Stress is useful. Healthy stress is the body's way of preparing to protect itself. Unfortunately, most people experience too much stress in which we know can have a negative impact on our physical health increasing the risk of chronic disease. Why? Because we tend to be stressed for an extended amount of time, and the physical mechanisms meant for protection start to cause more harm than than they do good. The term "stress management" is a useful one, it implies the ability to control the natural stress in our lives and the skill to keep it from overwhelming and harming us. As you learn to manage stress, you find that you have skills to deal with stressful situations. When we're over-stressed, even the smallest inconvenience can take a huge toll on us, through stress management, we learn how to put things into perspective. With that, we can separate the important from the trivial and make time for recreation, relaxation, and joy in our lives.
Typically when we are stressed out we aim for a yoga class, running, breathing exercises, meditation, but surprisingly our diets can play a big role in stress management.
In a study that included 80,000 participants from Great Britain, it was found that the consumption of wholesome fruits and vegetables had a huge influence on emotional wellbeing- they felt happier. (Morton, 2018)
Below are a few wholesome foods you can incorporate into your diet to help reduce stress:
Probiotic rich foods containing Lactobacillus gasseri: Kimchi, miso, yogurt, kombucha, pickles, & kefir. Lactobacillus gasseri has had a proven positive effect on sleep quality, stress, and normalizing bowel movements. (Nishida et al., 2017) A healthy gut is important!
Magnesium rich foods: Magnesium essential for preventingheadaches, fatigue that can ultimatelyreduce stress (Boyle, 2017) Healthy sources of magnesium include salmon, avocado, nuts, soybeans, spinach.
Dark Chocolate Fights free-radicals, and contains antioxidants called flavonoids that have a relaxing effect due to the serotonin. (Al & Latif, 2014).
By, incorporating these stress reducing foods in your diet amongst your other tools to manage stress, you can help improve your overall mood. Being mindful of our stress levels and taking the time to feed our mind, body and soul can help us improve our entire quality of life.
Al Sunni, A., & Latif, R. (2014). Effects of chocolate intake on Perceived Stress; a Controlled Clinical Study. International journal of health sciences, 8(4), 393–401.
Boyle, N. B., Lawton, C., & Dye, L. (2017). The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 9(5), 429. doi:10.3390/nu9050429
Morton D. P. (2018). Combining Lifestyle Medicine and Positive Psychology to Improve Mental Health and Emotional Well-being. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 12(5), 370–374. doi:10.1177/1559827618766482
Nishida, K., Sawada, D., Kuwano, Y., Tanaka, H., Sugawara, T., Aoki, Y., . . . Rokutan, K. (2017). Daily administration of paraprobiotic Lactobacillus gasseri CP2305 ameliorates chronic stress-associated symptoms in Japanese medical students. Journal of Functional Foods, 36, 112-121.
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