People typically respond to stress by either eating way too much or absolutely nothing at all. Both of which can have negative consequences. Turning to food for comfort can often lead to weight gain, elevated blood sugar and increased feelings of guilt. Give your body an extra boost during those stressful times by incorporating foods and stress management techniques that help to decrease stress and boost your immunity!
- Vitamin C is incredibly important during times of stress. Stored in your adrenal glands, vitamin C is actually released into the body in excess during times of stress, just like the stress hormone cortisol. It is imperative to replace the vitamin C that is lost to ensure that your adrenal glands continue to function properly. Foods that are high in vitamin C include cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, brussel sprouts, strawberries, papaya and of course, citrus.
- Magnesium is known as the relaxant mineral. When you are deficient in magnesium, you may experience pain, anxiety, eye twitching and difficulty sleeping. Stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency and magnesium deficiency tends to magnify the stress reaction in the body. The stress response known as “fight or flight,” requires more magnesium use by the body. Replenishing these stores with magnesium rich foods can help you relax and de-stress. Foods high in magnesium include leafy greens like spinach and chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds and figs.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in salmon, help to combat the inflammation that accompanies stress. Research also shows that individuals who have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood have lower incidences of depression. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain and nervous system function and can help to regulate mood and better control emotions. Other good sources include flaxseed oil, walnuts and grass-fed beef.
- Using mindfulness breathing to take a moment to focus on a single sensation like your breath, rather than the circumstances happening around you, can help to stop a racing mind.
- A simple meditation practice, known as body scan meditation, can increase self-awareness and decrease tension. Sitting in a comfortable position with your eyes closed, bring your attention to your toes, and then work up your body. Notice any tension and then simply let them go without holding onto your emotions. Accept sensations as they are and gently refocus your attention to your body.