Nutritional Choices That Stop Stress in Its Tracks

Apr 13

When someone mentions the words “food” and “stress” in the same sentence, you’re probably instantly looking at the connection between too much stress and using food as comfort.  There’s nothing wrong with enjoying food. We’ve always been a society where meals are meant for bonding with friends and family. Of course, using it in an unhealthy way, to suppress feelings, is never good.  But did you know there’s another way to look at the food and stress connection? Certain foods can actually help you in the stress relief department – you just have to know which foods to choose over cakes and other unhealthy carbs.  There are foods that suppress cortisol in your body. Cortisol is the hormone that gets released in your body when you’re under stress. It makes you feel that “fight or flight” feeling.  It’s not bad once in awhile, but chronic cortisol can damage your body at a cellular level. Instead, you want foods that keep cortisol under control, like nuts, for instance! It doesn’t take many, but a handful of nuts allow the magnesium to keep cortisol levels under control.  Do you think your blood pressure spikes when you’re stressed out? It probably does. If this is a danger to you, or you want to feel calmer, reach for a food high in potassium like a banana or an avocado.  Asparagus, which is rich in folic acid, helps boost your mood, which directly combats that stressed-out feeling. Broccoli does the same thing. Eat it raw so that the nutrients don’t get zapped through the cooking process.  Sugary foods combat stress, too. Didn’t expect to hear that, did you? But all it takes is a teeny amount on your tongue to do the job, so eat a fruit-filled sorbet with natural sugars instead of full fat ice cream.  Stress takes a toll on your body. With cortisol coursing through your veins, your cells have a hard time repairing what goes wrong. That’s why your immune system takes a hit when you’re stressed. Foods rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, like blueberries, can help you feel calm and healthier during stressful times.  Are you the type of person who goes on full alert when you’re stressed...

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Fight Fatigue with These Energy-Boosting Foods

Apr 01

Feeling sluggish every day? You’re not alone. Many men and women wake up tired, and go through their day feeling exhausted. In an effort to stay awake and function, they turn to food – but it’s the sugary, high caffeine options that have them crashing 30 minutes to an hour later. You can use food to provide energy to your body, but it has to be done the right way. For instance, if you’re used to eating a chocolate candy bar for energy, then switch to a couple of ounces of dark chocolate instead. You get the caffeine and sugar, but also the health benefits of this wonderful food and in moderation, you won’t suffer from the typical sugar crash you have after a milk chocolate candy bar.  Flavor your meal with some spicy herbs for a quick energy boost. Foods with capsaicin – like hot chili peppers – can boost your energy and provide other health benefits, too. If you need a snack to wake up and get tasks done, reach for a banana. The potassium helps keep your blood sugar levels stable so that you don’t have that midday crash in energy. A great high fiber, high carb snack that won’t pack on pounds is popcorn.  Our family avoids movie popcorn and microwave popcorn (the unhealthy versions of this snack) and opts for organic popcorn that we pop in a large, covered cooking pot.  We also opt for coconut oil to cook it in for it’s healthy properties and high cook point. Iron-rich foods like leafy green vegetables can supply you with tons of energy. When your iron levels wane, it makes you feel weak and lethargic. Try greens like kale, spinach, collard, mustards and turnips. Fresh fruit can do the job! Grab a handful of grapes, or use citrus fruits as a quick pick-me-up. Oranges, or even lemon added to your water, can perk you up if you start slumping. Find a food cooked with curry! Not only is it delicious, but curry stabilized blood sugar to prevent crashes – and it also helps with the circulation in your body to keep your body well oxygenated. And don’t forget water. Our family’s favorite is alkaline water...

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