It’s Physiology: 10 Foods That Actually Help Manage Stress
Why does warm milk, like in childhood, help you relax? Why would a couple of dark chocolate chunks help out on a tough day? And why eat eggs and beets to make you less nervous? The answers are in the material.
One of the main values of kale is its high fiber content. The latter is responsible for blood sugar levels, prevents insulin spikes and is necessary for normal bowel function. A drop in blood sugar can cause fatigue, anxiety, irritability, and trouble concentrating. There are studies that support high fiber foods to reduce anxiety and stress. Pharmacological Research Journal also published a study in rats: Fiber helps fight oxidative stress and the development of inflammation.
Not only kale and other types of greens are rich in fiber. Add legumes, green peas, berries, almonds, pistachios, flax and sesame seeds, broccoli to the diet.
And also black currants, rose hips, red peppers and kiwi – all foods that contain the maximum amount of vitamin C. In order to check what effect this vitamin has on the human body, scientists have repeatedly conducted studies. One of them showed that people taking up to 100 mg of vitamin C per day had lower stress levels due to a decrease in anxiety levels.
Nuts contain B vitamins and fatty acids. Adding moderate amounts of almonds, pistachios, or walnuts to your daily diet can help reduce anxiety and strengthen your cardiovascular system, which is the first to suffer if you’re constantly under stress.
If you consume dairy products, feel free to resort to this technique in the evening when you feel tension. Firstly, many of us were given warm milk at night in childhood – even now the body can perceive this as a signal to rest. Secondly, dairy products with calcium help muscles relax and stabilize mood. There is also research showing that they can help manage PMS symptoms.
Fish is the most important source of Omega-3. Tuna, halibut, salmon, mackerel, sardines – all of these foods help prevent heart disease and ease depression.
If you do not eat fish, be sure to add seaweed, chia and flax seeds, walnuts, and avocados to your diet. When it comes to Omega-3 supplements, you should definitely consult with a specialist to determine the dosage. Supplements are best used if you eat fish less than twice a week.
It contains many antioxidants that help fight free radicals, and regular consumption lowers blood pressure and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. But most importantly, if you haven’t got enough sleep, it helps you wake up and feel more invigorated. Carbohydrates will provide an energy boost, and the fats in the composition will help you stay full longer. The invigorating effect is provided by theobromine, a substance similar in composition to caffeine. It has a stimulating effect on the heart muscle and nervous system. Choose chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa. There are more B vitamins (drowsiness and lethargy are the first signs of a vitamin deficiency), magnesium, iron and calcium.
Compared to other types of teas, green has an important advantage: it is not fermented during the production process. The leaves are steamed to preserve an impressive amount of antioxidants. Scientists at the Chinese Northern University A&F, led by Dr. Xuebo Liu, have proven that green tea neutralizes harmful fats, removes them from the body, helps preserve memory and normalizes insulin levels in the blood.
Green tea also affects the health of the intestines. To prove this, Ohio University scientists used mice that were given 2% green tea extract. For 8 weeks, the researchers monitored the condition of the mice and found an improvement in the intestinal microflora and a decrease in the risk of obesity (the food in the rodents was high in calories all this time). In addition, the very process of drinking tea has a calming effect.
You don’t have to worry about caffeine in the composition: its amount does not exceed 24–45 mg per 100 ml (there is still more in coffee). If you are used to drinking a lot of green tea (and experts recommend no more than 500 ml per day), just increase your water intake.
One of the most understandable desires of a stressed person is to eat a fast carbohydrate. There is no denying cravings for these foods, just try to minimize their intake and eat more complex carbohydrates (such as oatmeal), which will promote the production of serotonin and keep blood glucose at normal levels during stress.
Eggs contain acetylcholine, a chemical compound that acts as a neurotransmitter. Responsible for our ability to regulate mood and manage stress levels.
Beets contain folic acid. Lack of this substance in the body can cause psychological fatigue, forgetfulness, distraction and insomnia. For reference, a glass of beetroot juice contains 30% of the daily dose of folic acid.