By Andy Kress
Stress. Just the sound of the word can evoke stress into our life. Stress can come from anywhere if you allow it— and most of us do, like it or not, particularly in the current economic environment.
During stressful times people usually change their diet and eating habits. Most choose not to eat when stressed out and only add to the strain on the body by putting it in starvation mode, ultimately storing more fat.
Sugary foods cause insulin levels to spike up and down. Those sugary foods then create an extreme high and an extreme low, making the person feel like their energy is going to crash, only to want to eat again. Being on low energy and while being stressed out is the double whammy.
There is a much better way to handle your stress, and it can come right through your diet. There are a few superfoods out there that can help reduce stress in the body while at the same time being good for you and your balanced diet. Try some of these superfoods and improve your mental state with some good mood food.
Asparagus is a great way to help relieve stress and stabilize your mood. Eating this food and other vegetables high in vitamins and minerals such as folic acid and B vitamins aids the body in the release of serotonin.
Serotonin is a hormone that when released effects your mood in a positive way, creating a pleasurable feeling and a more stabilized mood. A recommended serving of asparagus is seven cooked spears at least a ½” thick, and totals only 25 calories!
Beef is another good mood food even though it often gets a bad rap. Beef contains high levels of B vitamins, iron and zinc, which are also known to help stabilize moods. Beef is very nutrient-rich compared to chicken. If you are worried about the fat content, ask the butcher for a leaner cut of red meat. A proper portion size for dinner helps as well. One cup of lean ground beef at 137 calories is a recommended serving size. Compare this to the 310 calories in a cup of regular ground beef.
Milk is high in antioxidants, calcium, protein, B2 and B12 vitamins. Throw some low-fat milk in your bowl of whole grain cereal with fresh berries and you have yourself one stress-fighting chance to start your day off right.
Cottage cheese is high in calcium and protein. Foods with protein that are not loaded with sugar do not spike our blood sugars. Throw in a handful of fresh mixed fruit high in vitamin C and this becomes one stress-relieving dish. Plus, think of all the helpful antioxidants we will receive, ridding the body of free radicals that can cause cancer.
Almonds may sound a bit nutty, but they are a good source of vitamins B, E, magnesium and zinc. All of these vitamins will help stabilize mood and are a good source of healthy fats.
Tuna is another great stress-fighter that is also high in B vitamins, healthy fats and low-fat protein. Only use enough light mayo to bind your ingredients in tuna salad.
Overloading tuna with heavy, fat-laden mayo will only have an adverse effect.
While stress will never leave our lives completely, armed with the knowledge of foods that help you feel great, you can and should keep it at bay. And a happier body helps maintain a happier mind, compliments of Andy.