Stress is described as a response of our body, that comes about due to our experiences. It could be a good experience or a bad one. The bottom line is when stressed, our body releases chemicals into the bloodstream. This boosts up the energy level to help us be strong for the adversity. Stress is easy to handle when it is physical but emotional stress dicey.
Today’s fast-paced life is a rat race of ambition, competition and a rally for survival. The stress that we face nowadays’ start early and continues to fan out into various aspects of our lives. When the stress quotient in life exceeds beyond a point, the overall well being of an individual is out at stake – physically as well as emotionally. This is when some of the foods become the stress buster food.
The story behind stress and food
In a stressed body, the adrenal glands release adrenaline into the blood. This acts as a psychological booster but blocks the appetite mechanism. Hence, when we are stressed initially, we can hardly eat. Here is when the body becomes deficient in nutrients which is one of the reasons why stress gets accentuated. However, when the stress state continues, the glands pump out another chemical, Cortisol. This chemical aims at boosting the moral but in reality, ends up boosting our appetite too. Research says that craving for comfort food at this point in time is natural.
However, the trick here is to eat food that will not only relieve stress but will also keep you healthy. The usual tendency is to reach out for fat and sugar loaded comfort food like the cakes, burgers and fries. Here are 10 food items that you can stick to, when you are stressed. These healthy choices will also help you break away from stress as they help you fight the condition.
1) Spinach: When you are stressed out and all you need is to find way to vent your stress out, spinach is the last food on your mind. Your body will be craving sugary doughnuts and cheesy burgers. However, before you reach out for them hold yourself back. Over eating these high fat foods might make you feel better for the time, but it will only pile up calories on your body. Try spinach, maybe as a salad with your preferred seasoning, a warm spinach soup or a sandwich. Spinach contains magnesium, which helps to regulate the Cortisol levels. This in turn fosters a sense of well being, which helps in relieving stress levels.
2) Oats: This might be the weirdest choice to eat when one is fighting anxiety and stress. Yet there are two ways to look at how oats help you to relieve stress. One is scientific and the other is more therapeutic. Cooked oats help to get the serotonin levels in the body to flow. Serotonin is a vital chemical and a neurotransmitter, which helps in regulating mood and social behaviour, sleep, memory, appetite and digestion among others. A low level of serotonin leads to depression and stress. The therapeutic aspect is the act of cooking oats, which for many works as a therapy to cool the wired nerves.
3) Oranges: Stress is known to play around with our blood pressure. Vitamin C on the other hand, helps lower blood pressure. Oranges are abundant in Vitamin C. Along with lowering blood pressure, Vitamin C also aids in lowering cortisol, the adrenal glands secreted stress combating chemical. When stressed, squeeze out an orange and drink the freshly squeezed juice without sweetening it.
4) Almonds: Stress kills appetite. Consequently, due to this, stress often leads to nutrition deficiency. During such a time, though eating might be the last thing in your mind, allow yourself the chance to much on some almonds. Almonds are a rich source of B vitamins, Vitamin E, magnesium and zinc. As mentioned earlier too, magnesium controls cortisol levels which brings down the stress level. Almonds also helps in getting the serotonin going. Serotonin is the chemical that helps in transmitting messages and hence is found in the brain, blood platelets and the bowels. Since serotonin contributes to the overall well being of our health it is often called the “Happy chemical”.
5) Milk: Stress brings about a lot of physical baggage. Muscle cramps and blood pressure shooting up are just a couple of problems. Yet the repercussions of these seemingly simple problems can be huge. The antidote to stress is relaxation. Milk is one such drink. It is usually recommended that we drink a glass of warm milk before we sleep. Ever wondered why? Milk has lactium, a chemical which has a calming effect. This is a much-needed mode that stressed people need to switch to. Moreover, milk contains vitamin B2 and B12, proteins and calcium all of which is needed by the body.
6) Avocado: As the saying goes, “nerves are bad for our health”, here nerves meaning anxiety and stress. Avocado is one fruit that is abundant in B Vitamins, Potassium and monounsaturated fat. While B Vitamins are essential for brain cells and nerves, potassium along with monounsaturated fat helps in controlling and lowering blood pressure. Hence, stress is one of the emotions that these vitamins help counter.
7) Asparagus: One of the healthiest vegetables, Asparagus is loaded with Vitamin B 9. It is one of the vitamins known for smoothing out a depressive mood. It is therefore called a mood-enhancing vitamin.
Conclusion: Stress is a mental condition that triggers a physical reaction in the body. The body tries to balance out the stress signals using nutrients that have properties to smooth out stress and anxiety. It is therefore important to be educated about the kind of food that we must reach out for, instead of the sugar loaded comfort food. Stress is one of the leading causes of obesity since it goads people into inactivity and overeating. Moreover, the pounds added on to the body becomes another reason for additional anxiety. It is therefore wise to understand if you have a stress and anxiety condition and likewise make your daily diet include the food mentioned to keep stress away.
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