Eat The Right Food To Reduce Stress
When you become stressed, your adrenal glands release hormones that help maintain your biological balance. The more stress you experience, the harder these adrenal glands work to protect you, and when the stress is chronic the body ramps up production of cortisol which helps buffer against it. Adrenal exhaustion develops when the body can no longer make sufficient amounts of cortisol, leading to fatigue.
B-complex and C vitamins are anti-stress nutrients and are very important to keeping adrenal glands in better shape. They support the functions and keep your adrenal glands at optimum production, so are particularly important for stress management.
Here are some of my best nutrition tips for handling stress:
1. Reduce excess adrenal stimulants such as caffeine, sugar and alcohol, and avoid processed food which places unnecessary burdens on your liver as it attempts to excrete excess stress hormones.
2. Magnesium is a fantastic de-stressor as it acts as a muscle relaxant as well as being incredibly nutritious. Reduce excess adrenal stimulants such as caffeine, sugar and alcohol, and avoid processed food Foods containing magnesium include dark green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, etc), figs, apples, seeds and nuts. Try blending a smoothie with sweeter fruits if you don’t particularly like the taste of magnesium-rich foods.
3. Liquorice tea helps to support adrenal function. Drink it any time of the day for a boost, or blend with other herbs such as camomile before sleep to give you a restful night.
4. Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid which encourages production of the brain waves that induce relaxation without drowsiness. Best to drink in the morning and early afternoon as it contains caffeine, and remember we’re trying to avoid too much of this.
5. Protein should always be on your plate as stress tends to break down the protein in the body quite quickly, so to ensure optimum intake when stressed follow the simple rule of “protein with everything you eat”
6. Start by choosing a complex carbohydrate – raw or lightly steamed vegetables, fruit (pears, apples, bananas) and berries. Select a protein to go with it – nuts (unsalted and non-roasted), organic and natural nut butters and seeds. For example, an apple with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter, or whole-wheat pitta with organic hummus.
7. Enjoy a couple of squares of dark chocolate (with a cocoa content of 70% or more each day). Research has shown that those who consume dark chocolate have lower levels of cortisol after a stressful situation, changing the way our brain responds to stress. Hurrah!
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