Stress is that chemical reaction that causes our heart to raise and muscles to tense when we are running late to work or struggling to pay bills. Stress wrecks a lot of havoc on your health if not properly managed and it can make you susceptible to an array of illnesses including common cold, depression, increased blood pressure and risk of diabetes.
Chances are you know that exercise and meditation are healthy ways to combat stress, but how much do you know about the foods that can help you manage or eliminate the effects of stress?
Beans contain high levels of B vitamins which are known to help extract energy from the food you eat and have also been found to play a major role in stress management. Niacin promotes sleep, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and thiamin helps to regulate cortisol in stressful situations, and folate is necessary for the regeneration of neurons.
Beans are a rich source of B vitamins, which are also high in fiber, protein and iron. A 1/2-cup serving of any type of beans, including black beans or kidney beans can help you get the vitamin Bs you need to work out the stress.
Dark chocolate is especially useful in combating stress. The antioxidant, Resveratrol, can be found in the chocolate and it is important in stimulating the release of serotonin in the brain.
The serotonin hormone is a mood-altering chemical which has been found to be responsible for making people feel happy and relaxed. It also helps to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow.
The best type of dark chocolate are those that are non-alkalized as they contain at least 70 percent cacao to get the most benefits. You should however not take too much as one ounce of dark chocolate a day should be enough to help you cope.
Bananas contain a good level of vitamin B6 which can help you combat stress. More so, bananas which are low in calories can through the vitamin B6 contained in it help increase serotonin production.
Adding bananas to your diet can help you keep your vitamin B6 levels and serotonin production up. In addition, they are rich in potassium, a nutrient that helps lower blood pressure.
Green And Black Tea
Green and black tea contain the amino acid L-theanine which helps to increase the production of the dopamine and serotonin hormones. Serotonin and dopamine hormones are feel-good chemicals in the brain that promotes pleasure.
More so, a cup of green tea can sometimes contain more caffeine than a cup of coffee, but the effect of the L-theanine can help to counteract the stimulant to promote feelings of joy and relaxation in some people.
The Salmon Fish
Salmons contain omega-3s fatty acids which have been found to be good for the heart but scientist have discovered that they may also be good for managing stress. The essential fatty acids found in salmon protect neurons from damage caused by stress and can incredibly help people dealing with chronic stress.
Eating salmon or other fatty fish such as sardines and tuna at least twice a week can help you deal with stress and improve your health. Walnuts and flaxseed also contain almost the same amount of omega-3s and can be eaten in replacement of salmon.
Red pepper helps to boost immune health and fights off stress because they contain a high level of vitamin C. A 1/2-cup serving of red peppers contains 158 milligrams of vitamin C which is more than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women.
Increasing your intake of vitamin C beyond the RDA can help you lower the level of the cortisol hormone in your body to an acceptable limit of 1 gram a day. This is especially important for men who tend to have higher levels of cortisol than women.