Maybe it’s that time of the month, or maybe you’ve had a really awful day at work. Whatever the case may be, you come home and just really want to eat an entire pint of Ben and Jerrys. (Don’t worry, we’ve all been there). But you don’t have to stress eat anymore – or rather, you can stress eat better.
There are a lot of foods out there that are both healthy for you and will help to reduce your stress levels – which is more than you might be able to say for that ice cream, as ice cream – for women, at least (and speaking as one) – is usually accompanied by a healthy cry and a romantic comedy.
Have you ever actually looked into foods that will help you (and your body) de-stress? If you haven’t, here are a few that could really help you out of a tough spot and see a situation with clear eyes…or just help you relax.
Avocados are natures ice cream – no, really! Avocados are a fruit (or are they a veggie?) that are relatively high in fat content, and very creamy (and buttery) because of that. The next time that you have a craving for your favorite sweet treat – ice cream, frozen yogurt, sweet ricotta (which is actually quite healthy – the ricotta, that is), why not make some guacamole instead? When it comes to the actual “de-stress” aspect of the avocado, there are a lot of benefits here – potassium, mono-saturated fats and vitamin B – as well as just being a yummy, healthy fruti (fruit?)!
Though if you’re hankering for something sweet, I’d say avocados would be a poor substitute. Unless you want to add some sugar to your avocado…though I’m not sure how good that would taste. If you want something sweet and can’t figure out a great substitute, go for the old standby of dark chocolate and red wine.
There was a recent study conducted in Britain (of course, where else?) that drinking 4 cups of black tea a day for at least 6 weeks saw a drastic decrease in the amount of cortisol that the subjects produced. As we all know cortisol is a hormone linked to high stress levels.
And we all know how good green tea is for us already.
Another reason to switch from coffee to tea, hmmm?
Salmon is high is omega 3 fatty acids, which are one of the main enemies of stress hormones – just look it up – I don’t want to bore you with all the facts here. Long story short, believe me, they are good for you. The fatty acids help your brain function, and pump up your mood, perk you up a bit, keeping adrenaline and cortisol from going on a rollercoaster ride, so you’re less likely to go through that trip of emotional highs and lows if you include fish (and especially salmon) in your diet.
Almonds, especially are great for your body – and a good substitute for a handful of candy pieces or potato chips.They’re stuffed with vitamin E, and that’s a vitamin that your immune system will thank you for including in your diet, as it helps to strengthen that system. Almonds have a lot of vitamin B as well, which can help you (and your body) work properly when it might otherwise fail you somehow mentally or physically – think holiday family drama or huge midterm exam coming up.
In general, nuts are also a great source of magnesium, which has been shown to help keep cortisol levels low. But, buyer beware – as healthy as nuts may be for your system, eat in moderation – only maybe a handful a day – nuts are quite high in calories, so if you’re watching your figure, lay off munching on nuts too often.
A warm glass of milk isn’t just for our childhood memories, anymore. Though you might want to nix the “warm” part. Milk has tryptophan – that famous “Thanksgiving food coma” substance, which is metabolized to serotonin, that happiness including hormone. And the calcium, magnesium and potassium could help keep blood sugar down.
Milk can also help reduce those symptoms of PMS that your significant other has come to fear – the quick changing moods, the snappy comebacks and general irritability, and even anxiety, if you get that way. There was a study conducted where it was found that there was a 46% lower risk of bad PMS for females who drank at least 4 serving sizes of low-fat or skim milk than those who did not.
Emily Carmichael is a writer who works closely with a natural health company that offers natural supplements for PMS, and she hopes that everyone finds the right way to de-stress.