The stress and frazzle of our daily life make us feel distressed, and with time it could manifest a damaging effect on the body. Whether short term or long term, the impact of stress on our bodies cannot be overemphasized. It can affect every part of our body system including digestive, reproductive, and even our immune system. In all, stress has the potential of making our entire body system crash (sounds familiar?).
Unfortunately, our ability to make healthy food choice becomes compromised under stress. We tend to reach for junk food in these times. However, managing and lowering your stress levels can be as easy as eating right.
There are a number of healthy options that have been scientifically proven to alter brain chemistry and hormones to help your body deal with stress more easily. Reach for one of these picks when a stress-induced craving hits, and fit them into your diet in general to both improve your mood and waistline
Here are our five (5) picks of superfoods to help fight off stress!
Avocados are rich in stress-relieving B vitamins and heart-healthy monosaturated fat (such as omega-3 fatty acids) vitamin C, vitamin B6, and fibre — these vital vitamins may help to lessen anxiety, boost concentration, and improve mood.
Potassium is known to naturally help lower blood pressure, and improve heart health, and avocados contain worthy amounts of this mineral.
Not to mention, the healthy fat and fibre in avocados can help contribute to satiety, discouraging you from unhealthy snacking when you’re stressed.
When you’re stressed, leafy greens are one of the last things you’d crave but these veggies do your body good!
Leafy greens such as spinach and kale, as well as other raw fruits and veggies contain folate, a vitamin that helps produce the feel-good brain chemicals—serotonin and dopamine. This replenishes the body in times of stress.
Leafy greens are also a rich source of magnesium which helps prevent anxiety, panic, depression and treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
Nuts are rich in vitamins and minerals, along with healthy fatty acids.
Study shows that nuts like almonds, pistachios and walnuts are high in the antioxidant vitamin E and zinc — both regulate, and boost the immune system, and can also have a role in reducing stress levels.
They are also satiating, meaning they can help ward off unhealthy cravings. However, nuts are calorie-dense and can lead to weight gain if you eat too many. So to avoid excess calories, remember to limit servings to a handful a day.
The increased production of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol depletes omega-3 levels, and having a low omega-3 status may increase the production of stress hormone.
Fatty fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acid which may help ease depression because the nutrients easily interact with mood-related brain molecules, they also enhance the brain functioning power.
Fatty fish are a great option because they are heart-healthy; they protect your heart from disease. They’re also good for just about every part of your body, including the eyes, skin and hair.
Fatty fish include tuna, halibut, salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and lake trout.
Whole grains are a great source of protein, the vitamin B-complex minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium, and fibres. All these compounds relieve stress and anxiety, boost your mood, sleep, improve memory, and stabilise your blood pressure.
To boost your serotonin levels, choose healthy and unrefined whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and other complex carbs, such as starchy veggies, legumes, and sweet potatoes, for better nutrition. Try to limit your consumptions of refined carbs such as cake, cookies, white bread, and pasta.