Life has a way of getting the best of us on some days. Whether you’re working too many hours, shuffling your kids all over the place for their activities, taking care of household duties, or dealing with personal or family matters, stress can drain you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. But there are some simple steps you can take to greatly decrease stress, starting with the foods you eat.
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol is a good start when life is particularly stressful. Stimulants and depressants can both ‘suck’ your energy and rob you of the fuel you need to properly and safely cope with tension. Sugar-rich foods should be avoided as well, as they cause your blood sugar rates to spike and then dip rapidly, which can in turn make your energy levels spike and dip at the same rate.
However, there are many excellent anti-stress ‘superfoods’ out there that can provide you with the energy and nutrition your body needs to keep stress under control.
- Asparagus, which is high in folic acid, can help level out your moods. Folic acid and vitamin B are key players in producing serotonin, a chemical that helps get you into a good mood.
- Red peppers. Oranges have long been thought to be the most Vitamin C endowed fruit (50mg per portion) but in fact red peppers contain double the amount at around 95-100mg a portion. Vitamin C rich diets boost your mental and emotional reserve capacity keeping you feeling alert, alive and ready for the next challenge.
- Soya beans (also chickpeas and fortified cereals, i.e. foods high in iron) not only get you into a good mood but help you stay there as well!
- Wheat germ (also spinach, pumpkin, squash seeds and cashew nuts, i.e. foods high in zinc) also have a stabilizing influence on those all important moods.
- Milk (unless you are lactose intolerant) does the body good. It’s full of calcium, protein, antioxidants, and vitamins B2 and B12, it helps strengthen bones and promotes healthy cell regeneration. Paired with a healthy whole-grain cereal in the morning, low-fat milk is a great way to begin your day and indeed ‘fortify’ yourself and ‘insure’ you against the hidden stressors (including disease germs and viruses) that are ever lurking around the environment.
- Cottage cheese is also another fine dairy product, and when consumed with a fruit that’s high in vitamin C, it helps the body battle free radicals that tend to run rampant during your most stressful and emotionally vulnerable periods.
- Almonds are a first class choice when it comes to protecting yourself against stress. They’re high in magnesium, zinc, as well as vitamins B2, C, and E and unsaturated fats, all of which defend against free radicals, which have been shown to cause cancers and heart disease.
In addition regarding almonds, research carried out on yogis has shown another huge plus in that they (taken with lime juice) are great for building and enhancing your memory too.