(Day 8) Healthy Eating to Help Beat Stress
You reach for that third handful of goldfish your kids are eating, mindlessly as you run through the house and your list of tasks you need to accomplish.
Just another vending machine candy during this lull at work won’t hurt anything, you think to yourself.
But really, what you eat affects your body in more ways than simple viewing a number on a scale in the bathroom.
Are you stressed because you feel you have no energy to keep up with the demands of the household?
Are you stressed because of a large project looming over you, requiring extreme attention to detail and understanding complex information?
Does your mind feel foggier after eating that large chocolate bar instead of fueled and focused?
What we eat has a direct impact on our overall energy levels and focused attention we need to get us through the day. If we aren’t eating properly, we are setting ourselves up for more stress to ensue as we combat depleted energy spikes and lack of focus on project requiring our intense concentration.
Science shows a definite relationship between the food we eat and how our bodies are able to handle stress. If we are fueling our bodies with all the wrong things, we have a harder time doing the things which demand our attention–which only adds more stress onto our already burdened schedules.
So how can we become free from anxiety in this situation?
Well, here are a few stress-busting foods I’ve learned from the experts (WebMD) on this subject. And guess what! You are going to love it, because it’s a more diverse list than you may think:
- Complex carbohydrates. For real! Eating whole grain breads and pastas is important to incorporate into our stress-filled life because it releases more of the feel-good chemical in the brain called serotonin. It takes longer to digest these complex carbs and helps to creating balance in our overall blood-sugar levels. Of course, everything in moderation, but enjoy a small cup of wheat pasta or a slice of whole-grain bread with peanut butter on top, guilt-free! Cures your anxiety.
- Oranges are said to be high in vitamin C, which is known to help lessen the production of stress hormones and increase immunity.
- Spinach, and other leafy greens, contain high amounts of magnesium, which can help curb those stress-related headaches and fatigue.
- Fish, specifically one’s high in Omega-3’s, such as Salmon or Tuna, are great at preventing surges of stress hormones from being released.
- Tea, especially black tea, demonstrates lower levels of cortisol being produced in people (the stress hormone). It also seems to have a calming, soothing effect on individuals.
- Nuts have shown positive results to lessened stress in individuals. However, they are also high in fat, so keep it to a small handful in the afternoon to get you through the 3 o’clock lull.
- Avocados are a power-packed fruit full of potassium and other great vitamins and minerals, helpful to stave off anxiety or fuel you with more energy when those stress-induced situations occur. However, don’t overdo it as it is high in calories and can add to your waistline rather quickly if you’re not careful.
- Raw veggies are of course a very good snack which can help ward off tension. Especially carrots or celery, as the munching and crunching can be a mechanical mechanism toward dissipating stress felt in our jaw from a tough day.
- A warm glass of milk shows the calcium in it can help ease anxiety and mood swings linked to PMS. Just be sure to have it at least a half-hour before bedtime so you won’t be up at night to relieve yourself!
- Herbal supplements, like St. John’s Wort, can lessen symptoms of anxiety. I will talk more about this in a later section related to medication that can help with anxiety.
I know that was a lot to ingest, but hopefully you can set-yourself up for success by making these healthier snacks available prior to when those stressful moments arise and fuel to a better level of success and calm throughout your day.
Join me tomorrow for another tip in my Overcoming Anxiety series!