Which Foods Can Help You Beat Stress?
Thanks to longer working days, busy social lives and hectic daily schedules, we are now more stressed than ever. But you can forget what you’ve heard about stressful eating being a bad thing – it isn’t the eating, but rather what you’re eating that counts. Stress can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity, so it’s vital that you combat it early before it takes its toll on your health. These foods could be great as a healthy addition to your diet, as well as helping to combat those stressful scenarios which creep into your daily life.
Almonds, pistachios and walnuts
Nuts are packed with great health-boosting ingredients, including vitamin E, B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. B vitamins help your body to cope with unpleasant events, and you only need a quarter of a cup to get your daily dose. Vitamin E also bolsters the immune system which helps you fight off diseases which tend to take over when you’re stressed. Walnuts and pistachios can help keep your heart from racing when things get stressful, so a handful of these when you’re getting pent up could control your cardiovascular health. Studies show that a handful of pistachios every day can keep your heart healthy by calming it down when it needs it most.
Guacamole, made from fresh avocados, is far better for your health than ice cream, as it can satisfy your craving for something creamy and rich, as well as reducing frantic feelings. Loaded with monounsaturated fats and potassium, avocados can lower your blood pressure – ideal in stressful situations.
If you’re restless or suffering with insomnia, warmed milk can calm you down quickly. This is because calcium can calm muscle spasms and ease tension, as well as just one glass calming PMS symptoms, anxiety and irritability. Studies show that women who drink four or more servings of skimmed milk each day have a 46 percent lower risk of pre-period symptoms than those who didn’t.
Carbs may be seen as the enemy by those looking to lose weight, but they do have a positive effect on your health in some ways. They help the brain to make more serotonin which is the same relaxing chemical which is released when you eat dark chocolate. The more slowly you absorb the carbohydrates, the more steadily this chemical is released which can result in you being calmer and less stressed.
Oranges are loaded with vitamin C, and this is well known for boosting your immune system. Studies suggest that people who have a higher intake of vitamin C feel less stressed overall, so they can be a great way to combat the anxiety when you’re facing a stressful situation.
Omega-3 fatty acids are the enemy of stress hormones, as they protect against cortisol and adrenaline from geysering. They also protect the heart from heart disease, which can be affected by stress. If you don’t eat fish, such as salmon and mackerel, you can get omega-3s from nuts and seeds. Try adding a handful to salads, top your cereal with some, or even snack on them instead of your usual biscuits and crisps mid-morning.
Magnesium is great for calming the mind, lowering stress and keeping your body in a state of ease so you can tackle those stressful situations. Spinach is great for dealing with this, helping you to fight off fatigue and migraines too. You can add it to soups and pasta sauces, add a handful to smoothies for a health boost, or even substitute lettuce for a handful of spinach leaves in sandwiches or salads.