With April being stress awareness month I thought I would blog about foods we can eat that will help us fight stress.
Here’s a tidbit of information about stress and autoimmune disorders. The “International Journal of Neuroscience” reports that cortisol and other stress hormones lead to chronic inflammation and will negatively impact the skin, cardiovascular, endocrine and digestive systems leaving the body susceptible to diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. In addition, it can lead to psychological problems related to anxiety, agitation, anger, attention-deficits, learning difficulties, depression, sleep disturbances and permanent memory loss. Read more.
Stress can affect your body in these ways:
- Chest pain
- Muscle tension or pain
- Change in sex drive
- Stomach upset
- Problems sleeping
Maybe by adding some of these foods they can aid in reducing our stress and reducing the affects that stress has on our body.
Avocados – They are high in vitamin B and low in sugar.
Here are a few examples of how the B vitamins can help lower stress:
- B1, Thiamine – plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy mental attitude.
B3, Niacin – functions to help the body release energy from carbohydrates. This can control blood sugar and maintain nervous system function.
B6, Pyridoxine – can help the body manufacture neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which aids in the body’s ability to cope with depression, stress and anxiety.
Blueberries – Very rich in antioxidants, blueberries offer a high-fiber, low-calorie fruit option that is also rich in stress-fighting vitamin C.
Cashews – an especially good source of zinc—a 1-ounce serving has 11 percent of your RDA.
Zinc is very calming and sedating, as it enhances GABA activity in the brain. A number of studies also show that zinc deficiency causes depression-like and anxiety-like behaviors, and supplementation has successfully been used as a treatment.
What is GABA?
GABA is a chemical messenger that is widely distributed in the brain. GABA’s natural function is to reduce the activity of the neurons to which it binds. Some researchers believe that one of the purposes that GABA serves is to control the fear or anxiety experienced when neurons are overexcited.
Chocolate – do yourself a double favor and dip some big strawberries in the chocolate.
A clinical trial published online in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research found that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduced levels of stress hormones in people who felt highly stressed.
Read more information on the use of dark chocolate as a stress relief tool.
Garlic – I love to cook with garlic! It really make a dish so flavorful and I think it makes the food more filling.
As a restorative herb, garlic can play a major role in balancing a stressful life and a fatigued body. Garlic works to actually reduce fatigue and other symptoms of stress in the body.
Oatmeal – I really enjoy oatmeal. Not only does it taste good, you can grind it up and add water to it and use it as an oatmeal mask. That will help you relax.
Oatmeal can reduce levels of stress hormones and also result in a boost in serotonin, which stimulates a feeling of calmness. Since oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate it won’t spike your blood sugar.
Greek yogurt and berries – yogurt gives you protein and calcium and the berries are sweet and filled with anti-oxidants and vitamin C.
Researchers from the University of Missouri have suggested that a probiotic, composed of live but beneficial bacteria meant to improve digestive health, can reduce both anxiety and stress-related behavior.
Sunflower Seeds – helps the body produce dopamine.
Sunflower seeds, contain magnesium, which is known to alleviate depression, fatigue and irritability — all side effects of stress.
What is dopamine? Dopamine is a compound present in the body as a neurotransmitter and a precursor of other substances including epinephrine.
What foods do you eat to help you reduce stress?