Stress is inevitable in life, and as such, one’s goal should not be stress-free living but how to successfully manage stress. By itself, stress won’t make an individual ill, but the way of coping with it will. The practical objective, therefore, should be how to execute an effective stress management strategies in order to minimize and alleviate the negative effects of stress in our daily lives.
Different means are on hand to effectively mitigate the toll that stress exerts on one’s overall health, and one effective means is by eating healthy, going for a diet that feature foods that help in lowering stress hormone levels such as cortisol.
Cortisol and Disease
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is also associated with higher levels of blood sugar and blood fats (also known as triglycerides). Although these substances can be used by the body as an energy source, excessive amounts have been identified as a culprit for a host of health issues such as digestive disorders, heart attack, muscular tensions, premature coronary artery disease, short-term memory loss, and suppressed immune system.
Stress Fighting Foods
One of the features of effective stress management programs is proper nutrition or healthy eating habits. Some food are known to fight stress by raising the levels of serotonin, a brain chemical which has a calming effect. On the other hand, other foods are known to tame stress by lowering the levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. The following are some of the foods that are known to be helpful in stress management:
Complex carbohydrates aids in raising serotonin levels. It also helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels. Food under this group include pastas, breads, whole grain cereals, and oatmeal. Oatmeal is also a good source of magnesium and potassium, substances that are known to aid in lowering blood pressure.
Citrus Fruits and other Source of Vitamin C
Research indicate that vitamin C helps in boosting the immune system as much as it lowers the levels of stress hormones. It has been shown that people who took vitamin C before doing a stressful task have a lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits such as oranges. It can also be obtained from green leafy vegetables and bell peppers.
Fish oils such as those from salmon and tuna are known to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids helps in controlling the levels of stress hormones. Apart from that, it also protects against heart disease and mood disorders such as depression and PMS.
Other food that can help in curbing stress hormones are as follows: spinach, black tea, pistachios, avocados, almonds, raw vegetables, milk, herbal supplements, dark chocolate, sweet potatoes, carrots, walnuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds.
The list above is of course not a complete when it comes to foods that help in stress management. The point here, however, is that all of us can be free from the harmful effects of stress simply by being wise about what we choose to eat. Combined with other healthy stress-busting practices such as exercise, we can choose to live a life that is free from the harmful effects of daily stress.