Stress busting is essential in order to save the body from the release of damaging hormones that will mess up your regular bodily processes and affect your mental health.
Good nutrition is essential in protecting you from disease, building your immune system, enhancing your physical and mental development and improving performance. Food provides energy to your body as well as affecting your brain and moods through your gut. Many of you will have experienced hanger! We’ve compiled a list of nutritious super foods to help you bust off stress and anxiety with delicious home-cooked meals.
Leafy Green Veggies
Dark leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, cabbage, collard greens, are rich in essential minerals, especially folate, which aid in generating dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is a brain chemical that induces pleasure, calmness and happiness. It’s best to enjoy these foods raw wherever possible, or with minimal cooking such as steaming to help the food to hold on to its nutritious value.
Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flaxseed are all brimming with energising minerals, particularly magnesium, a powerful mineral that aids in regulating emotions and alleviating stress. Magnesium boosts help to fight irritability and fatigue and uplifts the mood. The consumption of seeds loaded with magnesium is particularly benefit in fighting cramps and bloating that occurs during PMS.
Episodes of stress and anxiety produce harmful hormones, particularly cortisol and adrenaline, which cause harm to the human body. Wild salmon is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits to eliminate the damaging stress hormones, and uplift your mood.
A study from the Oregon State University1 reveals that individuals who consumed 3-ounce servings of cooked wild salmon, which contains over 2000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, at least twice a week reduced their anxiety more than 20% as compared to participants who didn’t consume wild salmon at all.
Blueberries are loaded with the powerful anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants. Blueberries aid in releasing dopamine in the brain, a vital chemical that aids in uplifting the mood, blocking feelings of depression, and enhances memory retention, just to name a few benefits.
Blueberries (and other berries such as raspberries and blackberries) are an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps protect cells against damage and aids in the absorption of iron.
A recent study2 showed that consuming two servings of pistachios every day reduces the constriction of blood vessels during episodes of stress, and the load exerted on the heart. Moreover, the simple act of extracting the pistachios out of their shells in order to eat them is a rhythmic movement that is known to have therapeutic benefits of its own as this repetitive action allows you to silence your stressful thoughts and enjoy calmness for a while.
Dark chocolate has emerged as the new anti-anxiety remedy, as it is rich in antioxidants and countless feel-good chemicals. Dark Chocolate triggers the production of anandamide, a neurotransmitter within the brain that temporarily blocks away feelings associated with sadness and depression, allowing you to feel blissful and happy. However, be sure to pick out a bar that has at least 75% or more concentration of cocoa in order to enjoy these mood uplifting benefits.
Read more about the healing power of chocolate here.
With food in mind, you may be interested in reading about pro and prebiotics and their anti-inflamitory affect. They positivley influence the friendly bacteria in the gut, which in turn alter hormone levels and our moods. Good sleep and exercise are also helpful in reduce stress.
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