As talk of extending lockdown begins to circulate, it’s normal to be feeling all sorts of emotions – including stress. Now more than ever it’s so important to make sure we are fueling our bodies with the proper nutrients to help regulate and counteract the negative effects stress has on our bodies.
One of the most powerful down regulators of our metabolism, immunity, and overall health is cortisol – the hormone released in our bodies as a response to stress. Although cortisol in small amounts is vital for many bodily functions including blood sugar regulation, metabolism regulation, and memory formulation, too much cortisol (what happens when you’re under chronic low grade stress) wreaks havoc on the body. Symptoms of too much cortisol can range from irritability to fatigue to weight gain.
So, the more we are able to feed our bodies foods that help to mitigate these powerful effects of cortisol, the more we are able to maintain balance, improve our immune systems, and feel better overall!
Take a look at the six main food groups that will tremendously help in combating stress:
Proteins with Vitamin B: An increasing amount of evidence shows how vitamin B helps our bodies tackle stress. Vitamin B’s help boost your brain chemistry and balance out neurotransmitters for optimum brain function. By strengthening your nervous system,Vitamin B’s increase your body’s resilience to the stress response. Some foods that are high in B vitamins include: Green Peas, lentils, eggs, Spirulina, fish, chicken, turkey, lean meats, and mushrooms.
Electrolytes & Greens: Electrolytes (sodium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, and potassium) are essential for controlling fluid balance, regulating blood pressure, facilitating muscle contractions, and maintaining the correct acidity of your blood; imbalanced electrolyte levels can cause undue physical stress on the body so replenishing electrolytes after sweating or 30 mins of physical activity is extremely important. Some foods that will help balance & replenish your electrolytes include: Dark Chocolate, Spinach, Sea Salt, Seaweed, cucumber, kale, bananas, and avocado. For an easy at home Electrolyte Drink recipe, check out my most recent instagram post here.
Complex Carbs: All carbs prompt the brain to make more serotonin. Complex carbs specifically help regulate blood sugar levels and regulate insulin throughout the day – avoiding blood sugar fluctuations that are extremely stressful on the body. Some great complex carbs to incorporate into your diet are: Oats, Sweet Potato, beans, and Quinoa.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are natural by-products of several metabolic processes in our body as well as a product of our modern day environment – think smog, chemicals, preservatives. An excess ratio of free radicals causes extreme stress on our bodies; antioxidants stabilize free radicals thus debilitating them from causing more damage to the body. Foods including: berries, broccoli, citrus, dark chocolate, and green tea that are high in antioxidants & phytonutrients help to lower inflammation and boost immunity.
Anti-inflammatory: Foods including turmeric (curcumin), ginger, omega 3’s (flax seed, hemp seeds, fatty fish), and bone broth are extremely effective in fighting inflammation and thus, increasing our overall health.
Healthy Fats: omega 3 fatty acids decrease inflammation in the body and thus, decrease the amount of physical stress on our body. Omega 3’s are found in Brazil nuts, seeds including: sunflower, hemp, flax, and sesame seeds, and fish including: salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and tuna. Incorporating healthy fats into your diet can help prevent surges in stress hormones!
By including whole foods from these six categories into your diet, you are helping to mitigate the negative effects of cortisol on your body. Watch as you start to eat better, you’ll start to feel better!
For more information on how to boost your diet to reduce stress, nutritional consulting, or easy to follow personalized meal plans, book your free discovery call with me here!