April is Stress Awareness Month, a time where health professionals come together to discuss the cause and cures of stress.
Last week we discussed the definition and tips for relieving stress, but did you know that food may also play a role in the cause of stress related symptoms?
Whole foods contain vitamins and minerals that our bodies need on a daily basis. If these substances are not adequately consumed in the diet then stress related symptoms including headaches, fatigue, and/or the inability to sleep might occur.
By eating a variety of whole foods along with adequate sleep and physical activity, one may reduce many stress related symptoms.
Top Six Healthy Stress Relieving Foods
Contains serotonin, a calming brain chemical that cut levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which are stress hormones that when high, can cause stress. Plus, oatmeal is complex carbohydrate, which stabilizes and balances blood sugar levels.2. Oranges
Contain Vitamin C, which has been suggested by some studies to curb levels of stress hormones by strengthening the immune system. Also found in sweet peppers, tomatoes, kiwis, strawberries, dark leafy greens, and many other fruits and vegetables.3. Spinach
Contains magnesium, which if not adequately consumed in the diet, may trigger headaches and fatigue, leading to stress. Other sources of magnesium include cooked soybeans, salmon or other green leafy vegetables.4. Fatty Fish
Contain omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent the rise of stress hormones and protect the body from mood disorders like depression and PMS. A great way to get fatty fish in the diet is to eat at least 3 ounces of fatty fish at least twice a week. This includes wild caught salmon, tuna, sardines, or even mackerel.5. Avocados
Contains potassium, which is a great way to naturally reduce high blood pressure. Also found in potatoes, bananas, and other fruits and vegetables.6. Milk
Contains calcium, which research shows that a 8-ounce glass of warm milk can ease anxiety and mood swings linked to PMS.
When it comes to stress, eating whole foods at regular times throughout the day will also help keep stress levels in check. Always remember to pair a carbohydrate with a protein and fat to maintain blood sugars and energy.
Blood Sugar in Check Snack Ideas:
- Non-Fat Plain Yogurt with a 1/4 cup Blueberries
- String Cheese with Whole Grain Crackers
- Hummus with Raw Vegetables
- Small Apple with 2 T Peanut Butter
Have a great Wednesday!
Remember, if you haven't signed up for the Idaho Academy Annual Meeting you can still do so with the Register Online Form. Don't miss this opportunity to network with a variety of nutrition and health professionals across the great state of Idaho!
Coordinated Program in Dietetics
University of Idaho
*I was not compensated to write this post
WebMD. (2012). Stress-Reducing Foods. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-diet-for-stress-management.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2013). National Stress Awareness Day. Retrieved from http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442475653