What should you eat and do when feeling stressed…. Is there a way to combat stress with ease, without adding more pressure to your already challenged body and mind?
The quick answer is, YES, there is and it doesn’t need to cost too much money or time. But, before I get into the nitty gritty of how to do that, we need to be clear on one thing. When you want your body to perform and that’s exactly what you’re asking from yourself in these vulnerable moments, you need to feed it right.
It may be difficult to pay any attention to food when chasing deadlines or juggling a million things at once, but it’s necessary. You can’t abandon your body and expect to be on the ball, with a clear head and tonnes of energy. You need to fuel yourself right in order to get good results.
And even though the natural reaction when under pressure is to reach for rich, creamy and sugary foods, I’ll ask you for a tiny bit of effort to do better than that. I know it’s easier said than done but it CAN be done.
So, let’s see the 5 simple strategies which will help you do exactly that.
#1 the KISS principle – keep it simple, sweetheart:)
This might seem like something not worth mentioning but honestly, how often do you try new workout routines, new recipes or new diets to improve the way you feel? In reality, these things can make you more stressed. Going into the unknown and experimenting requires focus and dedication, both of which need energy. And energy is a precious currency when you feel stressed.
There is no need to suddenly start making smoothies every day or challenge yourself to go gluten or dairy free. Simply stick with what has been working for you, choosing the healthier and lighter versions of your meals. One step at a time sailing through the challenging moments nice and easy. Staying with your good old habits you have well-rehearsed, will save time and take the pressure off.
If you want a few time-saving tips, you’ll find them in the post How to find time to eat healthy.
#2 Keep up the good mood – load up on tryptophan.
Especially when stressed, it’s important to keep a positive view of the world. You may feel like tearing your hair out but trying to see the brighter side of things, helps you keep your head up. Then you’ll find that perhaps the stress isn’t that heavy and there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
Tryptophan is an amino acid you need for creating the feel good chemical, serotonin. You’ll find it in soy beans, tofu, buckwheat, mushrooms, spinach and sesame seeds. You can read more about tryptophan in the post How to use food to improve your mood.
#3 – Top up on vitamin C, you need a boost.
Your immunity is down in stressful times. After all, in the distant past, immunity is not what you needed when running away from a predator. As a result, it doesn’t take too much and you pick up a cold or flu. In addition, stress generates free radicals which need to be disarmed by antioxidants that you get from fruits and veg. And vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants you can find.
That’s why, enjoy as much as you can of this powerful vitamin which is abundant in fresh berries or raw peppers and green leafy veggies. To read more about vitamin C check out the post You don’t need to pick up every cold.
#4 Enjoy some dark chocolate – in a healthy way.
Cocoa is rich in Magnesium. So even though eating chocolate may seem like strange advice, when you enjoy some dark raw chocolate with a small amount of sugar (almost bitter), you give yourself a Magnesium boost. You also satisfy cravings generated by stress, and turn your mood around as you can read in the post How to eat chocolate guilt free.
Magnesium makes your nerve connections work well, transferring messages among neurons smoothly and efficiently. Magnesium gets easily depleted when stressed and when that happens, you may suffer from tics, cramps, even low mood or problems falling asleep. Other good sources of magnesium are potatoes – 2 cups give you almost 50% of your daily requirement, bananas, chard and black beans.
#5 Keep the blood sugar levelled.
Steady blood sugar equals levelled thinking- exactly what you need while under pressure. When your hands are shaking and you feel weak because you forgot to eat, you can’t expect to handle pressure well.
Or the other way, when you reach for quick sugars like biscuits or pizza, the sudden surge of insulin quickly depletes glucose in your blood. Then, the fall from the sugary highs only adds to the other challenges you face.
So, if there is one change I’d ask you to make, take 2 minutes in the morning when you wake up or before going to bed and think about what you are going to eat in the next 24 hours. It takes a moment, yet will be the key difference in how you handle the stress of that day. To see some tips on how to balance blood sugar, check out The one food to eat to balance blood sugar.
Now, I’d love to hear from you. Share with me in the comments below
Which one of these strategies resonates the most with you and why?
Thank you so much for sharing and wish you a happy stress-balanced life!