STRESS takes a toll on our health.
Stress may be caused by stressors we deal with on a daily basis. This could be work stress or stress caused by our interpersonal relationship with other people such as workmates, friends, family, or romantic partner. We have different ways to cope with stress, but our initial response would be to eat. But did you know that there are certain kinds of food that can help ease stress? Likewise, there are also food that you should avoid consuming on days that are particularly stressful.
Food to decrease stress
Cacao contains anandamide, which is a type of endocannabinoid that heightens motivation and happiness. It also has antioxidants. Cacao also helps curb your appetite that help manage weight.
Bananas contain B-Vitamins like folate and vitamin B6 that are essential to the production of serotonin, a hormone that improves mood and reduces anxiety. Citrus fruits contain vitamin C which reduces stress and boosts the immune system. It also helps lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Drinking warm tea after a stressful day can help ease your stress and give better sleep. Choose caffeine-free tea or tea that contain small amounts of caffeine only. Try lemon and other fruit teas, peppermint tea, and chamomile tea.
Milk and dairy products
Milk contains a protein called lactium, which has a calming effect on the body. It helps lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. Drinking a warm glass of milk before bed will help you sleep better too. You can also eat other dairy products such as yogurt.
Nuts contain antioxidants like vitamin E and zinc which are good for your immune system and B vitamins which help reduce stress and anxiety levels too. Almonds, pistachios, and walnuts are good for you. Try adding nuts to your breakfast or snacks such as yogurt.
What to avoid
Alcohol does not actually reduce stress, but clinically is a depressant that affects the central nervous system. It lowers inhibition when intoxicated but the "high" experienced while drinking will be followed by emotional "low" the following day, depending on your level of tolerance. You can try working out and engage in physical exercises instead.
Avoid artificial sweeteners on bad days. That said, avoid junk food too. Natural sweeteners are available such as coco sugar and muscovado sugar.
Limit your coffee intake. Excess caffeine increases stress and anxiety and cause insomnia.
Our first inclination, especially women, when we are stressed is to eat. But beating stress is not about eating plenty, but by eating the right food. Always remember to eat wisely.