It is sad to say but we do live in a stressful world. Many people work long hours and do not find time for relaxation or exercise. It is interesting that when people are under pressure particularly at work their exercise regime is the first thing that disappears from their schedule. Exercise in fact is one of the most effective methods of relieving stress so as I always say, “Move that body”! Look out for my Videos which I hope will inspire you or if not at least make you laugh.
Also diet suffers when our lives are hectic because we feel there is no time to cook healthy food or even shop properly. As you know, you need that strategy we talked about, the importance of having a strategy for shopping for food, meal planning, and regular exercise cannot be over emphasized. Today life can be made easier by shopping for groceries online, make it fun do it in bed on a Sunday morning – why not! If you don’t have this ability and you are busy, plan your meals so that you are not tempted just to pick up ready meals at the supermarket. This is not a healthy way to eat and will not alleviate stress; in fact these meals may increase your stress levels.
The body is capable of dealing with short-term problems, e.g. if you have to run for a bus, hormones are released that give a sudden burst of energy to help you react quickly. Health problems start when we encounter too much stress for too long. Stress can trigger all sorts of illnesses from headaches to constant colds and infections. Sleep is affected; we have problems getting to sleep and experience disturbed sleep, leaving us feeling tired and anxious.
The following foods are my stress busters:
1. Poultry and meat
Chicken, turkey and red meat contain tryptophan, an amino acid which boosts serotonin levels in the brain to make us feel happier, more relaxed and less stressed.
When our blood sugar levels are low we feel tired and irritable and lack energy and concentration which can increase our stress levels. Wholewheat pasta, wholegrain rice, wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals and oats all provide a steady release of energy and prevent blood sugar dips.
3. Nuts and seeds
These contain excellent supplies of vitamins and minerals needed to fight stress. They are a good source of magnesium which is the mineral that relaxes muscles and promotes sleep. Lack of deep sleep is one of the contributing factors to high stress levels.
4. Fruit and vegetables
When under stress our adrenal glands work very hard and they need lots of Vitamin C. Eat plenty of fruit including berries, pears, kiwi fruit, papayas and oranges and vegetables including green, red and yellow peppers, broccoli and all dark-green leafy varieties.
5. B Vitamins
We also need extra supplies of the B vitamins to fight fatigue and support the nervous system which is depleted during period of stress. Include wheat germ, chickpeas, oranges, apples and spinach which are good sources of vitamin B. I also recommend taking a B complex supplement.
When we are stressed we should avoid caffeine which creates a stress reaction in the body. Also alcohol which is really a depressant that reduces brain activity and may increase anxiety.
Finally water is a wonderful stress buster so avoid dehydration which can cause headaches, make us tired and irritable and increase feeling of stress.