The beginning of September can be tough, whether it’s getting the kids back to school or the never-ending to-do list at work— I know I for one have been feeling a bit overwhelmed in the last few days. When I’m in that frame of mind, it’s my diet that usually takes a bit of a kicking!
Instead of healthy salads and green tea, I’ve been reaching for crisps, chocolate or a lovely glass of wine in the evening to unwind! I have all of the knowledge and tools at my disposal to make wise eating habits but I think honesty is the best policy…I hold my hands up to my diet downfalls. We all have them. I don’t think that the gorgeous pizza restaurant that opened up five minutes from my house is helping my cause either!!
On a more serious note, long term stress on the body isn’t good for our health. Our body can respond by increasing our blood pressure, our immune system slows down and we’re constantly on edge due to all the extra adrenalin in our blood. It’s produced by small glands located above our kidneys. A stressed body also burns through particular key nutrients faster than a calm body. This can leave us exposed to a range of health problems further down the line, including a higher risk of cancer and heart disease.
One area that we do have control over is our diet and the great news is that certain foods can help to combat stress. Here are my top five to work into your diet this week. I had a delicious tuna steak for dinner last night and it was full of B vitamins and omega oils, so I’m getting back on track for this coming weekend.
This creamy rich fruit has a satisfying texture and is quite filling. When our bodies are stressed, we can burn through vitamins so having a delicious avocado can replenish the loss. B vitamins are also essential for good nerve, immune system and metabolism function. High blood pressure is a worrying side of prolonged stress so the potassium found in avocado can help to reduce the risk if is eaten as part of a healthy diet.
I love broccoli for its flavour, texture and versatility when cooking. This vegetable also packs a punch when it comes to B vitamins and folic acid. When we are stressed or anxious our nervous system is under pressure and on high alert when it shouldn’t be. Vitamins B1 and B3 can help limit the damage to the nervous system within the body. Add broccoli to salads or steam it as a lovely side to main meals.
These tasty snacks are full of stress fighting vitamins and minerals. They also have a supply of healthy unsaturated fat. Treat yourself to small handfuls so you don’t tip your calories. Why are these nuts so great for combating stress? They’re full of B vitamins, vitamin E and magnesium, which is involved in the production of serotonin. This helps to regulate mood, relieve stress and improve sleep.
It can be really hard to get a good night sleep when you are stressed. Next time you’re shopping visit the fish counter and stock up on tuna and lovely oily fish and white fish. Fish is full of vitamin B12 and this can make sure you are able to produce enough serotonin which can help combat depression and improve your sleep quality.
When we feeling anxious or stressed our adrenal glands produce cortisol. This hormone floods our system and it lowers our immune system, making us break down muscle tissue to get energy. One way to combat this is to stock up on Vitamin C and oranges have high levels of this vitamin. Vitamin C can help return blood pressure to normal and lower cortisol levels.
Best wishes for a wonderful stress-free week!