Stress fighting foods
Stress and food are related: a nutritional deficit can cause the body stress. However, eating a balanced diet helps to fight illnesses and face everyday stress and pressures.
+ A lack of iron in the body can cause a decreased flow of oxygen to the muscle tissue and the brain, which causes you to get tired, irritable and unable to concentrate. A diet that includes poliunsaturated fats derived from vegetables (oils and seeds) can stimulate the immune system, while a diet rich in saturated fat (derived from animal fat) can make us more susceptible to illnesses. Studies have shown that healthy people eat a diet with a large amount of grains and vegetables (preferably organically grown), that are naturally high in fiber and contain natural mono-unsaturated and poli-unsaturated fats.
You should always consult your doctor before changing your diet.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Symptoms of a diet lacking vitamins and minerals include depression, anxiety, stomach problems and insomnia, which also make up the symptoms of excessive stress. When we are stressed out it's best to eat a nutrient rich diet, to maintain a balanced and healthy physical and mental state. The most important stress fighting nutrients are:
The vitamin B group
This vitamin protects the nervous system and soothes the body and mind, combating anxiety, irritability, tension and insomnia. This vitamin group is needed for your body's cells to convert carbohydrates and fats into energy.
B 5 is essential for fighting chronic stress and vitamin B 6 aids in the function of a healthy nervous system (which, when unbalanced, can produce nervousness, depression, insomnia, mental confusion and irritability). Combined with B 12 , it induces our brain's serotonin secretion, which helps us to calm our nerves and anxiety. The vitamin B group can be found in foods like, yeast, wheat germ, dried fruits, beans, broccoli, sunflower seeds, lentils, peanuts, nuts and many other foods.
Whole grains are cereals that haven't been processed, and are used with the grain's shell. All whole grains aid in fighting stress because they give you an immediate boost of energy and they contain high levels of the vitamin groups B and E and minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc.
The level of vitamin C decreases in your body when it is under a lot of stress; it's important when you are stressed out to eat vitamin C rich foods. Vitamin C strengthens our immune system, which our body's hormones attack when under stress. This vitamin can be found in many fruits and vegetables, particularly in citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, guavas, currants, oranges, tomatoes and red pepper.
Celery has a high level of potassium, and the vitamins C, B 1 and E, which are all important nutrients in fighting stress. Celery also carries fitonutrients, called fitalidos, that have a soothing effect on the central nervous system.
Warning. After eating large amounts of celery, it's best to avoid prolonged sun exposure or tanning beds because this vegetable can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
(To exhausted nerves). In a blender, blend an entire celery plant (roots, stalks and leaves) with a good amount of water, and drink three glasses per day
Grapefruit, kiwis, oranges, tomatoes and lemons are a major source of vitamin C, which is why they are such important stress-fighting foods.
This is a perfect drink to sooth your nerves. For 1 cup, peal I orange and 1 grapefruit, without peeling the white parts of the skin. Cut into slices and blend them with the juice from a lemon.
Oatmeal (avena sativa) is one of the best cereals to lower stress. This cereal is rich in vitamin E, zinc and carbon hydronate.
- • If you are sleeping poorly or for exhausted nerves, it's recommended consuming three portions per day, either in porridge or drinking a tincture with concentrated oats with water.
- • For nervous exhaustion and stress when you are elderly. Eat 1 spoonful daily (as porridge for example). Another option: ½ spoonful of oat tincture, in a soup or stew, two times daily.
Recent research that has shown people who intake between 100 I.U. and 400 I.U. of vitamin E are less likely to develop heart disease and their immune systems are stronger. Vitamin E is mostly found in raw vegetable oils, dried fruits, avocado and wheat germ.
AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY, WATER
Drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day helps you to lose weight, detoxifies the body and helps you to quit smoking or drink alcohol. Not drinking enough water can cause you lethargy, loss of concentration, and nervousness. Water is a detoxifying and energizing element. Freshly squeezed juice is another beverage which helps you feel better.
Calcium helps our nerves send messages to our brain, and along with magnesium it helps to regulate our nerves and muscles stamina, it prevents aging, promotes a healthy mental state, helps us sleep and regulate our heart rates. It is mostly found in milk, cheeses, yogurts, sardines and sesame seeds.
Skim milk has a high level of calcium, which your body needs. It helps us grow and maintains the nervous system in good health. It helps our bodies produce enzymes helping the nervous system's functions.
To sleep soundly, nothing is better than grandma's remedy to make you sleepy: warm milk (the flavor and temperature brings us back to our childhood), and add a spoonful of molasses (rich in potassium, calcium, iron, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and the vitamins B and C). Relaxing and calming.
A deficiency of chrome alters the production of insulin and metabolism of carbohydrates, aminoacids and fats. Stress increases the loss of chrome in our urine. Chrome rich foods include egg yolks, molasses, brewers yeast, red meat, wheat germ and wholewheat flour and grains.
Brewers yeast is a food rich in protein, chrome and vitamins from the B group. If you are stressed out, eat 3 times a day, starting with a teaspoon at breakfast for the first month and then adding a spoonful at each meal during the next 3 months (at breakfast, lunch and dinner). It's ideal to dilute 1 soup spoonful of brewer's yeast in 1 glass of orange juice (which is rich in vitamin C), the acid in the juice helps our body absorb proteins better, a combination for a perfect stress-relieving drink.
