Nothing can ever replace the damage caused by stress to your body. Busy schedules, work deadlines, and current environmental issues promote stress and reduce the natural defenses of the body. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to combat stress. Healthy eating has a positive effect on reducing stress in a natural and effective way.
Here are the top foods that combat stress.
Blueberries are a proven stress buster. It is crammed with antioxidants that revive and rejuvenates the damaged cells in the body and relieve stress. It neutralizes free radicals in the body and prevents cell damage. It also improves the body’s response to fight stress and anxiety. Besides, blueberries also improve immunity, which again, plays a vital role in reducing stress.
2. Dark chocolate
This could be the ultimate delight for chocolate lovers. Not all chocolates have the power to combat stress in an effective way, but the dark chocolate which has a relaxing effect on your body. Studies reveal that consumption of dark chocolate shows a reduction in cortisol- the stress hormone, thereby relieving stress. The cocoa has a high amount of antioxidant that lowers the blood pressure and relaxes the blood vessels. For a calming effect, go for chocolates that have over 70 % cocoa, say experts.
If you are not trying to lose weight, avocados may prove to be beneficial for combating stress. The creamy fruit contains glutathione that blocks the absorption of fats responsible for the oxidative damage. The fruit also increases satiety and you feel more satisfied. This reduces stress and promotes better health. Since it is high in fats, consider limiting your intake by adding just half an avocado in your lunch.
Nuts have always been a great snack, but cashews have an added advantage. The crunchy nut is packed with proteins and omega-3s that reduce cravings and make you feel full. They are rich in zinc that helps in preventing stress. Zinc deficiency is one of the major causes of stress and anxiety. So, replenishing your zinc stores may help in preventing stress altogether. Having a few every day may seem beneficial for anyone. Besides, they can also be a great snack for those trying to lose weight due to its high protein content.
Eating salmon has many health benefits, the major being stress relief. The fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acid which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Studies show that it helps in reducing the stress hormone cortisol as well as adrenaline and induces a calming effect. People who consume salmon on a regular basis have shown a reduced level of stress as compared to those who do not. In addition to it, salmon is also a great food for your heart.
How Food Affects Your Mood
People crave almost instinctively comfort foods that are high in carbohydrates, which the body immediately converts into sugar in the bloodstream upon consumption. Consuming processed and refined foods that contain exorbitant amounts of sugars and artificial ingredients and practically no dietary fiber renders the eater into a blood sugar nightmare.
Even cooked starches that some consider healthy such as potatoes, rice and pasta are converted into simple sugars quickly in the body. This gives an immediate burst of false energy and a short-lived sense of well being, followed by a nasty letdown and what some call ‘self-induced hypoglycemia.’
In order to feel better after the letdown phase, which can make people feel exhausted, cranky and unable to focus, the body compels one to simply eat more of the substance that gave it that happy rush in the first place. Now we see how we get set up for addictions. Ever tried to be in a good mood, feel jubilant about life or get lots of work done when you are in the throes of caffeine withdrawal?
The main function of most anti-depressants on the market is to enhance the uptake of that famous ‘feel-good hormone’ serotonin. When this brain chemical is low, people crave carbohydrates and comfort foods in order to get it.
But if we learn how to nourish the brain properly, we need not suffer from nutrient or serotonin deficiencies and consequently we can avoid the addictions that keep us bound to the constant highs and lows. There is a sound and foolproof way to accomplish this.
One of the main reasons a raw vegan diet is so helpful in maintaining stable moods is due to the fact that there are no toxins, addictive substances or artificial ingredients in living foods. Moreover, raw foods are loaded with fiber to keep the intestinal tract and colon in tip-top shape as well as clean.
If the colon is overloaded with waste, this waste is recirculated in the bloodstream again and again. How peaceful and blissful do you think you can feel with your body’s own waste nourishing your brain? Consumption of foods that are high in fiber and natural sugars also eliminates the wild roller coaster blood sugar swings which are notorious for ultimately depleting our serotonin supplies.
After a period of detoxification, which may sometimes be a bumpy road as our emotions are detoxified as well, the mind becomes clearer and sharper. Better health also brings an improved outlook on life and renewed hope that other improvements are possible. When we begin to look better, perhaps by dropping a few pounds or our skin clears up, we definitely begin to strike a more cheerful tone.
On a raw food diet, our brain becomes cleansed and nourished on a cellular level, our senses sharpen and we begin to see the sun come out in our life once again.