Contributed By: Anwesha Mittra
Stress is like an epidemic. We take stress, we give stress. A little trigger is enough for us to lose patience – on co-workers, on fellow drivers, on the parking attendant, on all and sundry that crosses our path. While sedentary lifestyle and erratic work hours are in a great way responsible for why we feel under the pump all the time, we believe popping a few pills would cut it.
Don’t turn to medication to cure stress, the answer lies in our food. By tweaking our daily diet to include foods that help curb stress and by going easy on snacking, you’ll soon be on the path to a stress-free life. We discuss experts recommended 8 foods that are a sure shot way to keep stress at bay.
Dark chocolate: The sight of dark chocolate makes our mouth water. We’d like a shred of dark chocolate in our cakes, coffee, ice-creams, and that for once is a very good practice. Dark chocolate is good for your heart, it lowers stress hormone levels and improves stress related bio-chemical imbalances. The antioxidant requirement of our body is met by dark chocolate in the form of flavonoids. Besides, chocolates are an aphrodisiac, which, not to mention goes a long way in boosting your mood.
Almonds: Of course, it gives you shiny locks, but almonds are a great stress reliever. Rich in vitamin B2, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc, almonds propagate the production of serotonin which helps enhance your mood and cut stress. While zinc relieves you off the negative effects of stress, vitamin E circulates antioxidants in the system that kills the free radicals related to stress, or even heart disease.
Yogurt: Light and easily digested, yogurt works particularly well in summer. A dairy product packed with tyrosine that enhances serotonin level in the brain, meaning it calms you down and eases out stress, nutritionists advise you make it an integral part of your daily diet. Now, if you don’t like having yogurt in its crude form, top it up with some fruits, dry fruits or honey to make it interesting. Flavoured yogurts on the market are not a good substitute though, because they come loaded with sugar which spikes your calorie count.
Broccoli: Broccoli is a superfood that even tastes delicious. We never shy away from adding them to our spaghetti, or gently sautéing it with mushrooms and baby potatoes. The crunchy, green, flavourful vegetable boosts the taste and texture of any dish it is added to manifold. But did you know, broccoli also had stress-busting properties? Chock-full of B vitamins including folic acid, an important member of the B vitamin family, regular consumption of broccoli gradually lowers stress, anxiety, depression and extreme nervousness. Besides, its high fibre content helps to treat constipation and other symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome, which incidentally is a long term effect of stress.
Fish: Fish aside from being a major source of omega 3 fatty acids is packed with essential B vitamins, which includes the more revered stress busters B6 and B12. It is the B12 that works towards the secretion of serotonin, the happy brain chemical. Little wonder, a person deficient in vitamin B12 may just walk down the path to depression. Enjoy seafood, in fact lap it up, because the high zinc content in them will always keep stress out of the equation.
Garlic: A source of antioxidants, garlic busts stress, bouts of anxiety and brings down glucose levels in the body. If it is the stench of garlic that keeps you miles away from it, maybe you could try pickling it, and scoop up a spoon each time you are having a toast or roti. Make garlic a major part of your diet to restore antioxidant levels in order to not stay stressed out at all times.
Herbal tea: Brew some tea the next time you are feeling edgy, but make sure it is a milk free, sweetener free cup. Green tea comes in a great array comprising ginger tea, tulsi tea, jasmine tea, chamomile tea and lemon tea to name a few. Buy a flavour of your choice and just steep the leaves in boiling water for a few minutes before pouring it out in a teapot. The medicinal quality of the herbs in green tea soothes your nerves while relaxing your mind. Also, you are not piling up any extra calories.
Citrus fruits: Fruits are an ideal snack when you suffer cravings. Even better if you can chop some nice citrus fruits and pack it to work for when you feel hungry. The natural sugar in fruits satiates cravings, keeps you full and pumps up your energy levels without piling up the calories. Fruits double up as a dessert and blended with a touch of honey or a scoop of whipped cream it can be both nutritious and filling. Try the fruit therapy next time you feel strung out.
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