Nutrition and Stress
In stressful times it often believed that reaching for ice-cream or chocolate is the best way to ease your anxiety and make you feel better. How many times do we see people reaching for tubs of ice cream, devouring a chocolate bar or pouring a large glass of wine in a movie when they have had a bad day? While these things are certainly enjoyable and can provide an instantaneous feeling of euphoria, they are perhaps not the best or the healthiest way to manage your stressful day.
When life gets tough, the tough eat nutrient-dense food. Doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it but it’s perhaps the best thing you can do to help manage your stress levels.
Nutritious food is rich in vitamins and minerals that all have different and positive effects on your body. Next time you are having a hard day, don’t reach for the chocolate hidden in your desk drawer, instead try snacking on the following:
It’s no secret that snacking on nuts throughout the day is the healthier alternative to chocolate and lollies. Not only do nuts provide a good source of energy and antioxidents but they can also be a good source of Vitamin B which, as we mentioned before, is great for managing stress. Almonds, Pistachios and Walnuts are a great mix to have on your desk for those moments you find yourself stress eating.
There isn’t must that an avocado can’t do. A versatile fruit, for sure, avocados can be used on your skin, in a savoury meal or even as a sweet. In this case, however, avocado is a fantastic option to snack on in times of stress. This fruit is high in B-Vitamins which help support healthy brain cells and nerves. Depression and anxiety have reportedly been associated with a Vitamin B deficiency. So spread that avocado on a cracker, squish it onto some toast or add some salsa and make guacamole.
If you don’t have time to stop to prepare some avocado on toast or a delicious guacamole dip, an even faster snack to grab is a banana. Bananas are full of potassium which helps keep your blood pressure low. They are also full of the amino acid called tryptophan which helps produce the mood increasing neurotransmitter known as Serotonin.
Tea for One
Instead of marching into the kitchen to pour yourself another cup of coffee, perhaps consider making the switch to a caffeine-free tea. Caffeine can raise your cortisol levels which – when stress has already brought them up – can heighten your anxiety. It may take some adjusting for your taste buds but some of the best teas you can drink to help ease your stress are Peppermint, Chamomile or a caffeine-free Green Tea.
But wait? Didn’t you say chocolate is bad? Well, there is a loophole. Dark chocolate. While it’s somewhat bitter taste can be a deterrent when you are looking for a sweet creamy snack, Dark Chocolate is a healthier alternative to give you that immediate hit of chocolate flavouring. We aren’t talking about a sugar loaded version of dark chocolate. It has to be above 70% to be beneficial. Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients including magnesium, iron and is a great source of antioxidants.
Prepare in advance for your stressful day. If you know that the day ahead of you is going to be a tough one, make sure that your lunch is going to help you get through it. A good serving of fish can help manage your adrenalin levels while can help you stay calmer in high-stress situations.
Combine these snacking alternatives with a good daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun, fresh air and a good sleep routine and you should find those stressful days a little easier to manage.