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Eating your way to Happiness

Food works to help you feel good from the inside out. Your body loves it when you eat well, as this is when it becomes balanced, your hormone and blood-sugar levels are restored and your body, in general, is happier. During times of stress, you need to nourish your body and avoid foods that cause the release of more adrenaline and cortisol, which will only make your body think it needs more energy.

Energy for the body comes in the form of food, so naturally you will then feel hungrier and eat more. But it’s unlikely to be the food that the body really needs or wants. With cortisol floating around the bloodstream, you are encouraging yourself to make poor food choices. Also, the more cortisol there is in the body, the more fat storage occurs, which then leads to weight gain and related health issues. But the good news is that there are foods that help with stress, so the next time you are stressed, make sure you include them in your diet.

Vitamin C

Eat (don’t supplement) vitamin C. As you now know, the adrenal glands are nestled on top of the kidneys, and they are in charge of our stress hormones – cortisol and adrenaline. Vitamin C is stored in high concentrations in the adrenal glands. When we are super-stressed, we burn through vitamin C like crazy. So, we want to eat foods that are very high in vitamin C to help us replace it, so that our adrenal glands can function at their optimal level. These include:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • papaya
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • red peppers
  • strawberries
  • oranges

Magnesium

Magnesium can help us to relax which, in turn, helps us to de-stress. It is an important mineral for our adrenal glands, and when we are stressed we can actually lose magnesium. This then leads to additional stress and some tight, achy muscles. Foods that are high in magnesium include:

  • spinach
  • kale
  • romaine lettuce
  • watercress
  • parsley
  • coriander

When you eat these greens, you get an extra bonus for your adrenals because dark leafy greens also contain vitamin C.

Gluten-free grains

Fill your pantry with gluten-free grains. Why? Because gluten-free grains are high in B vitamins, which are extremely important for fighting stress. This is because they support the nervous system and brain function. Also, grains are a complex carbohydrate and these carbs can help the brain produce serotonin, that feel-good chemical – what a bonus! Stock up on:

  • oats
  • quinoa
  • brown rice
  • buckwheat

Potassium

Potassium is great for keeping stress levels down. This is because it helps to regulate your blood pressure and relaxes your muscles. Potassium is used by every single cell in your body, so when levels are low, you are less able to cope with stress. Foods high in potassium include:

  • bananas
  • avocados
  • citrus fruits
  • citrus juices

Use the following questionnaire to help you identify how you can increase your intake of those all-important stress-busting foods.

QUESTIONNAIRE: Can you improve your anti-stress diet?

  1. What vitamin-C-rich foods do you already include in your daily diet and which new ones can you start to incorporate into your diet this month?
  2. What magnesium-rich foods do you already include in your daily diet and which new ones can you start to incorporate into your diet this month?
  3. What gluten-free grains do you already include in your daily diet and which new ones can you start to incorporate into your diet this month?
  4. What potassium-rich foods do you already include in your daily diet and which new ones can you start to incorporate into your diet this month? We’ve now looked at the stress-reducing foods you need to include in your diet at all times. But there’s so much more you can do this month to ensure that you are equipped with plenty of stress-fighting tools.

Would you like to find more ways to focus on you and live a happier and healthier life? Buy my book Recharge: A Year of Self Care to Focus on You available on Amazon

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