Though we do it every day, eating is a simple act that can become quite complicated if we consider the science behind the food we consume. On the other hand, that information can also empower us on a path towards healing and wellness. In this New Year, make it a habit to deal with stress in a healthy way—and allow the right foods to be part of your strategy!
The following nutritional elements are considered stress-busters, and can be found in some of our favorite natural foods. Take a look:
Did you know that carbohydrates prompt the brain to create more of the so-called happy chemical, serotonin? But before you reach for just any carb-laden snack, consider this: Because complex carbs take longer to digest, opting for whole wheat and whole grain options ensure that the effects of the feel-good chemical will last longer.
As opposed to simple carbs (think candy, soda), consuming complex carbs will stabilize blood sugar levels.
To start your day with a healthy dose of complex carbs, fix up a bowl of warm oatmeal and berries or bake this adorable granola heart with yogurt. Lunch or dinner can be a satisfying serving of this butternut squash, quinoa and grape salad.
As one of the most common and recognizable vitamins, Vitamin C sure holds a lot of nutritional powers that have gone unrecognized. Studies have shown that regular consumption of this vitamin will not only strengthen our immune system, but also curb levels of stress hormones such as cortisol.
Often associated with oranges, Vitamin C can be found in other citrus fruits that are easier to consume, such as mandarins, as well as blueberries and grapes.
A key nutrient for our body’s health, foods rich in magnesium are not as easily identifiable as, say, natural sources of Vitamin C. But it’s time to get familiar! Responsible for regulating muscle and nerve function, as well as blood sugar and pressure levels, magnesium is an essential element in combating fatigue and even headaches—common side effects of extreme stress.
Luckily, our favorite buttery fruit, the avocado, contains high levels of magnesium. In fact, one medium avocado stores up to 60 mg of the nutrient (that’s nearly 15% of the recommended daily intake!). And, as an added bonus, the Omega-3 fatty acids so abundant in avocados can prevent surges in stress hormones and may help lessen symptoms of depression.