Stress is a part of everyday life now, becoming almost unavoidable. It is the need of the hour to keep fighting it, especially for seniors, as excessive stress can wreck havoc on your overall health. There are a lot of ways to manage stress, such as through physical or mental exercises, but starting at the source is usually a lot more effective. The food we eat has tremendous potential to dictate how we feel, so here are a few tips include certain foods in your diet, and exclude certain others, which will help you combat stress levels in your body.
Foods that Act as Stress-Busters:
Complex carbohydrates are packed with essential nutrients and fibre that elevates the serotonin(the feel good chemical to beat stress ) levels in your body. For even greater benefit, consume those type of complex carbs which take a longer time to digest, as it helps maintain a regular supply of serotonin, in addition to regulating blood glucose levels. Oatmeal, muesli, lentils, watermelon, sweet potatoes are great sources of complex carbs.
Vitamin C and anti-oxidants are beneficial in combating stress, and oranges are full of it. Scientific research has shown that vitamin C helps regulate stress hormones, in addition to strengthening the immune system. Healthy vitamin C levels in the body also helps control the cortisol levels (stress hormone) of the body.
Spinach is a rich source of magnesium, and the lack of magnesium in the body causes stress levels in the body to intensify. In general, most leafy greens are a good source of magnesium, and studies suggest that a healthy level of magnesium intake may reduce anxiety, and ease stress.
Chana Dal is an incredibly nutritious source of food, which contains vital nutrients such as magnesium, B vitamins, manganese, among others. It also contains amino acids like L- tryptophan in abundance, which is helpful in regulating the neuro- transmitters of the body. All of this makes it a powerful stress-combating food.
Tea has always been a go-to beverage for crores of Indians whenever we feel tired or stressed, and for good reason too. Black tea contains amino acids like L-theanine, which increases your alertness and the caffeine levels in it will also help in relaxation of your body.
Apart from the above 5 mentioned foods, there are others which also help you destress, like nuts, dark chocolate and blueberries. However, there are also some food items that you should steer clear when you are feeling stressed, as they negatively impact your body:
Sugar is one of the main culprits which is responsible for increasing stress levels in your body. When you eat sugary foods, the blood sugar levels of your body spike, which in turn causes the body to release more cortisol to balance the blood sugar. As mentioned earlier, high cortisol level in your body can cause sleep issues, headaches, and make you feel more stressed as a result.
While complex carbohydrates are helpful in helping your body fight stress, processed carbs are the exact opposite. They have no nutritional value and are essentially worthless. They are also guilty of having high sodium in many cases, like with most packaged foods. This extra sodium causes the body to retain more fluids than necessary, which in turn makes the functioning of the heart harder.
Caffeine in moderation is generally good for your body, but too much caffeine can have adverse effects to your health. The heightened stimulation of the nervous system can result in the increase of your blood pressure and heart rate, which will then make you feel more anxious. It is highly advisable to cut out or minimize caffeine intake if you suffer from anxiety especially.