Posted on Nov 11, 2019, 4 p.m.
Many people go about their busy days operating in high gear from juggling schedules, dealing with traffic, and in general trying to keep our lives at work and those at home along with our families in order. Even when the day/night isn’t in hyper drive the levels of cortisol stress hormones can remain elevated because most people fail to effectively manage stress.
The presence of high levels of cortisol can result in several health dangers such as triggering food cravings. Some cortisol can prompt an enzyme in fat cells to transform cortisone into cortisol; fat cells in the abdomen have more cortisol receptors than regular fat cells which means this can translate into more belly fat which in turn raises the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
You can consume certain foods to help restore calm in your life. These foods are not comfort foods so to speak in which we turn to when we need emotional numbing that only provide a temporary sense of fleeting peace. Comfort foods most often lead to guilt or feelings of anger after putting down that most often less than healthy food choices. Certain foods have the ability to calm due to their nutritional content or the steady energy they provide. These types of foods are balancing and can help to relieve stress and restore internal equilibrium.
Asparagus is rich in folate, one study involving 2,608 adults found those who consumed foods high in folate had a lower risk of depression than that of those who ate less.
Avocados contain more folate than any other fruit to go along with the healthy fats and potent antioxidants which fight cell damaging free radicals.
Berries are a great source of vitamin C which has been shown to be a stress reducer such as in a double blind controlled study wherein 500 mgs was found to reduce anxiety in high school students; and another study found it to be effective in reducing anxiety in those with type 2 diabetes.
Chamomile tea is a tried and true way to achieve a sense of calm which is backed by science such as two studies from the University of Pennsylvania; one in 2009 and the other follow up in 2012 were in it was found to provide an antidepressant benefit along with reducing anxiety.
Dark chocolate is not just a comfort food as its antioxidants can also help to boost serotonin levels and reduce blood pressure levels. Keep in mind that when it comes to dark chocolate moderation is the key and indulge in small amounts infrequently.
Fermented foods contain probiotics which can have a direct impact on brain chemistry via the vagus nerve; a healthy gut means a healthier and calmer brain. One review noted there were “apparent psychological benefits from probiotic supplementation.”
Leafy green vegetables such as mustard greens, kale, Swiss chard and spinach are rich sources of folate and magnesium calming nutrients.
Oatmeal prompts the brain to produce serotonin calming neurotransmitters, which may also help to reduce stress in knowing that is is inexpensive and easy to make.
Magnesium found in chia seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and sesame seeds is a precursor for serotonin. Magnesium deficiency is associated with anxiety, panic attacks and depression. Taking magnesium was found to be associated with lower depression symptoms; and another study showed a relationship between magnesium intake and depression.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.