The Body Retreat

The Body Retreat

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Eat To Beat Stress – Foods to Include & Avoid

Food and Stress are explicably linked, when we feel stressed out we tend to reach for foods that we feel will help to lift us physically and emotionally.  But actually the foods and drinks we consume during stressful times can actually exacerbate our stress and hinder our body from coping with the stress reactions.  This can result in our health deteriorating further.

Here are our top 5 foods to avoid and include to help you support your system and help combat the negative impact of stress.

Five Foods To Avoid

1. Caffeine.  While it might feel like the perfect pick me up, as well as stimulating your circulation which can lead to palpitations caffeine is a neuro-stimulator and can increased your levels of anxiety as well as negatively impact your ability to sleep at night.
2. Alcohol.  Most of us reach for a glass of vino to help us to relax after a hard day at the office, but actually alcohol raises the stress hormone cortisol and so you are actually keeping your levels elevated at a time of the day when you want to winding down not winding up.
3. Sugar. Refined sugar and highly processed foods that quickly convert into sugar in your blood mean that you are on an energy roller coaster, yes you will feel fine and ready to tackle everything for about 30-45 minutes after eating, but then comes the crash, when you are already coping with stress this crash makes you vulnerable to high irritability.
4. Salt.  A little salt in the diet is a good thing but consuming high sodium foods like ready meals, potato crisps, foods which have little nutritional value but somehow seem to the ones we crave when stressed. Too much salt means that you will be retaining additional fluid and this fluid puts a strain on your heart and increases your blood pressure.
5. Red Meat. Not advocating a vegetarian lifestyle but red meat does take more effect for your system to digest, this means an increased load on your liver which is the main organ to feel the negative impact of stress.

Food To Include to Help Combat Stress

1. Lemons.  Well specifically the juice of half a lemon in a shot of hot water taken every morning on waking.  This helps to stimulate and support your liver as you prepare for the day ahead.
2. Greens.  Again your liver loves greens, packed full of antioxidants green food actively helps your body to fight the stress free radicals.  consider it chemical warfare of the most tasty kind.  Try to add Green Veggies to at least 2 meals a day, even if its just a handful of Spinach.
3. Sweet Potatoes.  Fibre rich carbs make us feel better, they help to stimulate the release of Seritonin in your brains, the feel good factor.  These type of carbs help you to avoid the sugar crashes associated with more refined carbs and are a great sources of magnesium which can be seriously depleted by increased adrenaline levels.
4. Turkey…this white meat is not just for Christmas, Turkey is high in tryptophan the precursor to seritonin and eating good quality protein within a balanced diet increased dopamine in the brains reward centre so you feel better.
5 . Water.  You knew it was coming.  But it is vital to remain hydrated when you feel stressed, your brain needs water to function optimally.   If you are experiencing  chronic stress you are likely to dehydrate faster than normal, due to the increased sweating and  faster breathing.  The symptoms of dehydration include lethargy, head aches, light headiness, shaking, all of this increases your stress feelings.


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