Buena Comida to Combat Everyday Stress and Anxiety
A whopping one-third of Americans say they are living with extreme stress, according to the American Psychological Association and the American Institute of Stress. The good news? Nutrients found in certain foods boost the “happiness hormone” serotonin and reduce “stress hormones” cortisol and adrenaline. Here’s the skinny on energy-boosting, stress- and anxiety-busting nutrientes you can use:
Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, beans and starchy vegetables, contain this nutrient that keeps you full for longer, so you have energy throughout the day and avoid afternoon crashes. Complex carbs have been associated with an increase in serotonin, while fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels, which can increase under extreme stress.
Vitamin B and C
B vitamins, found in complex carbs and proteins such as low-fat queso, help to improve mood, increase energy and ease stress levels. Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and dark leafy greens, will help boost your immune system, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety. So now you can relax knowing you’re taking steps to keep your body in germ-fighting shape, even if you’re feeling a bit worn down from work and the kids.
This nutrient, found in halibut, almonds and bananas, has been proven to relax and calm the body, relieve headaches and fatigue, and relax the muscles. So stash a bag of almonds at your desk for munching if your work situation is more stressful than usual, and add a dinner dish with halibut once a week to keep nerves at bay.
Omega-3 fatty acids, plentiful in foods such as salmon, sardines and walnuts, contain anti-inflammatory properties. Why is this important? Stress and anxiety affect the body and brain’s ability to regulate inflammation, which can promote the development of disease. Studies have shown omega-3s also relieve symptoms of distress and depression.
Caffeine, sugar and sugar substitutes, like corn syrup, provide a short energy boost now, leaving you more lethargic later. Healthy nutrients plus ejercicio -- another natural serotonin booster -- will leave you happy and reenergized to take on the most challenging of play dates, tight deadlines and those early morning traffic jams we all know too well!