“When you’re stressed, there’s a battle being fought inside you.”
We don’t usually write posts like these aside from our food listicles (read: eat clean food delivery services, where to get the best waffles, etc.) but we thought that this topic would be pretty apt for our readers. You know, considering the fact that most of your are from the studying or working crowd and you can identify with one thing – stress.
When faced with daily conundrums and pressure, there are lots that you can do to take your mind off things such as watching a movie, listening to music, going for a staycation, pigging out on ice cream, and the works. Eating, especially, is known to relieve stress, especially if what you’re eating is your favourite food aka “comfort food”.
But for most people, “comfort food” (sweets, chocolates, potato chips, donuts, and other junk food) can be unhealthy. Worse yet, for some people, stress drives them to overeat or eat unhealthy foods which, in turn, trigger physiological changes that can make their mood worse.
It’s a vicious cycle.
So maybe it’s about picking the right kind of foods in times of “stress management” needs, eh? Besides, someone with a healthy and balanced diet is likely to be far less stressed than someone with a poor diet. Rethink your “comfort food” and try these for taste instead:
1. Dark Chocolates
It’s hard to be stress/sad when there are chocolates! Research have indicated that chocolates may lower levels of stress hormones. Dark chocolates, in particular, is known to lower blood pressure, adding to a feeling of calm. It contains more polyphenols and flavonols (2 important types of antioxidants) than some fruit juices. You can safely allow yourself to indulge in dark chocolates as a snack but keep your portions in check because dark chocolates or not, too much of anything is bad.
2. Oranges/Orange Juice
When we’re stressed, our bodies need vitamin C and antioxidants to help repair and protect cells. You’ve probably been told a hundred times over but there’s a reason why orange juice is part of the breakfast of champions – because it’s a vitamin C powerhouse. Vitamin C is known to lower blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol, which results in calming your frazzled nerves. For a quick burst of vitamin C, eat a whole orange or drink a glass of orange juice (without added sugar).
Nuts are great snacks and they’re so easy to store in your office drawers (you know, where you hide all your “secret stash”). Cashews are an especially good source of zinc (a 1-ounce serving has 11% of your RDA) and low levels of zinc have been linked to both anxiety and depression. Alternatively, you could get some stress-relief munching on almonds, which are rich in vitamins B2 and E. Both of these nutrients help bolster the immune system during times of stress. Just a quarter cup of almonds each day does the trick.
Blueberries have some of the highest levels of an antioxidant known as anthocyanin, and they’ve been linked to all kinds of positive health outcomes, including sharper cognition. But all berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are rich in vitamin C, which has been shown to be helpful in combating stress. Just a handful pack a powerful punch of stress-busters. Here’s a tip: Stick ’em blueberries in the freezer and you’ll get your nibble-worthy cold berry snack!
We cannot say enough how a warm cup of tea is perhaps one of the most “sure win” ways of beating stress. Especially chamomile tea. A study from the University of Pennsylvania tested chamomile supplements on 57 participants with generalised anxiety disorder for 8 weeks and found it led to a significant drop in anxiety symptoms. Green tea, too, is a great stress-reducing agent as researchers think theanine (an amino acid present in these tea varieties) may work synergistically with caffeine to improve attention and focus. To reap the benefits, the study’s results suggest drinking 5 – 6 (8-ounce) cups of tea daily.
One kiwi contains more than 85% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, and that’s good news for your stress levels. Vitamin C actually helps reduce your body’s production of stress hormones while boosting your immune function (so much the better for warding off stress-induced illness). Also, the good thing is that kiwis are relatively easy to eat i.e. no peeling or de-seeding needed. Just stick ’em in your fridge at home or in the office for a while then cut them in half and scoop away with a spoon!
Go ahead and start stocking up ;)
Meanwhile, if you need more help in ensuring that your clean eating plan is on track, check out some of our favourite #eatclean apps.