The Food Brain Connection:
Are you stressed? Join the Stress Club! Everyone goes through some level of stress and while there are different ways of coping with it, food is one of them. When you are over whelmed with stress do you find yourself drinking too much coffee, skipping meals , forgetting water, eating junk foods or indulging in mindless munching ? I do most of these and then realize very soon that the candy bar I just relished gave me a short burst of ” feel good” only to dip within the hour leaving me feeling more blue and stressed than I was. What we eat is what we feel ! Scientists are proving ” what’s in your food can affect the chemical composition of your brain ” Nutrition can affect your mood. This includes your alertness and your perception of pain.
Nutrition Side effects of stress:
Just to name a few : Blood sugar imbalance, caffeine side effects, poor health out comes due to lowered immunity, overweight , hypertension due to craving wrong foods.
Foods that trigerr stress :Excess caffiene ( more than 4 cups /day) Alcohol, sugar , simple carbohydrates, candy, sweets, sodas, and salt. The key word here is EXCESS !These are called Pseudo Stressors.
Beat Stress foods :
Complex Carbohydrates : Whole grains, potatoes with skin, lentils, beans, veggies . These Increase serotonin levels : the feel good calm chemical that improves mood, decreases tension, helps you relax, reduces pain and aids in sleep
Low fat proteins : Eggs, lean meats, nuts .These contain amino acids and tryptophan which give a mental boost and alertness when stress tires you out. tryptophan also boost formation of serotonin.
Fiber : Fruit,veggies, grains, beans, lentils, nuts . Stress cab sometimes result in cramps and constipation so fiber can keep the digestive system moving well thus relieving stress.
Omega -3 Fats : Fish, fish oils, walnuts, flax oil, soybean oil . Theses improve immunity and are brain foods. So there is decrease in stress when you eat these foods.
B vitamins( B6 & B12) : whole grains, avocado, dark green leafy veggies, fish, chicken : these help maintain nerve and brain cells, help body produce more serotonin, maintain healthy balance fight depression. Also increases mental focus and concentration .
Smart Beat Stress Snacks
Fruit – Best Stress Busters : Berries, Oranges, Apples and Bananas
Low Fat Yogurt/ Keifer
Cottage cheese with fruit
Trail mix – Add lots walnuts and dried berries
Fruit Smoothies – Check here for some great recipes,
Low sodium V-8 or veggie juices
Carrots , Celery, Sweet peppers with humus
Unsalted whole wheat pretzels with applesauce, humus, salsa
Whole grain pita chips with guacamole, humus, bean salsa
Whole wheat crackers with low-fat cream cheese , peanut butter or tuna /salmon spread
Oatmeal with raisins, bananas or nuts
Herbal teas with Stevia
Be creative and make your own stress busting snacks. You know the foods that can help stress and those that can worsen or trigger stress. Just make sure you reach for the right comfort food 🙂