Healthy Food Alternatives for Managing and Reducing Stress
In the fast-moving and busy world of today, more people are finding stress encroach more into their lives. With these situations and conditions, many people make the choice to ease out their stress by consuming junk food. Since these foods are not ideally suited for high-volume consumption, the amount of calories and sugars contained in them can make people further worse off in terms of their health. However, there are alternative options that can aid in reducing stress while helping you keep a balanced diet. Here are several food options to try if you need a stress-relieving meal.
Foods with Nuts
As stress increases, the amount of B vitamin stores in the body starts to decrease. One of the foods that can help in reversing the decrease in these vitamins is nuts. B vitamins help manage neurotransmitters as well as stress responses such as the fight-or-flight reflex. In addition, nuts contain valuable potassium – this is a nutrient that has shown in research to reduce blood pressure and the effects of stress on the heart.
Vitamin C is mostly associated with fruits such as oranges, but red peppers carry twice the amount of this nutrient. Studies have also shown that people who consume large amounts of Vitamin C displayed lower blood pressure and recovered faster from physically intensive and stressful activities. In addition, the vitamin C in red peppers can help you lower your cortisol levels – which is a compound associated with the occurrence of stress.
Weekly Salmon Servings
Some of the most important nutrients include Omega-3s. Another study from a mental health magazine indicated that individuals who took daily supplements of Omega-3 had a 20 percent decrease in anxiety. One of the most potent sources of Omega-3 is salmon. By having a weekly serving of salmon, you can maintain more Omega-3s in your body’s system. You do not have to search exclusively for salmon for these nutrients, but other types of oily fish as well.
Spinach carries a lot of magnesium, which is a valuable ingredient in helping to reduce stress. Low magnesium levels contribute to higher C-reactive protein levels, which can create conditions for higher stress. With added magnesium, you can regulate cortisol and also manage blood pressure. When there is enough magnesium in the body, you can better regulate the elements that are responsible for stress. You can find other primary sources of magnesium in foods such as beans and brown rice.
Oatmeal is a very comforting breakfast that also helps your brain produce more neurotransmitter serotonin. Additional research from an internal medicine journal indicated that consumers of carbs experience an increased sense of calm. By eating more oatmeal, you can add more complex carbs to your system, which can improve your digestion and also reduce blood sugar. The decrease in blood sugar can correlate with lower levels of stress.
Chocolate cravings can make you reach for a Snickers or Butterfinger bar. However, dark chocolate can help in lowering cortisol levels. Dark chocolate generally contains at least 70 percent of cocoa in their ingredients. The cocoa in dark chocolate can be an important compound in lowering cortisol and stress.
Add Some Tea
Increased tea consumption has been associated with lower cortisol levels. Compared to black tea, the absence of caffeine in decaf and herbal teas helps prevent any elevation in the stress response in consumers. In addition, herbal teas provide relief and a soothing sensation to the digestive tract. Herbal teas help manage stress through the calming of the nervous system within the gut. Chamomile, peppermint, and ginger are helpful tea ingredients that can also help soothe and relax you gut’s nervous system.
As more professionals integrate work into their lives, stress becomes more of a common issue. With increased stress, there is a chance you may crave junk food in order to feel better. However, the temporary relief of eating junk food cannot make up for the unhealthy calories and sugars you are adding to your body. By considering and adding alternatives such as tea, oatmeal, dark chocolate, and spinach instead, you can relieve stress-induced food cravings while still maintaining a balanced diet. The next time you experience stress, consider adding these food options to your plans instead of junk food.