Your Food Guide for Stress Management
Stress might seem harmless, but it can take a toll on your body’s natural defenses. Short-term stress can cause stomach cramps, headaches, cold and flu, and weight gain. However, chronic stress affects your entire body – from your immune and digestive system to your reproductive system. It can even increase your risk for harmful conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression, heart disease, and anxiety.
When you are feeling tense, there are things you can do to manage your stress levels. Food can be one of your biggest enemies – or allies. It’s important to watch what you eat when you are stressed, because food can make your stress levels go up or down. In fact, a study in a recent journal reveals that the microorganisms in your gut or intestine, which has good and bad bacteria, affects your emotions, mood, and psychological health.
Using food for stress management is a tactic available to everyone. So, the next time you are under pressure, consider these recommendations from your Corpus Christi, TX emergency room by eating (or drinking) these stress-busting foods:
1. Herbal tea
Herbal tea helps promote feelings of calmness and warmth. Research suggests that holding and sipping a cup of warm beverage promotes feelings of friendliness and interpersonal warmth. Regardless of the flavor, there’s a just something soothing about sipping a warm drink. Certain herbs, such as chamomile and lavender, have been shown to have a calming effect.
2. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is a good way to indulge yourself while reaping its antioxidant benefits. It can help reduce stress through its emotional and chemical impact. According to a study, dark chocolate helps reduce stress levels by lowering the levels of stress hormones. However, be sure to eat it in moderation. We encourage the consumption of high-quality dark chocolate, which is rich in pure components and have no hidden chemicals or additives. Check the label for 2-3 ingredients only, like cane sugar, cacao beans, and cocoa butter.
Add seafood to your plate and fend off stress! A good option would be fatty fish, which is rich in omega-3s, hence, is heart-healthy. According to Harvard Health, consumption of fatty fish may help ease anxiety and stress because its nutrients interact easily with mood-related brain molecules. Good choices include salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, mackerel, and lake trout.
If you are not very fond of eating fish, there are other whole food alternatives like chia seeds, seaweed, walnuts, flaxseeds, as well as fortified foods like milk, eggs, and nut milk.
Here are other great stress-busting foods:
- Warm milk
- Citrus fruits
- Whole grains
- Leafy greens
Making a conscious choice to eat healthy food can offer some real stress relief. Cut the cycle of resorting to junk foods when you are stressed and incorporate these healthy, stress-busting foods for stress management into your diet.