Updated: Jan 13, 2022
Stressful events are facts of life. You may not be able to change your current situation, but you can implement some strategies to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. To me, this starts from taking care of your diet.
With prolonged stress, the body is revved up and on high alert. Negative emotions, such as anger, worry, or dissatisfaction, interfere with the secretion of digestive juices. The levels of adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones in the bloodstream became high.
Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, slows down your metabolism and increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream; It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system.
A healthy diet builds a solid foundation for your body to deal with life challenges. Building a healthy food preparation habit into your routine can lead to reduced stress levels.
Fighting stress with food is a tactic available to everyone. It is worth choosing those that reduce the effects of stress to some extent.
What Foods Reduce Stress and have the most beneficial (strengthening and calming) effects on the body?
The following deserve special attention:
STRESS-RELIEVING HERBS: ST. JOHN’S WORT, CHAMOMILE, LAVENDER, LEMON BALM, ASHWAGANDHA, - Those herbs may help take the edge off occasional stress and anxiety, and be used as a routine complementary therapy.
St. John’s wort is one of the most studied herbal remedies for mild and moderate depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), mild anxiety and sleep problems. It contains many active substances, including hypericin and hyperforin, which are thought to affect mood. Research suggests that it increases the activity of brain chemicals such as serotonin and noradrenaline that are thought to play an important part in regulating our mood. 2016 study found that long-term use of Chamomile extract significantly reduced moderate symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). Lavender is widely known for its mood-stabilising and sedative effects and can be beneficial for lowering anxiety. Lemon balm (Melissa) can also be used to help combat insomnia and mild anxiety. Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb said to help combat stress and fatigue. People have used ashwagandha for thousands of years to relieve stress, increase energy levels, and improve concentration.
Be aware that some herbs may interact with certain medications or result in other adverse side effects, so talk with a doctor or pharmacist before use.It is always best to seek advice from your GP in the first instance.
CELERY - it contains sedative compounds and lowers blood pressure; it is good to eat a few celeries sprigs a day or drink the freshly squeezed juice. Celery has a wide-range of calming effects. It contains tryptophan, which triggers the release of serotonin, helping to support sleep and reduce anxiety. Daily consumption can lower raised blood pressure, a common stress-related symptom.
CABBAGE – I call it “a miracle food” as it is an exceptionally healthy. It provides vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene and selenium, which have antioxidant properties, i.e. eliminate the effects of free radicals released under stress and help convert tryptophan into serotonin, i.e. improve mood.
It is rich in vitamin B6 and folate, both of which are crucial for various important processes in the body, including energy metabolism and the regular functioning of the nervous system. High in fiber and gut-friendly cabbage contains a chemical called sulforaphane, which helps the body fight against toxins. Insoluble fiber helps keep the digestive system healthy by promoting regular bowel movements and providing fuel for friendly bacteria.
CUCUMBER – Have you ever heard the phrase “cool as a cucumber”? Cucumber supports digestion, cleanses the liver and intestines; it is recommended to drink vegetable celery and cucumber juice. It is rich in vitamins, particularly vitamin B complex, which can relax your nervous system.
GREEN ASPARAGUS - Asparagus, like other green vegetables, is high in antioxidants. improves the condition of the liver by maintaining its function at an optimal level. As a rich source of fibre, asparagus promotes regularity and digestive health.
AVOCADO - contains large amounts of iron, which enhance the regeneration of red blood cells, which prevents fatigue. It’s rich in oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat) and other antioxidant-rich nutrients that are linked to improved heart condition.
SPROUTS, LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES AND WHOLE GRAINS - they are worth consuming due to the magnesium content, which is one of the effects of stress.
LEGUMES, BROWN RICE, PARSLEY AND GREEN VEGETABLES – are high in one or more B vitamins, necessary for the proper functioning of the brain. B complex vitamins help your body produce energy, but aside from B12, your body cannot store these vitamins for long periods, so you have to replenish them regularly through food.
BERRIES: RASPBERRIES, BLUEBERRIES, STRAWBERRIES, BLUEBERRIES, BLACKBERRIES - They are high in flavonoid antioxidants and are associated with a number of health benefits, including improved mood.
SUNFLOWER SEEDS, SESAME, ALMONDS - Seeds are a rich source of vitamin E and are also high in other stress-reducing nutrients, including magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, B vitamins, and copper. Sesame also contains the calming vitamins thiamin and tryptophan that help produce serotonin, which helps you sleep deeply. Soak it well before eating as it facilitates digestion.
A HEALTHY DIET IS ONE WAY YOU CAN IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH, HOWEVER IF YOU HAVE ANY WORRIES ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND ARE UNSURE ABOUT TREATMENT OPTIONS, IT IS ALWAYS USEFUL TO TALK THIS THROUGH WITH YOUR DOCTOR.