Stressed out? Your diet could help

We are speeding towards the end of the year at a nerve-wracking pace, but between now and the summer holidays lies a pile of deadlines and an ever-expanding to-do list. Most of us bite off more than we can chew these days and stress management is a crucial part of a healthy life.

We know that sleep and regular exercise do wonders to reduce anxiety and stress, but your diet is an equally important player. Take note that while no diet can resolve chronic stress, the right foods can help support your body.

While these foods are a good starting point, it is best to consult a health professional for a personalized eating plan. My Health and Fitness offers a large database of trainers and nutritional consultants who can help customise your fitness routine and diet.

Have a cup of tea

A few studies show that theanine, a constituent in black tea, helps reduce the physical reaction to stress. Green tea is equally beneficial, with antioxidant, antistress and immune support properties. You can also opt for a cup of chamomile tea to calm those nerves. In both black tea and green tea it will help to look for decaf variants as caffeine could potentially increase anxiety.

Eat Complex Carbs

Carbohydrates trigger the release of serotonin in the brain, one of the happy hormones that helps you to feel calmer, happier and more focussed. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to anxiety, depression and insomnia. Complex carbohydrates, found in whole-grain foods and oatmeal, take longer to digest than simple carbs, giving you a steady source of this feel-good chemical.

Load up on Vitamin C

Antioxidants are essential to combat the effect of oxidative stress on your body. Vitamin C is a particularly important player. One study showed that giving students a daily dose of 500mg Vitamin C helped to reduce anxiety when compared to the placebo group. Choose foods that are rich in Vitamin C like strawberries, citrus fruits, broccoli and bell peppers, and introduce a quality Vitamin C supplement.

Feel like some sushi?

Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are a rich source of Omega-3, an essential fatty acid that plays an important role in decreasing inflammation. Studies suggest that low levels of Omega-3 can lead to depression and mood disorders. If you don’t eat fish, load up on walnuts.


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