Stress and nutrition have always been linked – it’s a fact that has been in existence for years. It’s no rocket science to realize that someone with a healthy and balanced diet is likely to be far less stressed than someone with a poor diet.
Stress has become a common factor in one’s life today and various factors lead to stress on a daily basis? It could be work pressure, home pressure, and lot many things add to stress. And, during times of stress, the one thing that most indulge in is bad eating.
We more often than not turn to traditional “comfort” foods such as macaroni and cheese, pizza, and ice cream. All these high-fat foods are usually the worst possible choices because they can make us feel lethargic and less able to deal with stress. To add to this, stress can drive up our blood pressure and raise serum cholesterol levels, wreaking havoc on our arteries and increasing risk of heart attacks.
Best solution? Low-fat, high-fiber, carbohydrate-rich meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. They soothe us without sapping our energy and give us the nutrients we need to boost our immune system.
Here’s a guide to which foods reduce stress and which foods make it worse:
There are plenty of foods that are good for reducing stress:
- Water – Hydrates, makes the individual more energetic and less stressful
- Asparagaus-I know, these slender stalks are known to make your urine smell funny. But, they are high in folate which is essential for keeping your cool
- Avacados-These creamy fruits stress proof your body. Rich in glutathione, a substance that specifically blocks intestinal absorption of certain fats that cause oxidative damage, avocados also contain lutein, beta-carotane, Vitamin E and more folate than any other fruit.
- Berries – Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidant known as anthocyanin and they have been linked to all kinds of positive health outcomes, including sharper cognition. But, all berries, including strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are rich in vitamin C which has been shown to be helpful in combating stress.
- Chocolate – besides the healthy antioxidants in this treat which push chocolate to the top of most heart-healthy food lists, Chocolate also has an undeniable link to mood but, moderation is key to it.
- Green tea – Green tea has an amino acid called theamine. This slimming food is a brain booster as well as enhances mental performance.
- Oatmeal – a complex carbohydrate, Oatmeal causes your brain to produce serotonin, a feel-good chemical.
- Fresh Fruits and vegetables- vegetables also have high fibre content, which is helpful in treating constipation-another long term effect of stress. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide an array of vitamins and minerals that are great for reducing stress.
- Fish- Fish such as Mackerel contain Omega fatty acids, which are extremely good for the heart and can protect you from heart diseases. Fish also contains choline- a great memory booster.
- Yoghurts- Yoghurts provide minerals including calcium, essential to maintain well functioning nerve impulses.
- Herbal Products- Herbal items such as Dandelion, Chamomile, and Passion flower to name a few relaxes both the body and mind.
Having said the above, there are certain foods and drinks that can aggravate stress. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should avoid some of them completely but, it is advised that you consume them in moderation.
Foods and drinks that can trigger and aggravate stress include:
- Tea, coffee, cocoa, energy drinks- These drinks contain neuro-stimulators like caffeine and theo-bromine, which are proven to heighten stress.
- Fast foods and takeaways- They contain high levels of protein, fats and carbohydrates that don’t contain vital minerals and vitamins, which in turn induce stress.
- Butter, cheese, Meat – These are high saturated fats which have a negative impact on stress levels.
- Sugar- stress causes an increase in blood glucose levels, which can in turn lead to a higher risk of developing diabetes.
- Soda, Alcohol, soft drinks and chocolate drinks-The high levels of carbon dioxide/ sugars in beverages aggravate stress. Therefore soft drinks need to be considered as an unnecessary addition to your diet.
So before you go in to grab that cold aerated beverage or have a cheesy burger to relieve your stress…think twice and instead go for the healthier food option suggested above to get reduce your stress.