You may have heard about comfort foods, which are the foods people turn to when stressed. However, comfort foods are sweet, and obviously, they’re loaded with refined sugar, which when consumed in large quantity or amount can lead to weight gain and eventually to many metabolic diseases. Sugary foods are hard to resist, but feels good to the brain and stress is relieve…at least for a moment. Additionally, comfort foods are not only loaded with added sugars but also packed with high amount of unhealthy fats and refined carbs. When all these 3 combined, it can surely lead to unhealthy consequences.
When you eat sweets, or in other words, sugary foods which often combined with unhealthy fats and refined carbohydrates into one food like cookies, it does something to the brain just as a cocaine does. In fact, one expert said sugar is addictive and it manifests the same results when taking cocaine. Well, cocaine is an illegal substance, and yet sugar is available widely to the public, hence, it has a potential to cause unhealthy outcomes to the public. As a matter of fact, the obesity epidemic has been linked to massive consumption of sugar.
Certainly, there are far more healthier food choices that can give the sense of good feeling or increase dopamine in the brain, which eventually help lower or minimize stress level without the addictive effect. Choose foods that are healthier like the ones listed below. Note that, these are just a few of the many healthy foods provided by nature, hence don’t limit yourself and continue to explore the healthy choices.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach are rich in magnesium contents, which is an essential mineral to the body involved in over 300 chemical processes. Unfortunately, a lot of people are deficient in magnesium because they’re not eating enough greens. Magnesium mineral is helpful on preventing anxiety, as well as useful as part of ADHD treatment. A cup of spinach leaves is a good start in order to reap the benefits of its magnesium content, which is also known as the wonder mineral.
2. WHOLE GRAINS
Carbohydrates regardless of its kind can trigger the brain to release serotonin, which is a hormone that makes us feel good. In order to take advantage of this hormone release, it’s a good idea to boost the serotonin release by the brain by eating foods that are good source of carbohydrates. Additionally, it is vitally important to choose foods that are organic and natural like whole grain as these food sources contain complex carbohydrates. You don’t want the simple carbohydrates from processed foods like high fructose corn syrup and other sugars because the body does not play well with this type of carb.
Good sources of whole grains include brown rice, oatmeal, bread made with whole grains, and among many others. This may not completely eliminate your stress, but it will surely help in a small way and when you do more stress-releasing activities and eat more of the foods listed here, it can surely have a combine amazing positive effects.
Stress causes the blood pressure to rise, and one of the mineral that is helpful in lowering blood pressure to a normal level is potassium. You may be familiar with the most popular source of potassium, the banana. But do you know that avocados also contain potassium? A half of avocado has more potassium contain than a medium-sized banana. Moreover, aside from avocado being rich in potassium, it also contains B-Vitamins, a healthy monosaturated fat, as well as dietary fiber, which alone as ha many health benefits.
You may be familiar that citrus fruits like an orange are packed with Vitamin C, although there are other sources of Vitamin C that are less known like bell pepper and guava. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps lower the level of cortisol, which is a stress hormone, and Vitamin C also lowers blood pressure. One of the functions of Vitamin C is promoting better immunity, hence, regular consumption of oranges or other Vitamin C rich fruits can have a positive effect on health.
In a study by University of Maryland, researchers found that large doses of Vitamin C at 3,000 mg per day in a slow release formula resulted to a reduced mental and physical stress responses. Also, if you happen to watch the documentary “That Vitamin Movie” where Andrew Saul is one of the experts interviewed, he recommends taking high doses of vitamin when feeling stress, and he is doing it himself. Andrew Saul is a vitamin expert and author of several health books including “Doctor Yourself : Natural Healing That Works“.
5. WILD SALMON
Wild salmon is packed with a potent healthy fat known as the Omega-3 fatty acids. This healthy fat prevent the spike of stress hormones and also helps prevents and fights inflammation. Having a regular dose of Omega-3 fatty acids helps keep both the brain and body at its optimal health. When there’s a harmony between body and mind, one can be certain the stress level is very low and can’t affect health.
Nuts are loaded with vitamins and minerals like Vitamin E and Vitamin B1. Therefore, eating walnuts, pistachios, cashew nuts, and among many other healthy nuts that are also rich in healthy fats can stimulate the immune system to function at its best. Nutrients from nuts may aid you strengthen your physical body and clear up your mind during stressful events.
Yogurt is rich in probiotic, which has been shown to alter the body’s response to stress and anxiety. An article at PubMed.gov mentioned probiotics or the good bacteria in the gut has been shown in both human and animal studies to have a positive impact on mood symptoms.
Certain seeds like chia and sunflower seeds are rich in Tryptophan, which is an amino acid that activates the brain to release the hormone serotonin, and as we’ve learned earlier, serotonin is the hormone that makes us feel good achieving the sense of calmness. There are studies that showed that seeds like chia and sunflower seeds can help lower the level of anxiety.
Folate helps the body release neurotransmitters that regulate mood like dopamine and serotonin. Earlier we’ve mentioned spinach, but no mentioned it’s also rich in folate, and another natural food packed with folate is Asparagus. In 2012, a study found that individuals who eat more folate had lower risk of depression compared to those who consumed less.
Additionally, let us side step to oranges mentioned earlier because one study conducted by the University of Otago found eating fruits and vegetables helped young adults to achieve calmness in their nerves. In the study, although they’ve used apples, but it’s a fruit like oranges. So, it’s a good idea to combine on regular in your diet both fruits and vegetables particularly green veggies and fruits rich in flavonoids.
10. DARK CHOCOLATE
Chocolate particularly dark chocolate is known to trigger the brain in releasing dopamine and serotonin, the good mood hormones. This is probably one of the reasons chocolate is such a very popular comfort food when it comes to taste. In fact, a study found that it can help a person calm down. However, you should be careful and not just pick any dark chocolate because most dark chocolate available are loaded with added sugars. Therefore, choose a dark chocolate that is organic, and don’t have much sugar content in it.
If you can get hold of real raw cacao beans, or the real chocolate cacao without the sugar added to it, yet…that’s the ideal chocolate. You can make a hot chocolate with it, or add to your healthy dessert and you’re good to go for a stress-relieving snack.
Now that you know these are the foods you can eat on regular to fend off stress and anxiety, eat them on a regular basis. Change the way you eat, and focus on eating these foods instead of processed foods. You may also include spicy foods especially for those who are looking to boost their sexual libido.
Most of the foods commonly found in the supermarkets are highly processed and contained both added sugars and refined carbs. You don’t want these foods in your body if you want to be healthy at all times. Therefore, it’s time to start focusing on the plant-based organic produced, and avoid the stressing, fattening, and unhealthy processed foods.