Stressed Much? These Foods are Here to the Rescue!

If you’ve been anywhere near Sidon, Lebanon these past few days, stress has been your only company. In general though, we all suffer from bouts of stress and some turn to food for comfort – however, can your stress-induced foods be harming you?

Let’s take a look at the best and worst foods to relieve stress.

Foods to avoid:

Caffeine – if you’re stressed and tense, adding rapid heart beats and irritability will not help. Moreover, caffeine may promote insomnia which will only add to your stress.Caffeine

High sugar food – the sudden increase in blood sugar will only add aggravation and cravings, and cause more stress hormones to get released.

Alcohol – alcohol and stress feed each other, they add to the release of cortisol (a stress hormone) and does not actually “calm you down” like many assume.

Spicy food – some people get tense when stressed and that affects their digestive system, adding spicy food might add to that discomfort.

Artificial sweeteners – this is particular to gum, which causes your digestive enzymes to work for no reason (since you are not actually eating!), this may lead to bloating and irritation which in turn will make you feel more agitated.

Foods that help:

Asparagus – high in folic acid, which is needed to stabilize mood. 
Calories: 7 spears, 1/2 inch thick, cooked, 25 calories
 
Turkey – Contains tryptophan which is an essential amino acid which contributes to making you all warm and fuzzy – might explain why you get sleepy right after the thanksgiving meal.
Calories: 3 oz (90gr), 101 calories
 
Milk – contains B vitamins which help promote good mood.
Calories: 1 cup low fat milk, 120 calories
 
Cottage Cheese or low-fat yogurt and Fruits – yogurt or cottage cheese are not very high in fat, but high in protein which will keep you full longer, and will not cause your blood sugar to peak (cottage cheese also contain B vitamins). Mixing fruits such as oranges/cantaloupes or berries that contain vitamin C and antioxidants help fight any free radicals that get released when we’re stressed.
Calories: low fat cottage cheese, 1 cup, 160 calories
 
photo by: Ivar
photo by: Ivar

Almonds – are a good source of Vitamin B2  and E (antioxidant), as well as magnesium and zinc, AND they have a crunchy nature which might relieve stress as you chew.

Calories: Shelled almonds, 1/3 cup, 306 calories                    
                   Blueberries, 2/3 cup, 30 calories 
 
Fish – excellent source of low-fat protein, high in antioxidants, and some B vitamins. 
Calories: ex: Tuna canned in brine, 3.5 ounces drained, 99 calories ;Tuna canned in oil, 3.5 ounces, drained, 189 calories
 
Sweet Potatoes – they a can satisfy your sweet tooth cravings, but due to their fiber content, they will not cause the same spike increase in blood sugar as other carbohydrates.
Calories: 1/2 cup, 120 calories
 

General tips:

  • Exercise helps release hormones which make you feel all around better, and provides an outlet for the stress hormones released
  • Eating small regular meals to control blood sugar levels
  • Try yoga, stretching your muscles will release any tension you carry

    Yoga
    Photo by: RelaxingMusic
  • Be conscious of your food, emotional overeating or overdrinking will only put you down
  • Chamomile tea has been shown to help people relax and ease sleep
  • LAUGH! watching comedy or trying laughter yoga can be a way to release pent up anxiousness
Hope these tips can offer some form of relief during your stressful work weeks!
T
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2 thoughts on “Stressed Much? These Foods are Here to the Rescue!”

  1. How interesting, I knew of the stressful foods but didnt know about the relaxing ones! Actually I have a friend who’s doing a phd on rice, studying the proteins inside them. Some of them contain sleep inducing substances….

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