It’s a known fact that having too much stress in your life can cause a whole lot of undesirable effects on your body. Too much stress can cause headaches, migraines, upset stomachs, nausea .. and who knows what other long-term effects this may have on the body.
Unfortunately, no one can totally eliminate stress from their lives. Even the pious buddhists monks somehow encounter stressful situations. The only defence we have against this is to learn how to deal with it. This can be done via mental and physical exercises such as doing yoga; going on holidays or short vacations; doing something new; going shopping; and (would you believe it) eating!
Yes! Eating can help you keep calm. However, this doesn’t mean you can go out and binge on burgers and pizza. The key to eating for calmness is to eat the right kinds of food items. Having a proper diet can greatly affect how a person thinks and feels. If you’re keen on lowering your stress levels, try to include more of the following food items in your day-to-day consumption.
Just the thought of being able to eat chocolates has reduced your stress levels, right? Chocolates contain anandamine which keeps the dopamine levels of the brain at normal levels which helps keep the mind relaxed and stress free.
2. Nuts (Especially Almonds)
Eat nuts so you won’t go nuts! Why? Because these nuts contain selenium and if you have low levels of selenium in your system, you will experience causes crankiness, anxiety and fatigue. Therefore, a Almonds have high levels of zinc and vitamin B12 – nutrients that help keep your mood balanced, and also keeps anxiety at bay.
3. Spinach & Broccoli
Sorry -Popeye’s favorite food is also rich in magnesium, which keeps the mind from overreacting. The correct dosage of vitamins A and C as well as iron ensures a healthy diet intake as well. With broccoli, you get your required dose of potassium, the low levels of which can cause tiredness and stress.
Not just any pasta though, ideally whole grain pasta. Why? Because that type of pasta is rich in magnesium, and we all ready know that low levels of magnesium increases stress levels. Add in boiled broccoli and you’ve already eaten 2 stress-busting food items in one go! AND if you don’t want pasta, you can try other carbohydrate alternatives.
5. Whole Grain Bread
If you can’t (or don’t want to) have pasta, try whole grain bread instead? Loading up on Magnesium, if not through pasta then through other alternatives, helps reduce stress. So, include toasts or sandwiches in breakfast to lead a stress-free day, and make sure you eat the crust!
6. Fruits such as Blueberries, Kiwi and Bananas
Have some fruit – wait, have a lot of fruit! And if you can eat more bananas, have a bit of kiwi and nibble on blueberries. Bananas are low in fibre which reduce the risk of gas, and are high in potassium, which does wonders for your mood. Kiwis (the fruit not the bird), are known to convert convert tryptophan into serotonin, which induces anxiety-relieving experiences for the brain. Blueberries, on the other hand, are packed with antioxidants which have been proven to relieve stress.
7. Green Tea’
The calming effect of green tea is nothing to scoff at. Green tea has a calming effect on the human mind and also relaxes the body. Calm mind + relaxed body = a stress free you!
You can never have too much fish, especially salmon and mackerel which are both rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, in your diet. These sea animals provide selenium and tryptophan to the brain, which we already know helps us to stay calm.
9. Oats & Milk
There’s one great reason to start having oatmeal for breakfast again! Oats increase the levels of serotonin in the body and (in the long term) also helps to lower cholesterol levels. Milk, on the other hand, contains trytophan – which helps build up serotonin. See? There’s a reason why milk and oats go together! If you want to boost your stress-lowering capacity, add bananas or blueberries to your oatmeal or some nuts.
Finally, if you’re gluten-intolerant and cannot hold any kind of bread and pasta, don’t fret, have some rice instead. Rice is a carbohydrate that has an immensely calming effect. It is also easy to digest and low in fat which makes it a great addition to your diet. Of course you won’t eat rice on its own (you can but it might not be fun), eat it with a slice of steamed fish (salmon or mackerel) with a side salad of favourite veggies (buttered spinach and broccoli tossed with nuts, perhaps).
See? It’s not difficult to eat your way out of stress. Just make sure that when you do decide to take this route to stress-free living, you eat everything in moderation.