Eat to Fight Stress

Alright, I’m a little late, but I’m still following through with my promise to blog every Tuesday.  I want to start by sharing something I found reading Carrots n’ Cake.  It’s called Respect the Bird and it’s ” a grass roots effort started in November 2010 by one frustrated Allrecipes.com Supporting Member, Doug Matthews. Doug wrote a blog post then reminding people Thanksgiving deserves to be more than an afterthought among our national holidays. Taking a cue from Doug’s blog post, Allrecipes aims to boost Respect the Bird into national awareness. ”  It’s basically a pledge to celebrate Thanksgiving for it’s true meaning and to not let it get overrun by Black Friday and Christmas shopping.  I took the pledge and will celebrate extra this year by hosting Friendsgiving, an early Thanksgiving dinner with friends.  Can’t say I won’t start getting in the xmas spirit right after Thanksgiving though 🙂

On a somewhat similar note is my blog topic for this week, what to eat when you’re stressed.  This time of year is full of stress for most people.  Whether it’s something to do with the holiday season, finals, or grad school applications, it’s easy to find yourself on edge during the next few months. I know many people, including myself, tend to turn to food when they’re stressed out.  The important thing to do when this happens is to choose the right foods, one’s that will actually help manage your stress and not just add extra calories.

Complex Carbohydrates: When you’re stressed it’s easy to grab something sugary and sweet.  However, simple sugars like candy and refined grains lead to a spike in serotonin which makes you feel good, but are digested quickly causing you to crash shortly after.  Reach for whole grain cereal, pasta, bread, or oatmeal to boost your mood and keep it stable.

Oranges:  Foods high in vitamin C, like oranges, not only strengthen your immune system, but help reduce stress hormones.  Other foods high in vitamin C are strawberries, kiwi, papaya, guava, and bell peppers.

Make a stress fighting meal with a salad of spinach, strawberries, avocado, pecans, and goat cheese

Spinach: Headaches and fatigue are a symptom of magnesium deficiency.  Spinach and other leafy greens are high in magnesium.

Salmon and Tuna: Fatty fish are full of omega-3 fatty acids.  These healthy fats reduce surges in stress hormones.

Nuts: Almonds, pistachios, and walnuts are all high in vitamin E which boost your immune system.  Nuts also contain omega-3’s and B vitamins that help combat stress.  Just remember, a serving is about 1/4 cup.

Avocado:  Half of an avocado has healthy monounsaturated fats and as much potassium as a medium banana, both which help lower your blood pressure.  Make up some guacamole to satisfy a craving for high-fat, creamy treat instead of reaching for a bowl of ice cream.

Raw Veggies:  Crunching on simple raw vegetables helps release tension in your jaw (a big problem I have).

Milk: Calcium eases anxiety and soothes tension and muscle spasms.  Choose low-fat or skim.

Remember, exercise is great stress reliever too 😉

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One response

  1. Great post! Definitely knew about carbs + stress eating, but didn’t realize magnesium deficiency was a cause for headaches…I’ve been eating a lot of almond butter and spinach in my smoothies lately and have had less migraines…so good to know! 🙂

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