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Wait! Diet Can Affect Stress?

Updated: Apr 29

Yes! Diet can affect stress! Our lifestyle overall has a very significant effect on how we deal physically, mentally and emotionally with stress. Diet plays a significant role in effectively managing our stress. Today I'll discuss some of my personal lifestyle choices as well as my most commonly recommended dietary choices that can help reduce stress, not only how we feel but how our body actually responds.

Whole grains, oats, and sweet potatoes can help stabilize blood sugar levels and promote serotonin production, which can have a calming effect on the brain. Still need to be cognizant of the carbohydrate content which is one of the reasons sweet potatoes with a small amount of added healthy fat like extra virgin olive oil is one of my favorites.

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines can help reduce cortisol levels and decrease inflammation in the body, thus reducing stress. Don't forget one of the best plant based sources of omega-3 fatty acids includes walnuts so unless you're allergic consuming some walnuts every day can be extremely healthy! I actually combined mine with some dried organic cranberries or raisins in small amounts to sweeten it up makes for a really healthy energy lifting snack.

*You just have to be careful not to overdo as it can really negatively affect your belly. Almonds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are good sources of stress-reducing nutrients like magnesium, zinc, and some omega-3 fatty acids as well but again go easy on your belly.

Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are rich in magnesium, which can help regulate cortisol levels and promote relaxation. Personally, I try to consume some baby spinach everyday with a lunchtime plant based roll up and then again in the evening salad with extra virgin olive oil and my favorite vinegar. Berries, oranges, and other citrus fruits have significant health benefits including being rich in vitamin C which can help reduce cortisol levels and significantly help our the immune system, which can be weakened by stress. Here are a few other things we can do daily to help nutritionally to better deal with stress.

  1. Probiotics: Fermented foods like coconut "yogurt", and sauerkraut contain beneficial bacteria that can support gut health, which is closely linked to mood regulation and stress management. Even if you're taking a pill form of probiotic we find supplementing with coconut "yogurt" , even just a tablespoon per day helped patients with belly issues.

  2. Herbal Teas: Chamomile, green tea, and peppermint tea are known for their calming properties and can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Just be careful here though and make sure your tea bags do not contain any plastics!

  3. Dark Chocolate: In moderation, dark chocolate can help reduce stress hormones like cortisol and promote the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Unfortunately, some forms of dark chocolate have found to be very high in lead and other detrimental metals so be careful, do not overdo. Like so many of the items here today so often less is actually more!

  4. Avocados: Rich in monounsaturated fats and potassium, avocados can help lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety levels. These healthy fats can also help smooth out blood sugar and provide better energy.

  5. Turmeric: This spice contains curcumin, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help reduce stress and improve mood.

Remember, while these foods can contribute to stress reduction, it's also essential to maintain a balanced diet overall, stay hydrated, and practice other stress management techniques such as exercise, meditation, and adequate sleep. Above all, it's so important to follow with your Physician on a regular basis. As we've discussed before, feelings of stress sometimes can indicate a serious underlying health issue so do not ignore! Work with a Physician who is going to give you no only the most appropriate medical diagnostics but also healthy lifestyle based stress reduction plan as I do with my patients day in and day out.

Wait! Diet Can Affect Stress?
Wait! Diet Can Affect Stress?

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