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Eat Your Stress Goodbye - Stress Reducing Diet


Eat Your Stress Goodbye with a Stress Reducing Diet

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.


Returning to center when in the state of overwhelm can be tricky. So how do we do it?


What is Stress?


Stress is the body's reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. It's very common, can be motivating to help us achieve things in our daily life, and can help us meet the demands of home, work and family life.


But too much stress can affect our mood, our body and our relationships – especially when it feels out of our control. It can make us feel anxious and irritable, and affect our self-esteem.


Talking about stress should go beyond stress awareness month. Stress physical symptoms and stress work can show up in our daily life often and can be combated by appropriate self care and nourishment.


Common Stress and Anxiety Symptoms

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense

  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom

  • Having an increased heart rate

  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Feeling weak or tired

  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry

  • Having trouble sleeping

  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems

  • Having difficulty controlling worry

  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety


How to Reduce Stress

6 Stress Buster Ideas

  1. Feel what you're feeling.

  2. Breath! Take deep breaths, longer on the exhale.

  3. Wake early, between the hours of 5-7am and get some fresh air and oxygen flowing around your body before all else.

  4. Switch off an hour before bed and get a good nights sleep. Use the same bedtime and wake time each night and morning. Routine is key to help you re-anchor.

  5. Declutter - focus on clarity and move towards it.

  6. Get more physical activity.

  7. Follow a healthy nutrition plan - see advice below.

  8. Minimize phone use and unnecessary screen time.

  9. Consider supplements - see advice below.

  10. Practice self-care.

  11. Reduce your caffeine intake.

  12. Spend time with friends and family.

  13. Spend time alone in nature. Gardening is a great way.

  14. Create boundaries and learn to say no. Express your limits.


What Vitamins or Herbs Help with Stress?

MOOD Balance

Studies show that certain dietary supplements can help to reduce stress and improve mood.


  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5HTP) - The perfect stress and anxiety relief supplements. It's a naturally occurring amino acid and chemical precursor as well as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitter Serotonin.

  • Vitamin B - Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is often known as the anti-stress vitamin. Using B1 can be key to improving mood and treating depression. Combating stress vitamins b using B3, B9, and, in particular, B12, improves mood, a healthy nervous system, and brain health. A 2014 study showed taking B vitamins had a positive impact on occupational stress. There is a strong correlation between low levels of B12 and increased rates of anxiety and depression.

  • Vitamin D3 - Study after study indicates the direct link between vitamin D levels and mental health is so strong that adding just 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day can reduce fatigue, feelings of depression and anxiety.

  • Less Stress, More Yes – Relax Gummies with L-Theanine, a natural amino acid that helps reduce occasional stress, and lemon balm, a calming botanical, help get you in your zone.

  • Magnesium - When you’re chronically stressed, your magnesium levels may become depleted. This mineral plays an important role in your body’s stress response, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough each day. Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to improve stress in chronically stressed people.

  • Mood Balance - Physical, mental and emotional stress, Anxiety, Depression, Adrenal fatigue, Blood sugar problems, Hormone balance, PMS and menopause, Low libido, Energy, stamina and strength, Memory and mental capacity, Emotional eating, Improved athletic performance and post-workout recovery. Ingredients: Holy basil, Rhodiola, Maca, and Digestive enzymes.

  • Stress Relief Probiotic - A natural, probiotic supplement to fuel more stress-free moments.


Food to Avoid - What Foods Trigger Anxiety


Fast food dining area

Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy, but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your levels of stress. Knowing which foods to avoid and which are the best to reach for to snack on when you’re feeling worried and anxious is important to helping you get control over your emotions and fears.


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.

  • Avoid fast foods.

  • Drinks which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy and sweet fizzy drinks, can actually increase your stress levels if consumed regularly.

  • If you're experiencing high levels of stress - ditch the alcohol. Drink to celebrate, never to soothe.

  • According to the data, if you eat "lots" of processed meat, fried food, refined cereals, candy, pastries, and high-fat dairy products, you're more likely to be anxious and depressed.


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 such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as 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


* 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.


* Blueberries – If you’re feeling stressed out and reaching for the snacks, swapping chocolate or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially antho-cyanin, 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.


* 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.


* Chocolate – Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can actually make you happier. However, that doesn’t mean that you can start munching on chocolate bars every time you're stressed out – chocolate 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 flavanols and polyphenols, two hugely important antioxidants which can help combat stress, more than many fruit juices.


* 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.


* 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, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed. Studies have shown that kids who choose oatmeal for breakfast tend to be much sharper throughout the morning in school compared to kids who had alternative morning meals.


* Walnuts – If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option which 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 or as part of a desert. A versatile nut, walnuts are great for salads, or add them to a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake.


* 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!


* 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, for example 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 out overall.


* Fermented foods – last but not least, eating fermented foods such as yogurt 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 yogurt actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.


Putting Together Your Diet Plan


Having stress-busting snacks such as fresh berries, dark chocolate, yogurt, walnuts or pistachios, or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens in it 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.


In order to stay on track, it’s a good idea to make a meal plan for your week and plan ahead to make sure that you have a good selection of these stress-busting foods in your kitchen to make meals and snacks from when you’re feeling like stress-eating. Making sure that the majority of your meals include foods such as lean proteins and leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel healthier overall, but can improve your mental health and stress levels, too.


A good example of a healthy, stress-busting menu would be:


Oatmeal and berries

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries or a fruit smoothie with avocado and berries

  • Mid-morning snack: Natural yogurt with fruit or a handful of pistachio nuts

  • Lunch: A whole-grain pasta salad filled with plenty of leafy greens

  • Afternoon snack: Dark chocolate

  • Dinner: Grass-fed beef with vegetables

  • Before bed: Chamomile tea


Of course, you don’t need to stick to this menu – but it gives you a good idea! Remember to exercise good portion control when eating foods such as nuts, chocolate, yogurt or avocado! As the saying goes, you are what you eat – so make sure that first and foremost, you’re filling yourself up with foods which are good for your mental health.


Share in the comments below some of your favorite stress-busting foods and meals.


To Your thriving Health,

Gwen


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Medical disclaimer: This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment. Medical conditions require medical care.





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