We've all got a lot on our plates. Work, family, chores, the time with old friends we try to squeeze in every once in a while. It often seems like we start running as soon as we wake up and keep going until we fall into bed each night. It's no wonder, with all the tasks we have to see to, that so many of us are stressed.
Stress is a normal response to intense situations. The problem arises when every situation feels intense. Being frequently or permanently stressed out, in addition to putting a damper on our overall well-being, is actually dangerous. Stress can cause:
- Chronic sleep disturbances
- Digestive problems
- Chest pain
And people who are continuously stressed out may be more likely to forego exercise and eating healthy, sabotaging their weight loss goals.
When we're faced with difficult or trying situations, our bodies release cortisol and adrenaline, commonly referred to as stress hormones. While both cortisol adrenaline are essential to the proper functioning of our bodies?and both are used in essential medications...too much of either wreaks havoc on our bodies.
It's impossible to completely eradicate stress from our lives, nor should we want to. Stress is just as essential as many other biological and physiological responses. But chronic stress can be dangerous. There are numerous lifestyle and coping techniques for dealing with stress, and luckily, by eating healthy foods rich in the following nutrients, we can improve our chances of getting through our days stress free.
- Vitamin C: Foods rich in vitamin C can reduce stress hormones in your blood. Consider including oranges, kiwi, broccoli, blueberries and Brussels sprouts in your daily menu
- Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency causes headache and fatigue. Salmon and spinach provide ample doses of magnesium. Plus, the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon help keep cortisol and adrenaline under control. Salmon on a bed of spinach? A delicious and stress relieving meal.
- Vitamin B-5: Sometimes called the "anti-stress vitamin," B-5 deficiency can cause fatigue and sleep problems. Eating healthy sources of vitamin B-5 - mushrooms, lentils, lean beef and white meat chicken - will help you fight stress.
- Fiber & Complex Carbohydrates: Eating healthy, complex carbs can improve serotonin levels, improving mood, while fiber rich foods ensure you?ll stay satiated longer and help tamp down on the urge to snack mindlessly. Go for sweet potatoes - which can also mollify your sweet tooth - and walnuts.
In addition to packing your diet with nutrient-rich foods, be sure you?re eating healthy foods at regular intervals throughout the day. Deprivation can lead to a drop in blood sugar, which decreases your physical, mental and emotional energy, all of which can increase stress.