In this era, many of us find that we’re always on the go and we eat for convenience more than for nutrition and health. The word “stress” has become the norm in our daily vocabulary. So when do we eat for health, fuel, emotional eating or to eat for eating’s sake?
Daily stresses can induce an increase in cortisol levels; which can lead to food cravings – many tend to be carbs and sugar according to researchers at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center. The more we binge on these, the worse our mood can get. So instead of always reaching for comfort food to get that quick fix; plan for ingredients in meals and snacks that will actually provide balance and tranquility to your well-being as a whole. And because of the nutrients and vitamins they deliver and the consistent source of energy they provide you, it will get you through the weeks and months feeling lighter and more vitalized.
Food Best for Stress
- Green Leafy Vegetables – (rich in folate – produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters: serotonin & dopamine)
- Organic Turkey – (a good source of tryptophan – an amino acid that converts into serotonin)
- Pumpkin seeds, nuts & free-range organic eggs are also good sources of protein & tryptophan
- Fermented Food – Healthy gut flora is said to have a correlational impact on brain health. I.e. probiotic – Lactobacillus rhamnosus was discovered to have a significant effect on GABA in particular neural regions & decreased corticosterone; which led to a reduction in anxiety & depressive symptomatology
- Avocados – are high in Vitamin B, lutein, beta-carotene, vitamin E & more folate than any other fruit
- Berries – high in antioxidants & vitamin C; help to lower blood pressure & cortisol amongst other good things
- Garlic – packed with powerful antioxidants & helps to neutralize free radicals; linked to strengthening the immune system, fending off heart disease & even the flu.
- Dark chocolate – Heart healthy food (contains high levels of 2 powerful antioxidants – polyphenols & flavonols); linked to mood stabilization & lowering blood pressure.
- Grass-fed beef – not only better for the planet but high in antioxidants, Vitamin C, E & beta carotene; antibiotic & hormone free; lower in fat & 2-4 times higher in omega 3s.
A healthy diet is beneficial for both physical and mental health. I love this saying “like an expensive car, your brain functions best when fed expensive fuel” so invest in a healthy diet for a healthy mind.
Dr Felicia Neo
PhD (Clinical Psychology & Neuroscience)
PGDip (Clinical Psychology)
BA (Psych & Mass Communications)
Clinical Psychologist, Neuroscientist