“You are what you eat” applies to more than just your physical condition. Food has a profound effect on your mental, spiritual and emotional states as well. For instance, it’s not just the delicious taste of chocolate that makes you feel happier. Chocolate, particularly the dark variety, stimulates production of serotonin, one of your bodies’s natural mood elevators. Other foods can have a similar impact, contributing vitamins and nutrients that produce positive chemical reactions.
If home and job pressures have been weighing on you lately, why not try some dietary therapy? Scientists have identified foods that specifically help to counteract stress and its side effects. Incorporate these four nutritious items into your menus to combat burnout. As a bonus, you’ll find your overall health improving also.
- Salmon has a well-deserved spot in the list of “superfoods”. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids which control the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, the chemicals that are responsible for your body’s “fight or flight” response to stress. Omega-3s are heart-healthy, reducing the levels of cytokines, a substance that can lead to heart attacks. Salmon is suitable for a number of cooking applications including grilling, baking and steaming.
- Spinach is rich in a variety of vitamins and nutrients, especially magnesium. A deficiency in this mineral can cause headaches and fatigue which contribute to stress. Enjoy it steamed with a squeeze of lemon or as the base for a light summer salad. If you don’t like spinach, other leafy greens such as kale, Swiss chard and Brussels sprouts also have a high magnesium content.
- Almonds are another good source of magnesium along with Vitamin B, which promotes the development of serotonin. In addition, it contains the antioxidant Vitamin E which destroys free radicals that contribute to stress and heart disease. They have a satisfying crunch which can offer a physical release of tension.
- Tea has long been valued for its calming effect. It’s full of antioxidants that soothe your mind and body. Iced tea makes a wonderfully refreshing summer drink.
Taking time to care for yourself is the best way to combat stress. Ditch the fast food and eating on the run and fill your plate with tasty, healthy foods that nourish your body and soul.