How food helps you deal with stress

How food helps you deal with stress

In difficult times, we hardly think about proper nutrition. Someone prefers to seize experiences, while someone does not feel hunger at all. Whatever state you are in now, please do not forget that food is primarily necessary for obtaining vitamins and elements. Under conditions of stress, the need for them increases several times.

In the article we will tell you what helps to cope with stress and give a list of useful products.

What does the body need at this time

During a period of anxiety, the body experiences a tremendous load: the adrenal glands produce adrenaline and cortisol, the heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, even habitual breathing can go astray. Therefore, it is so important to fill the lack of vitamins, elements and minerals. At this time we need:

  1. Squirrels. Our body contains serotonin, a substance called a neurotransmitter. Like a conductor, it transmits impulses from one nerve cell to another, and also decides which of the signals will reach the brain. If the substance is not enough, then the nerve cells are especially sensitive. Can you imagine how they will react to stress hormones? Serotonin is synthesized from tryptophan, an amino acid. It enters the body only together with proteins.
  2. Carbohydrates. In order for tryptophan to be converted into serotonin, it needs to reach the brain, and perhaps this can only be done with the help of a conductor – insulin. This is a hormone that is produced when carbohydrates enter the body.
  3. B vitamins. There are several helpers here at once that can support our nervous system . For example, vitamin B 12 strengthens the sheaths of nerve cells, preventing their destruction. Vitamin B 5 supports the work of the adrenal glands, and vitamin B 6 is involved in the synthesis of serotonin.
  4. Vitamin C. It is necessary for the production of cortisol (the stress hormone). Therefore, when we worry, the reserves of the substance are depleted. Studies have shown that a high content of vitamin C in the body (1000-1500 mg), on the contrary, reduces the level of adrenaline and cortisol. 
  5. Magnesium. The element plays the role of a natural sedative. It slows down the processes of excitation of the nervous system and reduces the body’s susceptibility to external stimuli.
  6. Prebiotics. Scientists at the University of Colorado during the experiment proved that prebiotics not only improve the intestinal microflora, but also help the body recover faster from stress.
  7. Omega 3. A study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry found a link between polyunsaturated fatty acids and depression. According to experts, the use of omega-3 can reduce the manifestation of depression by 71%.

Sources of essential vitamins and elements

We have compiled a list of necessary “helpers”, now let’s list the products that contain them. Friends, we also invite you to read a separate article on vitamin C. It already has a table with products that are rich in the element. Therefore, in this material we will not duplicate it.

Foods High in Tryptophan

The product’s name Element content, mg per 100 g Percentage of daily requirement, %
Pumpkin seeds 600 72
Mozzarella cheese 600 72
parmesan cheese 500 60
Chicken breast 400 fifty
rabbit meat 400 fifty
Beef liver 400 fifty
Pork 300 40
Trout 300 40

 

Foods High in Vitamin B5

The product’s name Vitamin content, mg per 100 g Percentage of daily requirement, %
Chicken liver 8.3 160
Beef liver 7.1 140
Sunflower seeds 7 140
Egg yolk 3 59
chicken hearts 2.7 53
Trout 2.2 44
Champignon 2.2 44

 

Foods High in Vitamin B6

The product’s name Vitamin content, mg per 100 g Percentage of daily requirement, %
dried mint 2.6 198
Paprika 2.1 164
Rosemary 1.7 133
pistachios 1.7 133
Garlic 1.2 95
Beef liver one 80

 

Foods High in Vitamin B12

The product’s name Vitamin content, mcg per 100 g Percentage of daily requirement, %
shellfish 98.9 4120
Beef liver 70.6 2940
Turkey liver 28.2 1173
Chicken liver 21.1 880
Mackerel 19 791
Herring 13.7 569

 

Foods High in Magnesium

The product’s name Vitamin content, mg per 100 g Percentage of daily requirement, %
wheat bran 611 152
Pumpkin seeds 592 148
cocoa powder 499 124
Flax seeds 392 98
Sesame 346 86
Almond 279 69
Cashew 260 65
pine nut 251 62

 

Foods high in omega-3

The product’s name Element content, mg per 100 g Percentage of daily requirement, %
Mackerel 5134 1026
Salmon 2260 452
Herring 1729 345
sardines 1480 296
Tuna 1664 332
Flax-seed 22813 4562
Walnuts 9079 1815
Soya beans 1443 288
Brussels sprouts 173 34

 

It remains to talk a little about carbohydrates and prebiotics. Among fast and slow carbohydrates, it is better to dwell on the latter. They will not cause a rapid release of insulin and will not create unnecessary stress for the body. Pay attention to cereals (oatmeal, buckwheat, brown rice), legumes (chickpeas, lentils, peas), whole grain flour products and durum wheat.

Prebiotics include food components that are not digested, but stimulate the work of the large intestine. You can find them in green bananas, apples, garlic, onions, and beans.

“Comfort food” – what is it?

The term appeared in 1966. “Comfort food” refers to dishes that are inextricably linked with emotions and feelings. Grandma’s pies, mom’s casserole, homemade birthday cake – these treats evoke memories of a carefree childhood or the happiest moments of life.

In most cases, hearty and fatty foods are considered “comfortable”. They briefly help to switch attention from stressful situations, but, unfortunately, they do not solve problems. These treats cannot become the basis of a diet during a period of anxiety.

But the cooking process itself will help to distract. Plus, you will have the opportunity to make the dish a little healthier. For example, add whole grain flour to the dough or instead of a heavy cream in butter, prepare a light curd.

How to stop stress eating

Food cannot replace psychological help or a doctor’s examination. Therefore, the first thing that is needed is to find the cause of stress and try to solve it. Alas, there are such traumatic events that we cannot change, that is, it simply will not work to remain calm and not experience anxiety.

Yes, you cannot influence global events. This creates a feeling of despair and helplessness. But you can control the simple course of life: what to eat today, how to cook it, how to serve it. Believe me, these decisions are no less important for your body.

If a piece of cake really makes you feel better, then there’s no point in blaming yourself for it. During a period of stress, the body already has a hard time, reproaches will not help it. However, it is better to work with uncontrolled appetite.

  1. Before you eat something, try to understand why you want to do it. Because you’re really hungry or you’re sad? There is an easy way to tell real hunger from emotional hunger. The first one develops gradually, we just want to eat, and not any particular dish. The second is felt suddenly and, as a rule, only a certain product can satisfy it.
  2. We advise you to include in the meal as much as possible. Savoring every bite, you can temporarily forget about disturbing thoughts and feel full faster.
  3. Think about your relationship with food. Food should not be taken as a reward or a cure for a bad mood. If there are such associations, then it is better to work them out with a specialist.

Stress, in one way or another, affects our well-being. In difficult times, it is extremely important not to forget about caring for yourself. Let it begin with the establishment of a diet to support the body with all the necessary elements. Take care of yourself and try to distract yourself from disturbing thoughts at least sometimes.

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