The this modern face-paced world we currently live in, almost everything around us can add on extra stress on our shoulders.
Sometimes this can even include everything that is NOT around us!
But there is a more natural and more primal stress that affects every living thing. And that is food. Specifically, the need for our body to consume food to survive.
This is the most basic instinct that everyone will understand since birth. When we get hungry, we eat. It’s as simple as that.
If you have never experienced a prolonged period without food, lucky you.
It is not an episode you’d want to live through as hunger can really stress you out and even cause you to hallucinate!
As we grow up to become able adults, somewhere along the line, the stress associated with food is not so much as whether you will have anything to eat. It becomes more about what types of stress-inducing junk you are putting into your body.
Most people feel that stress is a mental condition and can be conquered with pure willpower. Yet these people are often the ones who suffer most when under the intoxication of stress.
What they don’t realize is that stress is not all about the mental and the intangible. The food we put in our mouths can have a massive impact on how well we cope with stress.
What you eat, when you eat, and how you eat can have an influence on your mental state whether you notice it or not.
Low stress foods
Here is a basic guideline to eating well.
1) Complex carbohydrates
With the fanfare surrounding the Paleo diet in recent years, a big number of health conscious people see carbs as the devil in terms of fitness and weight loss.
I kid you not.
I have a friend who would suffer from anxiety attacks and squeal like a claustrophobic victim when in the presence of complex carbohydrate foodstuff like pasta, noodles, brown rice, potatoes and sweet potatoes, etc.
This is partly due to the popular dieting trend of avoiding carbohydrate-rich food.
However, foods rich in complex carbs can raise the serotonin levels in the brain. Making your feel better by altering your mood which is a major factor in how you handle stress.
Saying that, too much complex carbs might not be good too. Because if you get overweight for consuming too much complex carbs, it might actually add onto your stress levels as you have a new problem to manage now.
Don’t need avoid. Eat in moderation.
2) Simple carbohydrates
There are complex and simple carbohydrates.
There is a scientific explanation to this. But for basic understanding, let’s just say that complex carbs are much harder for the stomach to digest while simple carbs are easier to digest.
The simple carbs I’m referring to are sugary foods, especially those contained in processed food.
The edible products we find in supermarkets these days are no longer what they used to be.
These days, big food companies compromise on quality in order to produce the most delicious food, at the lowest cost, and within regulatory guidelines. So they add an insane amount of additives like artificial sweeteners and emulsifiers to replace real food and condiments.
The most common additives are MSG and any form of sugar.
Sugary food can arouse a short term boost to your mood. But it is never a solution for the long term.
No need to panic. Reduce and avoid if possible.
With the rise of fitness and bodybuilding in the last 20 years, protein has becomes a mass market product. It has become the buzzword of buzzwords in the bodybuilding circle.
Protein is a muscle builder.
But more than that. Adequate amounts of protein helps in mental functions and repair cells.
Good sources of protein inlcude
- Lean meat
Consume an adequate amount and avoid deficiency.
A healthy overall diet requires a balanced nutrition plan. This is where vegetables rounds everything up.
- Green leafy vegetables
It is important to not just be healthy. It is also important to feel healthy as well. The better you feel physically, the better you manage stress.
The more the merrier. Just don’t go overboard.
The main benefits of eating more fruits are for the absorption of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.
Without going exotic, have your fridge moderately stocked with basic fruits like:
Fruits should never replace proper meals. They are most appropriately consumed as a night snack or an after-dinner finishing move.
It’s kind of odd that Potassium is classified as a metal on the Periodic table. We put them into our body for circulation each day!
But on a serious note, potassium is a mineral that helps muscles relax… which is exactly what you need if stress is a problem.
- Whole grains
Eat in moderation. Too much potassium can be bad for your body.
Stress is not just an issue of thinking too much. In a lot of cases, physiology can play a major role in how well you manage it.
In certain cases, physical health can even be a trigger of stress.
The sooner you commit to a healthier diet containing a balanced overall meal plan, the better your chances of sticking it to stress.