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De-stress your mind by eating the right kind of food.

Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2019
Written by Live Life Get Active
Category: Nutrition

There are many ways to alleviate stress that result from a combination of balancing the food you eat, the amount of sleep you get, the amount of work and family commitments you have, exercise and taking time to yourself.

Healthy eating, although just one piece of this puzzle, is a very important one!

Stress eating and weight gain

Stress causes an increase in the hormone called cortisol which tells us we are hungry… so we eat more… and gain weight.

Our body’s response to stress can make us crave foods high in energy. This is a protective mechanism biologically engraved in us from when we were cavemen running away from danger.

But, since we no longer require the energy to run away from sabre-toothed tigers, we need to fuel our bodies with foods to lower stress levels triggered by modern day pressures like work and finances etc.

Stress fuelling foods:

Foods loaded with sugar and white flour (also known as high GI foods) are absorbed into our bodies too quickly which causes a spike in certain hormones that can give us a ‘high’ feeling. When they quickly drop back down, they give us a ‘low’ feeling. This does not help when you are dealing with stress.

The most common foods that increase feelings of stress:

  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Foods with additives
  • Fried foods

Stress relieving foods:

What our bodies need are high fibre foods such as fruit, veges, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds. The fibre in these foods slows down the rate our bodies absorb the food, which mean our bodies will release hormones at a steady and consistent rate that keep our mood balanced. This is much more helpful for dealing with stress.

If we can give you one piece of advice (you can probably guess what it is), it is to increase your vege intake!!

Here are some foods that can help with stress

  • Salmon and walnuts – the fats found in salmon can lower stress fuelling hormones and regulate mood.
  • Avocado – the potassium in avocado can help reduce blood pressure which rises when you’re stressed.
  • Spinach – stress makes you rapidly burn through your magnesium stores – low magnesium can lead to stress, fatigue and tense muscles.
  • Wholegrains – wholegrains are high in fibre which effects can help stabilise your mood.
  • Capsicum and kiwifruit – they super high in vitamin C, which can help lower your cortisol levels which increase as a response to stress.
  • Blueberries – These little stress busters can lower cortisol levels and blood pressure.

Weekly Recipe

Check out this week’s recipes to help you increase your vege intake. These yummy vege side dishes can be added to any of your favourite meals!

Cinnamon Chilli Roast Pumpkin

Serves: 4 side dishes Time: 35mins Cost: $2.50

  • ¼ kent pumpkin
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch cilli flakes
  • handful pumpkin seeds
  • natural or greek yoghurt
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180oC (fan-forced)
  2. Slice pumpking approx. 1 cm thick
  3. Place on baking tray
  4. Drizzle over olive oil
  5. Sprinkle over, cinnamon, chili flakes, salt and pepper
  6. Roast for 30min
  7. Sprinkle over pumpkin seeds
  8. Roast for further 5 mins
  9. Serve with a drizzle of yoghurt

Roast Broccoli with Parmesan

Serves: 4 side dishes Time: 30mins Cost: $3.50

  • 1 large broccoli head (or two small)
  • 1 large crushed garlic clove
  • handful of almonds
  • handful of grated parmesan
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180oC (fan-forced)
  2. Slice broccoli head lengthways
  3. Place on baking tray
  4. Add crused garlic, salt and pepper
  5. Drizzle with olive oil
  6. Mix with hands until broc is lathered in olive oil
  7. Roask for 20mins
  8. Roughly chop almonds
  9. Sprinkle over broccoli
  10. Roast for further 5 mins
  11. Serve with grated parmesan

Sources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5373497/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12034132

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6087749/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372961/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21403995

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507250/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28178022

Live Life Get Active is building a fitter, healthier and happier Australia and we want people to have fun along the way. With the help of Local Government and Corporate Australia we provide FREE health, fitness and nutritional education both online and in the parks, suburbs and cities of Australia.