ABCs Stress-busting foods

Stress as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is a physical or mental strain; pressure or tension. It is a simple emotion which each one of us experiences every day in our lives. Starting from waking up on time, to preparing and having breakfast, to getting ready and leaving home on time for work, the job, spouse, children, neighbors, the traffic, the pollution, etc…the list is endless as we know it. The job itself is an infinite source of physical as well as mental stress for numerous hours every single day multiplied by many years!

How does one beat this stress? Pat comes the reply-yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, exercising, brisk walks, diets and more. Well, all are easier said then done. Try adding an hour of walk to an already exhausting 10 hr job! But fear not as there is an alternative to everything in today’s age. The solution is – beat this stress with the very food you consume.

Research and detailed scientific analysis of foodstuffs have been able to identify the exact chemicals in each fruit and vegetable that are helpful to our body. Data reveals with pinpoint precision the changes these chemicals produce in our body and how they help to elevate or depress our moods. The importance of a balanced nutritious diet in maintaining a healthy body cannot be emphasized enough but the key lies in minimizing the stress elevating food substances in our diet and stocking up on the stress-minimizing ones! Here is a comprehensive alphabetical list on the wonders nature has in store for us:

Almonds – These are mood elevators thanks to their Vitamin B content which nips depression and anxiety.

B +ve. – These three “B” foods shall help you combat stress on a war-footing.

Blueberries – These tiny little blue colored berries are not only very low in calories but a powerhouse of antioxidants, rich in Vitamin C and selenium. The Vitamin C boosts your immunity and prepares your body to fight the constant war against infection. It also fights free radicals that speed up the ageing process. Being high in fiber, they also relieve the constipation and get your guts moving smoothly. To top it all they even taste great.

Broccoli – Spinach’s twin sister, broccoli, is a great source of Vitamin B. Vitamin B releases serotonin which helps one relax and calm down, ease stress, depression, anxiety and even symptoms of panic.

Beef – This meat is loaded with stress-busting zinc, Vitamin B and iron. The iron delivers oxygen better to your body and especially your brain helping cope with stress better. Zinc plays a very important role in maintaining a healthy immune system.

Carbohydrates – They say a baked potato is enough to ease away an entire day of stress!

Dark Green Vegetables – This entire group contains large amounts of Vitamin B which is great at beating stress levels. They also contain Vitamin A which is necessary to maintain great looking skin. Additionally, they are a rich source of iron.

Eggs – These are a total all-rounder as far as being a source of balanced diet is concerned. Supposedly, all vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and fats in adequate quantity are contained by no other food.

Fish – Fishes contain large amounts of Vitamin B6 and B12 that help you win the war against stress. Also certain fishes like salmon contain Omega 3 fatty acids which help reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood.

Green Bell peppers – A rich source of antioxidant producing Vitamin C.

Herring – This fish contains good amount of proteins and good cholesterol (HDL) keeping your arteries soft and supple.

Ice creams – These are highly calorific tantalizing food items which satisfy your carbohydrate requirement abundantly and leave your body starved for all other nutrients.

Jackfruit – Not an everyday food item, but a good replacement for those who are trying to cut down on the fat in their diets.

Kiwifruit – This storehouse of Vitamin C blunts out the free radicals and peps up your immunity to fight yet another stream of infections in day to day life!

Lentils – These contain magnesium which gives the much needed sound sleep. Also, it relaxes your muscles, blood vessels and guts. Lentils also release serotonin which is a great stress buster.

Milk – This is the best source of calcium in our daily diet and keeps away those nasty pains, aches, cramps and sprains that occur in various parts of our body due to lack of calcium leading to unnecessary stress.

Nuts – These contain high Magnesium and other Vitamin B12 which effectively combat anxiety. But watch out for an overdose as it might give you unnecessary calories which you may have been trying to pull down.

Oats – This is the magnesium-rich tranquilizer that should give you sound sleep that you probably last had only as a child.

Pistachios – This mood elevator perks up the Vitamin B levels in your body fighting depression and doing what it does best – ‘busting your stress’!

Red meat – It is rich in fiber and an excellent source of iron.

Shrimps, Scallops – These contain oodles of Vitamin B which drives away your blues.

Tomatoes – This unlikely looking vegetable gives you loads of Vitamin C and A which boosts your immunity and could give you a healthier glowing skin.

Vegetables – Make sure fresh, raw vegetables, especially dark green and leafy green ones are included in your daily meals. These high fiber products allay your constipation and regulate your vitamin and mineral requirements adequately.

Water – Water must make up at least 80% of your fluid consumption. This elixir of life is the only thing that literally washes away your worries!

Yogurt – This overnight fermented food product is an essential source of anxiety beating vitamin 12 and is also rich in calcium.

With these foods, you can keep stress at bay and also overcome physical and mental tensions in your routine life. So get going and learn the alphabet once again, but this time with only food on your mind.

– Dr. Rachita Narsaria