Feeling Stressed? Combat Stress With These Healthy Eating Habits
My husband just hit his one month mark yesterday for his new job (his first real job in his field), and let’s just say right now he feels like he is drinking water from a fire hose. He really likes his job, but we all know the feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed from new jobs, or any number of the many stresses we all have in life. It seems many Americans experience having cortisol that is just flowing freely through our bodies a lot of the day. Yikes! That can’t be good for our bodies. I have been doing research trying to see if there is any way that I can help him in any way I can, so I have been learning what I can do with his diet to help combat the bad effects that stress can have on the body, and hopefully help him feel better and more energized in the process.
As I was reading about managing stress, I learned that the main thing that gets slammed in our bodies when we are constantly stressed are our poor adrenal glands. These are the glands in our bodies that release and control hormones including cortisol and adrenaline. Here are a few great ways that we can combat stress and help heal our adrenal glands and keep them from having to work so dang hard!
Eat Whole Foods
Whole foods are essential to healthy hormones and an overall healthy diet. It’s nearly impossible to balance your hormones and your stress hormones when you eat processed foods. The reason why? Because just trying to digest these foods and turn them into nutrients your body can use puts a great deal of stress on your system. The best foods for your adrenals are natural, whole foods. Sugar, highly processed food, and refined grains all directly assaults the adrenal glands. These foods raise insulin in the body, put excess strain on the pancreas and blood, and they simply do not support overall health. Maximize your greens intake and you’ll automatically crave less unhealthy options because greens are so rich in nutrition and bring balance to the body.
Ditch the Caffeine
Next, it is a good idea to work on reducing caffeine until you can ditch it completely. At least until you get your body back in balance; even if it’s just 2 weeks. The reason: caffeine directly makes the adrenal glands pump out more cortisol and adrenaline as soon as you consume it. Green tea and herbal teas are great alternatives because they contain healing and calming properties. Plain water with lemon and ginger is also naturally rejuvenating in the morning and healing to the body.
Eat B Vitamin-Rich Foods
B vitamins help you cope with stress and also provide energy to the body. Do your best to get your B vitamins from whole foods first, but then take a B complex if needed.
Some examples of B vitamin-rich foods are: leafy greens, asparagus, chicken, eggs, fish, fortified whole grains, and milk products.
Use Healing Spices and Herbs
Healing spices and herbs can help the body deal with stress when it’s overwhelmed. They can also heal the immune system which takes a hit during times of adrenal burnout. Some of the best include: ginger, turmeric, oregano, garlic, thyme, peppermint, spearmint, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, and coriander. Use these in and on most of your meals; some of them even come in the form of herbal teas as another option.
Stop When You’re Full, but Eat Enough to Stay Satisfied
Overeating also causes undue stress to the body, not to mention it slows down digestion which can make you feel even more tired and exhausted. Eat your breakfast at home, not in the car. Eat dinner away from the television and focus on your meal instead. Eating in a mindful state does wonders for your hormones, digestion and your overall levels of stress. All of this will support your adrenals and help you achieve more balance. It’s also easier when you’re practicing mindful eating to eat just enough until you’re satisfied, but not stuffed.
Eat at Regular Intervals
While portion control and mindfulness are also important, so is not skipping meals. If you’re generally not hungry when you wake up, that’s okay. Wait an hour, but try not to wait more than that. It’s never smart to head off to work without something healthy in your stomach, nor is it helpful to your stress levels. And please — don’t skip lunch. That’s like asking for low blood sugar and intense stress levels later in the afternoon. Your body needs food at regular intervals and you’ll feel much less stressed when you honor that by giving it real foods on a consistent basis throughout the day.
Don’t Eat Right Before Bed
Finally, try not to eat and then go right to bed, and try something light on the system if you can as well. It takes around 3 hours for food to be fully processed and digested after you eat, and the body cannot rest and digest properly at the same time. Both rest and digestion usually suffer when you go right to bed after a meal which puts an unnecessary strain on the body.
I hope you found some of these tips useful and that your body will feel happier inside by incorporating some of these healthy eating habits into your lifestyle.
Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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