Julie Daniluk's Top 5 foods to cope with stress
Sep 16, 2018
When speaking to clients about their concerns, one of the first questions I ask is, “What stresses you out?”
Consistently, I receive 3 answers : Money, job and caring for children, elderly parents or an ill loved one. Yet, very few of us stop to consider the affect of this stress on our own health – until symptoms occur.
Stress is a contributing factor in many illnesses, from headaches to Heart Disease and immune deficiencies to anxiety disorders and digestive problems.
My business involves long hours and a large energy output – a lifestyle which could push my adrenals to produce stress hormones. Before becoming a nutritionist, I would have easily devoured a pint of ice cream and a row of cookies to cope because eating refined sugars and flours can inhibit the brain's production of natural pleasure chemicals.
Now I have an amazing arsenal of relaxing and healing foods to help me to get through any challenge because healthy, whole foods are packed with the nutrition your brain needs to produce a positive, calm and more alert state that leads to a happier and less stressful life.
5 foods that fight stress
1. Carob is a chocolate-flavoured stress-fighter.
Carob contains high amounts of essential minerals like calcium and magnesium, both of which are required for the proper contraction and subsequent relaxation of muscles. Magnesium also supports adrenal function and inhibits the release of adrenalin, the hormone that contributes to the feelings associated with stress.1
2. Avocado fights stress by boosting Vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 is necessary for the creation of steroid hormones, including those that are released during periods of stress.2 Being in a state of excess stress could cause a depletion of Vitamin B6 stores, which could cause other hormonal imbalances and additional internal stressors.
3. Red Bell Peppers boost immunity and fight stress
Red bell peppers are packed with Vitamin C, which can reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the blood. The benefit of Vitamin C is two-fold because it also improves your ability to fight infections, which you become susceptible to during periods of high stress.3
4. Eating fish will help you decrease your anxiety level.
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are two major components of the Omega fats found in fish oils.4
Including adequate amounts of these fats in a diet has been shown to decrease episodes of anxiety and even anger in adults. Just remember to choose sardines, anchovies and other fish that are low on the food chain to avoid pollutants like mercury.
5. Eat turkey to take 'the edge off'.
Tryptophan is the amino acid often blamed for the “Thanksgiving Coma,” though it’s also present in high levels in beef, poultry, salmon and shrimp.5 When tryptophan is transported to the brain, it has the ability to convert into serotonin (reduce anxiety and stress) and into melatonin, which aids in stress-related insomnia.
- D. Jee, D. Lee S. Yun, C. Lee: “Magnesium sulphate attenuates arterial pressure increase during laparoscopic cholecystectomy.” BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia, Volume 103, Issue 4, 1 October 2009
- J. Dennis Mahuren, Paula L. Dubeski, Nigel J. Cook*, Allan L. Schaefer, and Stephen P. Coburn: “Adrenocorticotropic Hormone Increases Hydrolysis of B-6 Vitamers in Swine Adrenal Glands.” J. Nutr. October 1, 1999 vol. 129 no. 10 1905-1908
- Gregory S. Kelly, ND: “Nutritional and Botanical Interventions to Assist with the Adaptation to Stress.” Alternative Medicine Review ◆ Volume 4, Number 4, 1999
- Laure Buydens-Branchey, Marc Branchey and Joseph R. Hibbeln: “Associations between increases in Plasma N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids following supplementation and decreases in anger and anxiety in substance abusers.” Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Feb 15; 32(2): 568–575.
- Russo, Sascha MD; Kema, Ido P. PhD; Fokkema, Rebecca M. MSc; Boon, Jim C. MD; Willemse, Pax H. B. MD, PhD; de Vries, Elisabeth G. E. MD, PhD; Den Boer, Johannes A. MD, PhD; Korf, Jakob PhD: “Tryptophan as a Link between Psychopathology and Somatic States.” Psychosomatic Medicine: July 2003 - Volume 65 - Issue 4 - p 665–671 doi: 10.1097/01.PSY.0000078188.74020.CC