The right food choices can greatly contribute to your stress levels
and how good you feel. Often when we are overwhelmed (think holiday time), we turn to traditional “comfort” foods such as macaroni & cheese, pizza and ice cream. These high-fat, sugar-laden foods are usually the worst possible choices as they can make you feel lethargic and less able to deal with stress. Long term effects of stress are high blood pressure, high serum cholesterol levels and lower immune systems. Short term effects of stress can making dealing with the smallest things, seem almost impossible.
A 2012 study in the Journal of Affective Disorders of 2,800 middle-aged and elderly people found those who consumed the most folate (found in green, leafy veggies) had a lower risk of depression symptoms than those who took in the least. And, a 2013 study from the University of Otago found that college students tended to feel calmer, happier, and more energetic on days they ate more fruits and veggies.
What to do?
Stick with high-fiber, good carbohydrate foods which help produce more serotonin, a hormone that relaxes us and helps us feel full. Examples include sweet potatoes, minestrone soup, or sautéed vegetables over brown rice.
And, add in your fruits and veggies. Upping your intake of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can boost our immune system. Acorn squash and carrots, for example, are great sources of beta-carotene, an anti-oxidant. Citrus fruits provide plenty of vitamin C, another stress-busting antioxidant.
You are in control of feeling better and reducing stress – simply by making the right food choices.
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