In today’s life, there is very little you can do about the stressors in your life. The only thing you can do something about is how you let stress affect you. And the best place to start is with is your diet. According to Ayurveda, diet is medicine. Hence, let the food you eat be the bedrock of healthy living. And this will protect you against the harmful effects of the chronic stress we all live with.
How to eat healthy in stressful times?
- Delete simple sugars and starch like chips, cakes and ice cream: The spike in blood sugar and insulin that junk food causes can in conjunction with your higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, make you overeat and put you at risk of insulin insensitivity and diabetes. Stress makes us reach out to ‘bad’ comfort foods like sugary snacks and high-calorie foods that can also exacerbate other conditions in the body. Hence, it’s always better to snack on good foods like fruits.
- Avoid caffeinated food and drinks like chocolate and coffee: Caffeine not only increases levels of certain stress hormones, but it also mimics their effects in the body, like increasing the heart rate.
- High- fibre foods should be your friends: Fruits and veggies which come loaded with natural fibres are your best friends. So are other high fibre foods like oats. They not only cleanse your gut but also provide nutrients for protection against the immune-sapping effects of chronic stress.
- Include complex carbohydrates in your daily diet: These release sugars steadily into your bloodstream and keeps your blood sugar levels balanced. They also help your brain to release more of the mood-enhancing chemical, serotonin.
- Eat little and often: This is ideal for those stressful times. Your stomach will not be overloaded and frequent eating will keep your metabolism ticking over all day. Do not miss breakfast, even though you may not feel hungry, as this is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast will kick start your metabolism for the day and also help to stabilise your blood sugar levels. These two things will reduce stress drastically. For breakfast, choose fruit or fruit juice and a whole-grain cereal for optimum benefits.
- Focus on getting more vitamins and minerals: Make it a thumb rule to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Focus on foods containing Vitamins B and C, and Magnesium as B Vitamins can help you feel more energetic after a stressful episode.
- Vitamin B containing foods- Bananas, leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds and also meat, fish, milk, curd, cheese.
- Vitamin C – The adrenal glands which produce cortisol in response to stress have the largest store of vitamin C in the body. These get depleted of Vitamin C during chronic stress. So eat citrus fruits such as oranges, tomatoes, lime and leafy green vegetables like broccoli to replenish.
- Magnesium helps relax muscles and reduces anxiety so eat more nuts and peanuts to replenish.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!