- by Manipal Hospitals
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- May 12 2017
Healthy Eating To Calm Your Nerves
Stress is the body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When the body is stressed, the nervous system responds by releasing stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which rouse the body for emergency action. This can largely affect your central nervous system especially if you are not proactive in taking measures to counter act this negative effect on your body. The over stressed nervous system spends most of its resources in defending the body against attacks of anxiety, depression or panic, etc. thereby depleting energy stores.
Eating healthy food is a stay-calm trick one should attempt for! Here are some super foods which help you calm down when you are in stress.
Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C which repair and protect the cells when we are stressed. They prevent the spike in the levels of the stress hormone, named Cortisol. High levels of this hormone increase your heart rate and suppress your immune system during stressful situations. The berries not only add taste to one serving of high-fiber cereal or yogurt but also makes you feel good.
You may need an extra dose of omega-3-fatty acid when stress and mania creeps in. These fats are good for several reasons one of which is to combat anxiety. They prevent the stress hormones called adrenaline and cortisol from spiking. Sources of omega-3-fatty acid are salmons, mackerels, sardines, tuna, etc. So add more fish to your diet the next time you are stressed out.
It is a co-product produced during the making of types of acidic dairy products such as cottage cheese or strained yogurt.The L-tryptophan rich whey is an excellent food to naturally calm your nervous system. Tryptophan assists the production of serotonin, which are known to cause depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. contain riboflavin and vitamin B to settle down the overwhelmed nerves. Deficiency of riboflavin affects the secretion and transportation of proteins in the body which can trigger stress in return. The protein lactium from the milk lowers your blood pressure to calm you down while the potassium helps to relieve muscle spasms when you are tensed.
Instead of the milky bars, go for dark chocolates. The L-tryptophan and magnesium are the helpful ingredients of dark chocolate. which helps in reducing the levels of stress hormones like Cortisol, Epinephrine, and Nor-Epinephrine. It also stimulates the production of Opioids; the pleasure chemicals which help in making you feel better.
Apples, bananas, and oranges
Most athletes include these fruits in their breakfast. This is due to the fact that the nutrients from these fruits make them feel more relaxed. Vitamin C from oranges lowers the blood pressure and levels of Cortisol hormone. Eating bananas produces two hormones called serotonin and melatonin which control mood and sleep patterns.
Green tea and other herbal teas
Several calming teas are available to settle you down when you are anxious and worried. Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which promotes a stress-free mood by stimulating the brain.
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach are among the best comfort foods during mood swings. It contains vitamin K and magnesium in the high amounts required for the normal functioning of the brain. Spinach regulates the production of hormones which improves your mood and response to stressful situations. Have some spinach along with your morning eggs every day.
Depression has been linked to low levels of folic acid, and one vegetable that boosts this mood-enhancing nutrient is asparagus. A single cup provides two-thirds of your daily value, and it’s easy to fit asparagus into almost any meal. Some ideas: Sauté some asparagus tips for a tasty omelet.
Studies have linked depression to low levels of folic acid. Asparagus enhances the production of folic acid and thus boosts your mood. A cup of asparagus is enough to give you two-thirds of your daily folic acid requirements. This vegetable can be used in a wide variety of dishes as garnishing or sides.
Brazil nuts are nature’s richest sources of selenium. Eating just 3 nuts or its equivalent per day significantly relaxes your nervous system, boosts your mood, and calms you down.
Foods to be avoided
During your feelings of anxiety, depression, etc. avoid caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, and sugars. Alcohol causes dehydration which can indirectly affect your mood. The metabolized drink makes it more likely for anxiety to return.
The next time your nerves are frayed, just calmly put the above mentioned super foods in your food plate. Do not stuff yourself with go-to comfort foods such as cheese and french fries. Of course, foods are not a complete replacement for medical therapy, but they can produce an add-on effect.It is of course advisable to go for a doctor’s help.
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- Petra H. Wirtz et al. Dark Chocolate Intake Buffers Stress Reactivity in Humans. .J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014; 63(21): 2297-2299.
- Heo HJ et al. Effects of banana, orange, and apple on oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity in PC12 cells. J Food Sci.2008 Mar; 73(2): H28-32.
- Karoline C. Manthey et al. Riboflavin Deficiency Impairs Oxidative Folding and Secretion of Apolipoprotein B-100 in HepG2 Cells, Triggering Stress Response Systems. J Nutr. 2005 May; 135(5): 978–982.
- Brody S et al. A randomized controlled trial of high dose ascorbic acid for reduction of blood pressure, cortisol, and subjective responses to psychological stress. Psychopharmacology (Berl).2002 Jan; 159(3): 319-24.
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