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Choose these 7 foods when you’re stressed

foods when you're stressed

If you’re under a lot of stress a lot of the time, it is very easy to reach for comfort foods. This is unfortunately often food that’s bad for you on many levels. High sugar, high carb foods might feel good in the moment, but will cause your body to react to stress badly in the long term. And we’re not even talking about what these foods in large quantities do to your weight. You have to eat the right foods when you’re stressed.

Here are seven healthy yet satisfying alternatives that will do wonders for how your body copes with stress. And because you’re consciously choosing foods that are good for you, they will reduce the stress about “eating right” you put on yourself as well.

Eat these foods when you’re stressed

1.      Nuts

Nuts are probably the top foods to eat when you’re stressed. They are high in magnesium which lowers cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol also lowers our vitamin B levels and nuts help to replenish those as well. In addition, nuts contain potassium which can lower your blood pressure and make your heart better able to cope with stress.

Nuts are high in calories, but as long as you stick to a small handful per day, this will not impact your weight.

2.      Red peppers

Diets high in vitamin C help people to better cope with stress as vitamin C also lowers cortisol. Red peppers are a great candidate as they contain twice as much vitamin C as oranges.

3.      Spinach

Spinach as well as many other green leafy vegetables are high in folic acid, which helps your body regulate neurotransmitters. These are responsible to regulate emotions and combat depression.

Many green veggies also contain magnesium which is used for regulating cortisol as well as blood pressure. It is very important to top up magnesium levels when you’re stressed as stress flushes magnesium out of your body.

It is important to mention that fruit and vegetables are a major influence to feeling calmer. In a study at Otago University it was found that “On days when people ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally did”.

4.      Foods containing Omega 3 fats

The essential fat Omega 3 plays a major role in your emotional wellbeing. It improves your brain’s efficiency and helps you deal with stress more effectively.

These fats occur in chia seeds, ground linseed, hemp seeds and walnuts, and make sure you use vegetable (rapeseed) oil as your main cooking oil. Omega 3 occurs also in salmon, sardines and krill oil.

5.      Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains more than 300 different compounds, many of which have a positive effect on the brain. It is important to choose high quality chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content. One of the components called anandamide is particularly good at temporarily blocking feelings of pain and depression.

Even though chocolate has a very positive effect on stress, it is important to note that this is only the case in very small amounts. Stick to one small square a day and you will reap the benefits, any more and the negative effect of the sugar contained in chocolate will cancel out any benefits.

6.      Black tea

Several studies have shown that regularly drinking black tea lowers cortisol (the major stress hormone). They also showed that people de-stressed faster with black tea. If you’re worried about the caffeine levels which can have a negative effect on blood pressure you can opt for decaf black tea without losing the beneficial effects.

7.      Avocado

Yet another stress busting power food, avocado has a multitude of nutrients that help your body cope with stress. These include potassium (reduces blood pressure), B vitamins (are lowered in stressful situations), vitamin E (works against anxiety and depression) as well as folic acid (regulates emotions). Avocado is also a very satisfying food, which means that it can help prevent snacking in between meals.

Bonus food – Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an important component for our emotional wellbeing. A lack of vitamin D is associated with an increased risk of panic disorders, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and will prolong recovery from depression.

Vitamin D can be found in a variety of foods such as milk, salmon, eggs and mushrooms. But the best solution for increasing your vitamin D levels is through sensible sun exposure.

If you find it difficult to choose from these foods when you’re stressed or other healthy food options during stressful times, you might benefit from a hypnotherapeutic approach.

If you would like to learn more, please get in touch with me, Samantha Culshaw-Robinson. I have been helping people lose weight since 1988. Call me either on 075 222 777 22 or email me at sam@livewellpractice.co.uk .

If you would like to book in for a session, please fill in your contact details on my consultation page.

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