In the 21st century, stress has become an unavoidable part of our daily lives. Stress is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental and emotional responses. These changes can hamper our daily progress.
It is very difficult to eliminate stress completely from our lives. Many events that happen to you and around you, and many things that you do yourself, put stress on your body. You can experience stress from your environment, your body and your thoughts.
Stress can affect all aspects of your life, including your emotions, behaviour, thinking ability and physical health.
In today’s hectic world, it's easy to feel like you have too much on your plate. And unfortunately, the stress from our supercharged, accelerated lifestyles can trigger emotional eating patterns that can wreak havoc on our weight and overall well-being. Because eating and lifestyle are intertwined, it’s important to find both health and happiness in all areas of your life. Stressful events cause our cortisol levels to rise. Cortisol causes food cravings, and in women those cravings tend to be strongest for carbohydrates, especially sweet foods.
We usually tend to have comfort foods during stress which include chocolates , ice creams , sweets , fried and junk foods. But there's a difference between tapping into a food's inherently calming properties and using any food as a kind of emotional anesthesia. That kind of eating may buy you a temporary sense of calm, but it's a quick fix that wears off way too fast. And where does it usually leave you? Weighing more than you'd like .The more of them we eat, the worse our mood gets.
Binge eating is not recommended. They cause unwanted obesity. Junk foods are designed to convince your brain that it is getting nutrition, but to not fill you up. Hence they should be avoided.
The high cortisol levels then make more trouble for us by triggering an enzyme in our fat cells. Since the fat cells in our abdomen, packed around our vital organs have more of these enzymes than the subcutaneous fat cells (the fat on our thighs and butts, for example), stress causes many women to accumulate more belly fat. The more stress, the more this abdominal, or central, obesity occurs.
So, what can you do to eat more healthfully? The solution is not just about the food you put in your mouth; it has to do a lot with what thoughts you put in your head.
Foods that actually help you reduce stress levels-
They are high in folate, which is an essential component for reducing stress. They can be steamed or added to salads.
Rich in glutathione, a substance that specifically blocks intestinal absorption of certain fats that cause oxidative damage, avocados also contain lutein, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and more folate than any other fruit. A single serving (about one-quarter of an avocado) has plenty of B vitamins, too. Due to its high fat content, use portion control.
Blueberries have some of the highest levels of an antioxidant known as anthocyanin, and they've been linked to all kinds of positive health outcomes, including sharper cognition. But all berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are rich in vitamin C, which has been shown to be helpful in combating stress.
Cashews are a good source of zinc. Low levels of zinc have been linked to both anxiety and depression. Since our bodies have no way of storing zinc, it's important to get some every day. We have to maintain our portion size.
This is probably one of the most recommended bedtime soothers around. Chamomile tea leads to a significant drop in anxiety symptoms.
Garlic has powerful antioxidants. These chemicals neutralize free radicals (particles that damage our cells). Among the compounds in garlic is allicin, which has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
In addition to protecting against some types of cancer, this is a brain booster as well, enhancing mental performance.
Oranges have a high vitamin C content. They help reduce stress levels and also have beneficial antioxidant properties.
A complex carbohydrate, oatmeal causes your brain to produce serotonin, a feel-good chemical. Not only does serotonin have antioxidant properties, it also creates a soothing feeling that helps overcome stress.