Eat This, Not That: To Combat Stress and Anxiety – AskMen

Posted: January 5, 2020 at 7:54 am

How good does it feel to reach for chocolate or fast food after a particularly stressful day? We cant deny the instant satisfaction of biting into a greasy burger but that instant gratification may be doing more harm than good.

According to Dr. Anna Cabeca, physician and Amazon #1 best selling author of "The Hormone Fix," when we are first under some sort of stress in our fight, flight or freeze mode, our body releases cortisol (our stress hormone). Over time with the chronic persistent state of "fight, flight or freeze" our body produces very high amounts of cortisol. This results in a feeling of disconnection and burnout and inflammation, which only worsens with sugar and fat.

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So how do we reverse and prevent burnout and the disconnect that comes with it while satisfying our urge to grab a snack after a long day? We spoke to health and nutrition experts to get their thoughts on the best foods to fight stress and dont worry, (some!) chocolate is actually OK.

While coffee may be your first inclination during a particularly stressful afternoon at the office, you may want to swap out the hard stuff for something a little more green. Green tea is one of the best foods/drinks for fighting stress and anxiety while increasing focus due it's L-Theanine content, explains Forrest Przybysz, MBA and owner of Nootropics Resource. L-Theanine is a natural amino acid found primarily in green and black teas that has been linked to several health benefits including reduced anxiety, lower stress levels, increased focus and better sleep quality.

According to Jared Heathman, MD, meals high in carbohydrates and sugar spike glucose, which initially gives us a rush of endorphins, which is why those greasy burgers are so satisfying after a long day. This can feel good initially, but the resulting crash can leave us feeling fatigued and irritable, explains Heathman, when our mind feels fatigued and irritable, it can't adequately cope with stress levels. This can lead to a worsening in our mood and anxiety. Eating high fiber foods like vegetables with each meal can assist in maintaining glucose uptake in a slow, steady fashion.

Organ meat from pasture-raised animals aresome of the most nutrient-dense foods you will find Beef Liver and heart especially, says Erik Levi, functional nutritional therapy practitioner, They are loaded with brain-healthy nutrients like B-Vitamins, choline, and omega 3, and high-quality protein.

Yes, plain old water may just be the key to feeling less stressed throughout your day. Dehydration leads to both mental and physical stress. Your body literally needs water to survive and when it doesn't get enough, metabolic processes begin to shut down and this can affect your well-being. Levi recommends getting at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces per day.

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See? You can still get your chocolate fix without sacrificing your mental wellbeing.Studies have tied the polyphenols and micronutrients in cacao to both stress relief and lower instances of cardiac disease keep your heart rate low, keep stress low. Look for at least 70 percentcacao, with low to no sugar chocolate for this effect.

This is one of the highest sources of good fats you're going to find. Although fat has been demonized for years, modern research has found that fat-rich foods like butter deliver lots of vitamin A-retinol, which is involved in hundreds of metabolic processes in the body, says Levi. Its also a good source of butyrate, which is a small-chain fatty acid made in the colon that helps your body's immune system and overall digestive health, which both help physically keep your stress level low.

This is another food that has been demonized through the years, but according to Levi, eggs from pasture-raised chickens who eat a real chicken diet and not grains are one of the best sources of choline you can find. Choline helps make dopamine in the brain, which you need more of to mentally deal with stress. You also get lots of omega-3 and B12. explains Levi.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which fish like salmon are excellent sources of, actively work to suppress the development of stress hormones, as well as feelings of depression. According to Jamie Bacharach, licensed medical acupuncturist and health expert, this is thanks to the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids, which in supplement form have been proven to provide a 20 percentreduction in anxiety versus placebo groups. As salmon possesses high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, it only needs to be enjoyed once a week or so in order to take advantage of its anti-stress benefits.

Complex carbohydrates like oatmeal can help to promote serotonin production, directly boosting feelings of happiness and diminishing feelings of stress, explains Bacharach. Unlike regular carbohydrates, a complex carb like oatmeal won't cause a spike in blood glucose, which can lead to a rise in feelings of stress or tension.

It's not a coincidence that turkey has a reputation for making people feel fatigued or relaxed. Turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid which helps to regulate the production of serotonin a bodily chemical that promotes feelings of happiness and calm, says Bacharach. Tryptophan supplements in and of themselves have demonstrated in scientific studies that they can make people more agreeable, or less argumentative, helping to diminish feelings of anger or stress.

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Eat This, Not That: To Combat Stress and Anxiety - AskMen

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