Best Foods to Combat Stress
We all know the dangerous effects of stress on our health. It ages us, compromises our immunity, and makes us feel generally, like crap. Avoiding stress is virtually impossible, but we can employ incredibly effective strategies to fend off its effects – and your diet is top of the list.
The following are the top foods to avoid and the top foods to incorporate in order to ramp up your Teflon effect – (get it… like let it roll off your back).
Processed sugars, white flours, and fake fats: I’m sure you’ve heard that Cortisol (nicknamed the belly fat hormone) is the hormone that gets out of whack from stress.
Foods with minimal nutrient content, low fiber, laden with chemicals drive up your insulin levels and cortisol levels that contribute to the oxidative effects of stress.
Avocados: This super food is loaded with glutathione, folate, lutein, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. All these nutrients are powerful antioxidants that help to fight the oxidative effects of stress. Plus, it’s great on toast. (;-)
Berries and Citrus fruits: Yes these are anthocyanin’s, another potent antioxidant, but the big benefit when it comes to stress that these foods provide is vitamin C. Vitamin C has been shown to inhibit cortisol production putting these foods at the top of the menu when you are feeling under the gun.
Grass Fed Beef, Wild Salmon, Organic Yogurt, Walnuts: Kind of a strange mix of foods I know. Here are a couple of things they mostly have in common – zinc and omega 3 fats. Low levels of zinc have been linked to depression so making sure to get a steady supply of this mineral is critical. Plus, it’s also considered antiviral which helps to boost immunity when you are feeling run down. The omega 3 fats are known to improve mood, cognitive function, and have anti-inflammatory properties. So, maybe toss a bit of ocean caught salmon lox on that avo toast!
And, most importantly, take care of yourself. Get your sleep. Move your body, even if you don’t have the time or energy for a hardcore workout. Exercise has been known to boost mood as well and combat depression. Find ways to nurture yourself that aren’t self destructive. Create a new playlist for your workouts. Take a bubble bath. Go get a mani pedi. Engage in a favorite hobby – even if it’s only for 30 minutes. Stress is inevitable, but you can manage it by making a conscious effort to care for yourself.