• Julie @ Live HFH

Eat Your Stress Goodbye

We know that stress can wreak havoc on our bodies. Chronic stress can cause a variety of issues and can affect overall wellbeing. Symptoms of chronic stress can include irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, and insomnia. If stress goes uncheck it can even negatively affect our digestion, blood pressure, and immune system.

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

The good news is that certain foods can help you deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. One very good way to fight stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet that includes lots of plants, slow-release carbs, healthy fats, and quality protein. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties which help the body combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to calm your mind.

10 Foods That Fight Stress

Avocados: These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body. Their high glutathione content acts as an important antioxidant and helps combat free radicals. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than most other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. Blueberries: Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially anthocyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind - all of which can help you to better deal with stress. Camomile Tea: Drinking liquids that are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks, or soda, can actually increase your stress levels if consumed in excess. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime soother. It has been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety. Chocolate: This tasty treat works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dark chocolate, in particular, is best for you, as it contains more flavonols and polyphenols, two hugely important antioxidants which can help combat stress. Oatmeal: Oatmeal is great in that it can be a filling comfort food, but also has a large number of healthy properties to actually make you feel better from the inside out. A complex carbohydrate, oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed. Beef: Grass-fed beef has a larger range of antioxidants than grain-feed beef, including beta-carotene and Vitamins A and E, which can help your body fight stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for more reasons to spend a little more money on quality meat, organic, grass-fed beef is also lower in fat than grain-fed beef while being higher in omega-3.

Walnuts: If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option that will help you to stay better in control of your stress levels, walnuts are a great choice. There is no denying the sweet, pleasant flavor of walnuts and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals. A versatile nut, walnuts are also a great addition to salads, vegetable dishes, and as a topping for smoothies or yogurt. Pistachios: Another food that is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety 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. Along with this, the rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually be quite therapeutic! Green Leafy Vegetables: Leafy, green vegetables should be a pivotal part of anyone's diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants which help to fight off disease and leave your body feeling healthier and more energized. Dark leafy greens, like spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate, which helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a 'feel-good' chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed overall. Fermented foods: Last but not least, eating fermented foods can help to keep your gut healthy, which in turn will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria which are found in fermented foods such as greek yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and, kombucha actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain

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