What’s the first thing you reach for when you feel under stress? If it’s a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or a bowl of mashed potatoes, you’re probably focusing on comfort foods. However, to truly relieve stress you need to focus on certain healthy foods, focus on getting more sleep and getting adequate exercise. All these things can lower your cortisol levels and cortisol is the primary hormone of stress. It’s key in the fight-or-flight response, but when you get too much, for too long, it can create stress, which increases your blood pressure and causes inflammation.
Lower cortisol by eating an anti-inflammatory diet, starting with foods high in vitamin B.
If you want to boost the vitamin B levels in your diet, look for whole grains that are fortified with vitamin B or opt for animal products like beef, chicken, eggs, organ meat or nutritional yeast. Look for foods highest in B12, such as organ meats, clams, sardines and tuna. B12 helps metabolize cortisol. B12 also helps support normal functions of nerve cells, and can boost your energy level, improve your memory and help reduce the potential for heart disease.
Omega3 fatty acids can help mellow you out.
Your body cannot make the essential fatty acids, which includes omega-3 and omega-6. You have to get them from food. You need both, but in a specific ratio. It should be a three to one ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. Unfortunately, today people eat 25 times more omega-6 compared to omega-3. Studies show that boosting the omega-3 and reducing the omega-6 back to the point where you have three times more omega-6 in the diet, can also reduce violent behavior, reduce inflammation and bring more peace of mind. Sources of omega-3 fatty acid include fatty fish like salmon, avocados, chia seeds, flax seeds, oysters and walnuts.
Eat foods rich in magnesium.
Avocados, bananas, broccoli, spinach, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and spinach are foods that contain magnesium. It also helps metabolize cortisol, reduces inflammation and helps relax both the body and mind. Magnesium helps regulate neurotransmitters. They’re the messengers that travel throughout the nervous system and brain. It’s also anti-inflammatory, reduces PMS and provides a host of other benefits.
- You need to balance your blood sugar levels to reduce stress, a spike in blood sugar can create stress. Food’s high in protein, like meat, fish, beans and legumes, are good to reduce stress.
- A lot of your immune system is based in your gut and the microbiome. In fact, those friendly microbes also affect your mood. Eating fermented foods help balance blood sugar, which is another aid, while it boosts your mood. Kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt are good sources.
- If you need a quick fix to reduce stress, try a few pumpkin seeds or some dark chocolate that’s at least 90% cacao. They contain magnesium that will help you relax quickly.
- If you’re under stress, don’t make it worse. Avoid foods that are high in sugar, are simple carbs, soft drinks, food high in caffeine and alcoholic drinks.
For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness