It is a fact of life that everyone experiences stress from time to time. The ability to manage stress helps dictate how healthy our lifestyle can be. Sometimes that stress management shows up in our diets. People often turn to "comfort foods" to ease their tension in the short term, but in the long run these actions have very unhealthy consequences.
However, there are foods that are not only good for you, but good for fighting everyday stress as well.
You have always been told to eat your vegetables...and with good reason. Green vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, spinach and kale are full of B vitamins that are essential to regulating your emotions, fighting off depression and lowering anxiety levels. Additionally, many of these same vegetables are rich in magnesium, which is key in helping muscles relax.
Even if you're a meat and potatoes person, you'll find there are plenty of options to help you ease your stress burden. Beef frequently is demonized when it comes to a balanced diet, but eaten in healthy doses, it can be a wonderful stress-breaking main course option. A cup of lean raw chuck or a cup of regular ground beef contains high levels of zinc and iron which work to strengthen your immune system and boost energy levels. It is also a good source of B vitamins.
Looking for an alternative to red meat? Fish is a good choice. Most types of fish contain several B vitamins, including B6 and B12 and help the body produce serotonin (a key neurotransmitter) and prevent depression. Tuna fits nicely into this category. Eaten with a sensible amount of light mayonnaise, tuna is a good low-fat, high-protein food.
Turkey is another helpful option. Sure, we all know about tryptophan - the ingredient that makes everyone drowsy after a big Thanksgiving dinner, but turkey also contains selenium which helps increases serotonin levels.
Those potatoes you're craving also can work well as part of a stress-busting diet. Chock full of complex carbohydrates, potatoes are useful for helping regulate anger, aggression, body temperature, mood and sleep. A baked potato can be either a tasty, healthy and relaxing side dish or lightly salted and stuffed with broccoli and low-fat cheese for a light midday meal.
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