The general belief goes that it is usually an external factor that drives people towards a stressful life. The reality however is, that getting stressed is your mind and body’s reaction towards that external factor.
Just like it is up to you to be optimistic or pessimistic about an uncertain situation, the same goes for stress. Why then the statistics of stressed Americans stand at a startling 73%? Surely they are not all cynics, could it be that how a person react to stress is brought about by factors not entirely concerned with will power and optimism?
One of the often overlooked causes of stress is wrong diet, and considering that the rate of obesity is increasing upward along with the number of stressed people in America, there most definitely is a link between the two. Eating junk food regularly deprive the body of essential nutrients and vitamins. Also, eating rich food high in fat and carbohydrate stimulates the cortisol or stress hormones to crave more of such food when they you are stressed. This is where the concept of comfort eating and binging springs from.
Since, food is an essential component for a stress-free life, here’s taking a look at the various food items that help to take control of and better manage a stressful situation. Remember the idea here is to tap into the properties of calming food and not ‘comfort’ food.
Vitamin C– Look for foods that are brimming with Vitamin C, as this type of Vitamin directly brings down the cortisol level. Additionally, Vitamin C has been proven good for the immune system too. Oranges, Broccoli, Guava, Kiwi, and herbs like thyme and parsley are the highest carriers of Vitamin C.
Vitamin B12- There are several neurotransmitters running through the body, one such neurotransmitter GABA produces instant calming effect. Having food rich in Vitamin B12 help to produce GABA and hence reduces stress. Chicken, salmon, and fat-free milk and yogurt are rich in B12
Magnesium- Magnesium helps in the production of GABA. Whenever you are stressed, your magnesium level tends to drop low leading to a reduction in the formation of GABA. Having food rich in magnesium, like spinach, tofu, almonds, and sunflower will give a boost to the nervous system and trigger the production of both GABA and dopamine (the feel good hormones).
Folic Acid- If pregnancy is the cause of your stress; you need to up your intake of folic acid. Folate helps in the production of dopamine and keeps you satiated for a longer period of time. Chickpeas, asparagus, lentils, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are good sources of folic acid.
Antioxidants- Antioxidants are known to dismutase certain enzymes to lower the level of stress and anxiety. Blueberries, bananas, beans, and green tea are the storehouse of antioxidants.
Zinc- In a study conducted, it was found that a lack of zinc can make a person prone to stress and anxiety. Nuts, including cashew, peanuts, walnuts, and almonds are rich in Zinc and make for healthy snacking options too.
Next time, keep a tab on your diet and notice a change in your stress level.