Best Foods to Eat to Beat Stress
We live in an increasingly hectic world, and stress is an unwelcome fixture in many lives. Emotional stressors are something we have to deal with on a daily (or in some cases, hourly) basis, and we are frequently exposed to physical stressors, too.
Alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, pollution, lack of exercise, over-exercising, poor sleep patterns and that inconvenient time of the month all add to the stress that is threatening to tip you over the edge and lead to low mood. Here are some of the best foods to eat to beat stress.
Magnesium deficiency, a common side effect of stress, can magnify symptoms. Due to modern farming and processing, much of the food we consume is lacking in this vital mineral, therefore we have to try harder to include foods that are naturally rich in this disease combating marvel. Nuts, in particular almonds, are rich in magnesium and should be included in small amounts, daily.
During periods of stress, we excrete more potassium than usual, which can lead to some pretty unpleasant side effects over time. Almost every organ, cell and tissue needs potassium in order to function optimally. It also aids smooth muscle contraction (including the muscles that control digestion, which is why stress and irritable bowels often go hand in hand). Dark leafy greens, such as swiss chard, can go some way in rectifying this.
Apparently there’s a reason us highly stressed Brits stick the kettle on when things get too much. According to a study conducted by University College London, four cups of black tea per day may promote a feeling of calm and aid in de-stressing. If you find you’re caffeine sensitive, stick to herbal teas, such as chamomile, or try Pukka’s Night Time tea for a soothing alternative. Probably best to avoid the biscuits, though!
Not only are eggs rich in a whole host of valuable nutrients, including zinc, which is an essential immune booster, but they are also one of the best sources of protein around. Our protein stores are used up quickly during periods of stress and, considering protein is used in almost every function right down to cellular level, it’s essential that stores are replenished regularly.
These nutty nibbles contain L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid that causes a boost in serotonin (the body’s natural anti-depressant) and melatonin (our natural sleeping aid). As it’s not produced within the body, we have to consume tryptophan-rich foods. Other sources are turkey and baked potatoes.