When Stressed, Eat Well

by Hassan Dashti

A few years from now, dietitians may be suggesting a stress-relieving biscuit or an anti-fatigue food bar to help people manage their stress through food. Scientists at food technology laboratories across the world are working hard to create “high-technology” foods that presumably are better than what nature has to offer. The Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) in India are among these food technology pioneers that specializes in creating food technologies for the Indian army forces, many of which have quickly become investment opportunities for businessmen, such as these biscuits.

But, these biscuits and bars aren’t available yet. Instead, we have to rely on available foods to help relieve our stress.

What Not To Eat?

In a stressed state, the body goes through many physiological changes: increased blood sugar, cholesterol, heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormones. The key to controlling some of these changes and alleviating some of the stress is to avoid foods that contribute to increasing these factors.

Foods high in caffeine increase blood pressure and heart rate by stimulating neurotransmitters, which can lead to or increase stress and anxiety. Avoiding or reducing consumption of foods high in caffeine including tea, coffee and cocoa is a great way to reduce risk of tension.

Also, foods high in cholesterol and fat such as fatty red meats should be limited. These foods are high in caloric content. And contrary to what many people believe, during stress, the body releases many hormones including cortisol that help the body store excess fat. Thus, consuming high calorie foods and fats will lead to further weight gain.

What To Eat?

For immediate stress relief, you might want to consider foods with a crunch! Studies have shown that cCrunching on almonds and walnuts, for example, can help aggression outreduce stress. Almonds are also a good source of vitamin B2 and E. Crunchy fruits such as apples or vegetables such as carrots can also help to with the stress relief.relieve some stress-induced tension and anxiety.

In addition, As for nutrients that could indirectly help with the stresscertain nutrients may prove beneficial in relieving stress symptoms; for example, studies have shown that , consider consuming foods higher in vitamins B, C and E and minerals like manganese, selenium and zinc are helpful.

Vitamins B and E have been shown to lower blood pressure. These vitamins are found in fish, eggs, milk and fruits and vegetables such as pumpkin, broccoli and tomato, as well as in crunchy nuts including almonds and pistachio.

Magnesium, a known is known as a muscle relaxant, making it a good is found in high concentrations in apricots and may be a good “”stress relieving” mineral. It is found in high concentrations in dried apricots.

Foods higher in omega-3 fatty acids such as fatty fish like salmon can can help prevent heart diseases, and may also lower stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline. These foods include fishes. Also, some of these fish es contain choline a memory booster. Although choline is more directly involved in the development of fetal brain, it is also a precursor of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in memory. This might be specifically helpful while studying!

So, your best bet for keeping your stress under control is to simply eat well.

Eat Fill up on a lot of greens, including dark green vegetablesdark leafy greens and other dark green vegetables, all of , which are powerhouses packed withof vitamins and minerals important for body repair. Eat fresh fruits, broth and vegetable based soups;, yogurts; and fishes that contain all the beneficial vitamins and mineralsfish such as salmon. All of these contribute to a , which contribute towards a balanced diet. People often It’s common to overindulge and overeat when stressed, but excess eating should be restricted due to the body’s nature to store more food when under stress.  Thus when stressed, eat well.

Hassan Dashti is a first-year student in the Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition program from Kuwait, and is the current editor-in-chief of the Friedman Sprout. Hassan is currently engaged in nutrigenomics research at the HNRCA, trying to identify genes that affect saturated fat metabolism in human. He is interested in collecting foods from all over the world, and in restocking his pantry.

The Friedman Sprout is a monthly student run newspaper that aims to serve the student population at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, prospective students, and alumni. Our mission is to report on newsworthy information that affects the Friedman community including nutrition research, food policy, internship and volunteer opportunities, as well as school events. Our editorial slant is that of sustainability in food and nutrition.

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