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Eat Your Stress Goodbye

Updated: Apr 30


When you’re stressed out, the foods that you’re turning to are most likely going to be traditional ‘comfort’ foods - think big meals, take-out, fatty foods, sweet foods, and alcohol. Let’s face it – we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset about something. However, this isn’t a good permanent solution. When you’re turning to unhealthy foods you can feel better temporarily, but in the long run, you will feel worse. When your body isn’t getting the right nutrition, you can begin to feel less energetic, more lethargic, and in some cases less able to concentrate and focus. All of this can lead to even more stress.

Foods that Fight Stress If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, it’s important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to fight stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet which includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups. Filling up on foods the basic staples of the diet is the best way to ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great


properties which help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix. Some of the best stress-fighting foods include: Avocado – Avocados are a creamy and versatile fruit which can be eaten in a range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips, or in a smoothie. These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to their high glutathione content which specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.



Chamomile Tea– Of course, it’s not all about what you’re eating when it comes to managing stress; what you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen the stress you're feeling. Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can actually increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime soother, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.


Beef – Grass-fed beef is not only kinder to the planet and to animals, it’s also good for people, too. Grass-fed beef has a huge range of antioxidants, including beta-carotene and Vitamins C and E, which can help your body to fight stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for more reasons to spend a little more money on organic, grass-fed beef, it’s also lower in fat than grain-fed beef whilst being higher in omega-3.



Pistachios– another food which is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety in the long term is pistachios. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. Along with this, the rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually be quite therapeutic!


Fermented foods– last but not least, eating fermented foods such as Sauerkraut can help to keep your gut healthy, which actually in turn will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria which are found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.


When you’re feeling stressed, you may be tempted to reach for classic ‘comfort foods’ -usually foods which are laden with sugar, very starchy, or greasy. However, although these foods can make you feel momentarily better, they will actually make you feel worse in the long run.


Having stress-busting foods can help you to feel better in both the short and long term when it comes to stress.When it comes to combating and dealing with stress in the long run, it’s important to make sure that for the most part, you are eating a diet which is healthy and balanced.




References:


Dimidi, Eirini et al. “Fermented Foods: Definitions and Characteristics, Impact on the Gut Microbiota and Effects on Gastrointestinal Health and Disease.” Nutrients vol. 11,8 1806. 5 Aug. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11081806


Dreher, Mark L, and Adrienne J Davenport. “Hass avocado composition and potential health effects.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition vol. 53,7 (2013): 738-50. doi:10.1080/10408398.2011.556759


Hernández-Alonso, Pablo et al. “Pistachios for Health: What Do We Know About This Multifaceted Nut?.” Nutrition today vol. 51,3 (2016): 133-138. doi:10.1097/NT.0000000000000160


Mao, Jun J et al. “Long-term chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) treatment for generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized clinical trial.” Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology vol. 23,14 (2016): 1735-1742. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2016.10.012


Pighin, Dario et al. “A Contribution of Beef to Human Health: A Review of the Role of the Animal Production Systems.” TheScientificWorldJournal vol. 2016 (2016): 8681491. doi:10.1155/2016/8681491


Provenza, Frederick D et al. “Is Grassfed Meat and Dairy Better for Human and Environmental Health?.” Frontiers in nutrition vol. 6 26. 19 Mar. 2019, doi:10.3389/fnut.2019.00026


Raak, Christa et al. “Regular consumption of sauerkraut and its effect on human health: a bibliometric analysis.” Global advances in health and medicine vol. 3,6 (2014): 12-8. doi:10.7453/gahmj.2014.038


Srivastava, Janmejai K et al. “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future.” Molecular medicine reports vol. 3,6 (2010): 895-901. doi:10.3892/mmr.2010.377


Wyness, L. (2016). The role of red meat in the diet: Nutrition and health benefits. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 75(3), 227-232. doi:10.1017/S0029665115004267




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