We all have stress in our lives to varying degrees, but finding ways of how to handle stress are very important for our health. One way of dealing with stress is to start with what’s in your kitchen. There are certain foods that can help relieve stress and anxiety and certain foods that make stress and anxiety worse. If you are under a lot of stress or have anxiety, it is good to avoid foods that are fried, high in refined sugars and alcohol as these only serve to contribute to the problem.
How to Handle Stress With Food
When making adjustments to your diet to help in coping with stress, you want to add in foods that have been found to trigger the brain chemicals that calm us and that suppress the cortisol release that adds to stress and anxiety. You also want to add foods to your diet that are rich in magnesium, iron, zinc, antioxidants, B Vitamins, and potassium. These nutrients have all been found to be especially beneficial in dealing with stress.
Whole grains are a great addition to the diet when coping with stress and anxiety. They help boost your energy levels and are a source for tryptophan which is needed to produce serotonin, the brain chemical that produces feelings of calmness and happiness. If you aren’t able to tolerate gluten, then you can turn to seaweed to get not only the magnesium you need, but also the tryptophan that will help raise serotonin levels.
Iron and Zinc
Zinc and iron are also important nutrients to add to your diet when fighting stress and anxiety and balancing mood. Maca root powder can easily be added to many recipes and drinks and is loaded with phytonutrients which include magnesium and iron. It has also been found to boost energy and stamina which is helpful when dealing with stress. Zinc can be found in almonds which also have the added bonus of being a good source of iron, magnesium, selenium, vitamin B2, vitamin E, and healthy unsaturated fats which all help in decreasing stress. Almonds as well as other nuts like walnuts and pistachios also help increase your energy, lower blood pressure and reduce stress hormones.
Bright colored fruits and vegetables are your best source for antioxidants. In this category, blueberries really stand out as they not only have stress relieving antioxidants, but also are high in fiber, have vitamin C which is also good for stress relief, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, and are low in calories. Studies have also been done reporting that eating blueberries helps reduce depression, insomnia and mood disorders that can be brought on by stress. Green tea is another great antioxidant with its polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins that help with calming body and mind. Green tea also has the bonus of the amino acid theanine that aids with mental focus and helps with being able to relax. Dark chocolate is another source of antioxidants that gives you the natural mood booster of theobromine and has magnesium. It has also been found to help lower cortisol that causes stress and anxiety. Look for chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa content and without added sugar or milk. You can also get all the extra nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae as well as the antioxidant power of green tea, carnosine which is an antioxidant amino acid naturally present in the human body, and blueberry with this antioxidant algae supplement. While looking at the benefits of antioxidants, also consider Coenzyme Q10 which is especially noted for its benefits for heart health. In Chinese medicine, heart health relates to the source of happiness and therefore helps in dealing with stress. This algae supplement not only gives you ubiquinol, the active and bioavailable form of Coenzyme Q10, but also organic flaxseed oil, olive biophenols, organic reishi and oyster mushrooms, and wild AFA bluegreen algae.
Experts such as registered dietitian Tara Geise, who is also a spokesperson for the American Heart Association, recommend adding foods with B vitamins to your diet to help counteract the hormones that are released in reaction to stress, to help with mood stabilization and for helping to produce serotonin. Vitamin B9 or folic acid, B6 and B12 are especially useful in coping with stress. Good stress fighting foods to help you get B vitamins into your diet include asparagus, tuna, and brown rice.
Potassium is an important mineral for helping muscles relax. The more relaxed we are able to be, the less stress can take its toll on us. Spinach is not only a good food source for potassium, but also magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron and A, B, and C vitamins. Eating avocados will also provide potassium as well as fiber, healthy fats, protein, and vitamin C and vitamin E. Oranges not only have potassium, but also vitamin C, pectin which is a soluble fiber, and antioxidants to all help with stress.
Brain Support in Dealing With Stress
The more stressed we are, the more susceptible to fatigue and the less we are able to focus and think clearly. To combat this stress cycle, we can support our energy levels and brain functioning with certain foods to give the brain a boost. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the best ways to help feed your brain, increase serotonin levels, and reduce cortisol and adrenaline that add to stress. Salmon and other fatty fish are one of the best food sources of omega-3. If you just don’t like fish though, you can get your omega-3 the same way the fish do… with algae. Even better, add in eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, Lion’s Mane, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni to some wild bluegreen algae with this wholefood supplement and you’ll really be giving your brain the nutrients to give it a boost. Bee pollen is reported to have a high amino acid content useful for stimulating memory and concentration, wheatgrass juice has been found to provide nutrients that support brain health and clearer thinking, and Gingko biloba has been used for a long time to promote increased memory and mental concentration by increasing circulation and providing increased oxygenation of brain cells. This combination can give your brain a lot of nutrition to help it function when you find yourself overwhelmed by stress.
You don’t have to let stress get the best of you. Making some additions and subtractions to your diet can help you in dealing with stress, stimulate brain chemicals that will help you in coping with stress and help you be able to function at your best.
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