Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Say Goodbye to Stress With These Superfoods

Life has a way of getting the best of us some days. Whether it’s working too many hours, shuffling your kids all over town for their activities, taking care of your household, or dealing with personal or family matters, stress can take its toll on you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. But there are simple steps you can take to combat stress, starting with the foods you eat.

Beets and asparagus on a plate.
Beets and asparagus on a plate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Avoiding caffeine and alcohol is a good start when life’s particularly stressful. Stimulants and depressants like these can both zap your energy and rob you of the fuel you need to successfully cope with tension. Sugary foods should also be avoided as well, as they cause your blood sugar levels to spike then dip rapidly, which can in turn make your energy levels spike and dip at the same rate.

However, there are a number of superfoods that can provide you with the energy and nutrition your body needs to keep stress in check.

Asparagus, which is high in folic acid, can help level out your moods. Folic acid and vitamin B are key players in producing serotonin, a chemical that gets you into a good mood.

And though we may hear negative things regarding red meat, it’s actually a wise dinner option for a stressed-out family. Beef’s high levels of iron, zinc and B vitamins not only help get you into a good mood, but help you stay there as well. Your local butcher can help you select lean cuts for the healthiest options

Almonds are also an awesome choice when it comes to arming yourself against stress. They’re high in magnesium, zinc, as well as vitamins B2, C, and E and unsaturated fats, all which are great warriors against free radicals, which have been shown to cause cancers and heart disease. Many other nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, and Brazil nuts are also very helpful, and provide your brain with much needed Omega-3 fatty acids, which help calm stress and have other positive effects as well.

And here's my favorite - sushi! If you like sushi, it's a great stress-relieving food. Fresh fish, along with nutrient-packed Nori (seaweed), provide lots of Omega-3's, vitamins, and other minerals. When combined with the fresh and spicy flavors of wasabi, soy sauce, and other fresh vegetables, sushi provides a fun, tasty departure from that "same old" food, and can leave you feeling refreshed, energized, and relaxed.

Try some of these foods today, and say sayonara to your stress - naturally!
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