STRESSING IT OUT
It is often said that stress and anxiety are just a repercussion of the much demanding urban lifestyle that we choose. With the current scenario amidst pandemic that we are all in, there is much more that remains to be added up to this statement.
It’s not easy to cope up, with being quarantined and in a lockdown, we now stress over - mounting workload from office, staying indoors all day long during lockdown, health and well-being of dear ones, managing household chores in the absence of house help. The list goes on and on. One of the reasons behind a spike in anxiety seems to be uncertainty, which can throw our plans for healthy eating out the window.
Even though meditation, yoga and few other forms of exercise are proven to be of great help in combatting stress and anxiety, the food that you consume matters significantly too. We can do a tad better just by tweaking our diet and including foods that relax our nerves by curbing stress and anxiety.
Listed below are few surefire foods that help in easing your stress, anxiety and calming your anxious brain –
Yogurt is loaded with the goodness of healthy bacteria, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium which are proven to have positive effects on brain health. Some studies have found that fermented foods reduced social anxiety in some young people, while consuming healthy bacteria increased happiness quotient in some people. Yoghurt is rich in tyrosine which increases the serotonin level in our brain. Some studies have even confirmed that yogurt helps in reducing chronic inflammation which is responsible for stress, anxiety and depression.
If plain yoghurt doesn’t excite you, try some ready-to-scoop-up, fruit flavored versions which come in strawberry, blackcurrant, litchi, mango and many other flavors.
Dark chocolates aren’t just a delicacy that send our taste buds spiraling, they lower our stress hormone levels and help in improving other stress-related bio-chemical imbalances. Dark chocolates contain flavonoids, which are antioxidants that help in reducing brain inflammation. They do this by improving blood flow to the brain and promoting its ability to adapt to stressful situations. It changes your mood and induces a feeling of happiness by relaxing your brain. Eating small amounts of dark chocolate has proven to increase levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which may help in reducing stress that leads to anxiety.
Fatty fishes such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and trout are loaded with the goodness of Omega-3, which is a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and provides two essential fatty acids - Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These help in regulating the neurotransmitters, reducing inflammation and promoting healthy brain function. Omega-3 present in fatty fish is extremely essential in calming down anxiety attacks. Fatty fishes are also a great source of vitamin D which helps in combatting stress, depression and anxiety. It is recommended to eat at least two servings of fatty fish in a week.
Turmeric is one of the most favorite Indian spices that is used in almost all dishes and is a solution to any kind of pain or allergy in the body. Curcumin – a unique nutrient present in turmeric is known to effectively reduce the oxidative stress and calm down people experiencing mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
Green tea is loaded with the goodness of amino acids and contains a component called Theanine which improves brain health, relaxes the nerves and helps in easing stress and anxiety. Theanine may increase the production of serotonin and dopamine, which has shown to have anti-anxiety effects. Green tea is easy to add to your day-to-day diet and is a suitable and healthy replacement for soft drinks, coffee and alcoholic beverages.
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of potassium, which helps in regulating electrolyte balance and manage blood pressure. Potassium rich foods are known to instantly lift up your mood and may help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of the mineral zinc which is essential for brain and nerve development.
Eggs are an excellent source of Vitamin D and protein. Egg contains tryptophan which helps in relaxing the nerves and is a great food for your memory. The yolk of the egg has amino acids that help create serotonin, which helps in regulating mood, induces sleep and calms the nerves. Serotonin also improves brain function and helps in relieving stress and anxiety.
Almonds are not only known to promote a shiny mane, but also work as wonderful stress relievers. Almonds come packed with vitamin B2, vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc. Vitamin B2 and magnesium are responsible for the production of serotonin, which helps regulate mood and relieves stress. Zinc on the other hand fights some of the negative effects of stress, while vitamin E is an antioxidant that destroys the free radicals related to stress.
A healthy diet plan that contains anti-inflammatory compounds and has the required number of antioxidants, as well as vitamins and minerals might be of great help in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
Reducing consumption of foods that are high in added sugar, salt, and trans-fats also help in reducing inflammation. Reduce sugar, coffee and alcohol intake, as these may increase sudden outbursts of anxiety and stress associated symptoms.