful bacteria, and improve digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is one of the best way to support healthy gut hormones. The University Health News cited several studies that found gut health has a direct correlation to improving anxiety, depression and mood. One way is that gut bacteria can produce molecules with neuroactive functions, including serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid, which positively influence mood.
Probiotics can be naturally occurred in foods such as in fermented yogurt drink in dairy and vegan forms. Alternate replacement can be available in supplement forms, which needs to be regulated by health authorities, and it can be more expensive than in food form.
Fiber-rich foods such as greens are gut friendly and can play a role in lowering stress, depression and anxiety. The fiber may help fight oxidative stress and inflammation – two effects that research tied to cancer and other health conditions.
To add more fiber into your diet, it is recommended eating beans, green peas, lots of greens like kale, broccoli, and leafy vegetables. These foods will balance your blood sugar and prevent spikes in your insulin levels. Mayo Clinic mentioned that a blood sugar crash can induce fatigue, anxiety, shaking, irritability and trouble concentrating. That is a hormonal response when blood sugar gets low which leads to our body releases a rapid epinephrine and glucagon, followed by a slower release of cortisol and growth hormone. Thus it will be helpful to keep the pantry full of fiber-rich foods and avoid blood sugar spikes and plummets brought on by empty carbs, such as chips and candy.
Fighting stress with food is a tactic available to everyone. No expensive supplements or complex methodology is required.
However, unhealthy eating patterns can send stress levels skyrocketing and potentially increase your risk of health problems in the future if you don’t address them. Thus, a well-balanced and nutritious diet is likely the single most important ingredient for good health. So the next time you are under pressure, arm yourself with this delicious arsenal of 9 stress-busting pantry staples.
Stay healthy and stress-free!