Helps the respiratory system. Iron joins with proteins to produce hemoglobin (red pigment in our blood), which sends oxygen to our muscle tissue. The intake of iron is fundamental when our bodies are under stress because it helps the flow of oxygen in our bodies. It is necessary for group B vitamins to act and stimulates our immune systems and stamina. Sardines, wheat germ, brewers yeast, sea algae, liver, eggs and spinach are all iron rich foods.
IRON RICH SPINACH SALAD
For a tasty stress fighting salad, mix washed spinach leaves and grated Parmesan cheese. Dress with salt and olive oil.
Natural stress reducing food that aids to balance the production of neurons and acts on the transmission of nerves which maintain a healthy nervous system. It helps you to sleep soundly and to relax. It's especially helpful in reducing exhaustion caused by chronic stress and daily anxiety. If your body lacks magnesium, you tend to stay tense when under pressure, more likely to be irritable, anxious, depressed and suffer from cardiovascular problems, insomnia and muscle spasms. Magnesium is found in green leafy vegetables, bananas, wheat germ, fish, sea algae and dried fruits.
NUTS AND ALMONDS
Walnuts are a great source of magnesium, they give you energy, fight stress and reduce premenstrual symptoms like migraines, irritability and swelling. Eat 2 walnuts a day to ensure sufficient intake of vitamin E, a fundamental emotion balancing nutrient.
IS CHOCOLATE A GOOD THING?
Chocolate has been termed as a high-fat food and an unhealthy comfort food. But contrary to belief, eating an occasional, moderate amount of chocolate is good for the health, especially against stress. When eaten in moderation, it increases our level of serotonin and puts us in a better mood. This is why when women are suffering from premenstrual tension they crave chocolate. It's best to eat dark chocolates, pure cocoa, or chocolate with almonds added. Try to avoid cream filled chocolates or truffles.
Potassium is an important nutrient against chronic stress and to help our nervous system, muscles and heart function properly. If you are not getting enough potassium you may suffer from insomnia, nervousness and depression. Artichokes, celery, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce, beans, dried fruits, bananas and dates are potassium rich foods.
The core, zest and stalk are all gentle sedatives. Lettuce also contains calcium and potassium, both stress fighting nutrients. It's good to eat when you are overstimulated or suffering from insomnia. Avoid when suffering from bile duct problems.
Blend in a blender ½ a lettuce plant, 1 celery stalk and 1 branch of parsley. Drink right away.
All fruit have nutrients which help us fight stress, but one of the best anti-stress fruits is the banana. It's a wonderful source of energy, rich in potassium and magnesium, and helps us to clear our minds.
Serves 4. In a blender, add 2 peeled bananas, a small amount of grated ginger and 4 tablespoons of skim milk and blend well. Beat 2 egg whites until they form a meringue and add them to the banana mixture. Put the mousse in serving cups and refrigerate. Before serving decorate with whipping cream or light cream cheese blended with confectionery sugar. Garnish with banana slices.
A lack of zinc can cause irritability, depression, impotence and a low inmune system. A high intake of zinc helps you to fight off illnesses. When you are stressed out, you use more zinc and quickly run out of this mineral. Fresh oysters, sesame seeds, ginger root, whole flour, Pará nuts and red meat are all zinc rich foods.
TURKEY, A HEALTHY MEAT
It's one of the most balanced meats, low in fat. It's good to eat turkey when you are stressed out, because it doesn't have any side effect and is rich in nutrients.
VEGETABLES AND FRUITS
Purify the body (ideal for detoxifying the body). For a 1 cup of juice, use 2 or 3 carrots, ½ cucumber, ½ beet with the leaves. Peel the carrots and cut them into thin slices, cut the cucumber into 4 slices, and then chop. Chop the beet into small dices. Blend together in a juicer.
WHAT YOU SHOULD AVOID
- • Fast food.
- • Artificially sweetened soft drinks.
- • Rich, sweet foods.
- • Ice cream.
- • Pastries and cookies.
- • Dishes with a lot of spices.
- • Alcohol in excess during meals.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
- • Eat fresh, high quality foods.
- • Cook at home to entertain friends.
- • Put on soft music and create a relaxing atmosphere during meals.
WHAT TO BUY AND HOW MUCH?
When you go grocery shopping during the week, it's best to make a list of what you will eat everyday and to list the ingredients you will need for a balanced diet. For a healthy balanced body, mind and spirit it's recommended that you eat daily:
- • 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. They have a high level of vitamins and minerals that help you to fight stress.
- • 3 servings of dairy products (for example: a glass of milk, piece of cheese or yogurt) per day. Dairy have calming properties, and nutrients and are important to develop a healthy body, especially the bones.
- • 3 servings of grains or cereals (rice, grains, whole flour in breads, etcetera) per day for fiber. Foods high in fiber calm and bring peace.
- • 1 to 2 servings of lean meat. It's important to avoid fats that can cause weight gain and cardiovascular diseases. It's best to eat fish 3 times a week, poultry twice and red meat once a week.