Updated: Aug 5, 2019
What is stress? How can chronic stress affect my health? How can I avoid the health risks associated with high stress?
Stress is your body's natural reaction to crises, whether they be immediately dangerous or perceived as harmful to one's well-being. The three minutes animals are stressed from escaping a predator are much different than the stress humans experience in modern society. Humans often create their own stress or perceive events as stressful if it could impact the normality and comfort of everyday life.
Cortisol is the hormone responsible for reacting to stress within the body, and also plays an important role in regulating the metabolism and immune system. This means when you're stressed, your metabolism slows down in order to conserve energy to fight off the perceived danger. Your body will start storing fat, mainly around the torso, as a self-preservation mechanism. Your immune system is also compromised when cortisol overflows throughout your body; in order to conserve more energy, your body shuts down "non-essential" systems, such as the immune system. This means people are gaining unwanted weight and falling ill due to their stress!
Chronic stress is, unfortunately, extremely common in modern society. The health consequences can be deadly, and not many people are aware that their stress is causing them so many problems. If your body is continuously producing cortisol, you'll keep gaining weight and getting sick, which nobody has time for!
Proper nutrition is crucial to anyone's health, whether they experience chronic stress or not. However, chronic stress can be managed and even reduced with specific nutrients designed to heal your body, and protect against cortisol damage.
The Ultimate Stress Management Grocery List
The next time you run to the grocery store, bring this list with you and choose some items that sound good to you. You don't have to force yourself to eat foods you don't like, but try to incorporate some of the following items or even replace unhealthy choices with these healthier ones! A free printable grocery list will be available at the end of this post.
Mangoes help to reduce stress-related hormones, boost your immune system, regulate blood pressure, and provide healthy energy to combat mental exhaustion.
Blueberries boost energy levels, reduce inflammation caused by stress, balance moods, reduce blood pressure, and provide a high number of antioxidants.
Apricots are known to ease headache pain and muscle tension, balance blood sugar levels, reduce the harmful effects of inflammation on the body, and encourage natural energy.
Apples noticeably reduce the stress hormone cortisol, balance blood sugar levels, aid digestion, and encourages healthy brain function.
Cherries can reduce inflammation caused by stress, reduce pain, promote relaxation and sleep, boost mood, enhance libido, and calm the mind.
Bananas help to provide sufficient energy, boost potassium levels, lift moods, improve immune system, and help produce serotonin in the brain.
- Others: grapes, avocado, citrus fruits, and cranberries.
Spinach helps to reduce blood pressure, reduce muscle tension, promote restful sleep, regulate stress hormones, produce dopamine, and calm the body and mind with magnesium.
- Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes can reduce inflammation cause by stress, help regulate blood sugar levels, lift moods, promote relaxation, aid in healthy digestion, reduce cortisol levels, and boost the immune system.
Mushrooms are known to boost the immune system, lift moods, improve healthy hormonal functioning, balance blood sugar levels, and aids in circulation.
Beets promote a healthy nervous system, lower blood pressure, boost energy levels, promote relaxation, and repairs tissues damaged by stress.
- Others: cauliflower, corn, celery, carrots, squash, asparagus, broccoli, green beans and brussel sprouts.
Oatmeal helps reduce mental exhaustion, boost energy levels, regulate blood sugar levels, aid in digestion, stimulate the production of serotonin, and promote restful sleep.
- Brown Rice
Brown rice can boost energy levels, ease headaches, balance blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol levels.
Popcorn is known to balance blood sugar levels, use polyphenols to protect the body from disease and damage from stress, boosts energy, and aid in digestion.
Turkey helps encourage sound sleep, lift moods, boosts immune function, encourage the production of serotonin, and balance blood sugar.
Salmon can ease inflammation caused by stress, lift moods, reduce emotional and physical impacts of stress, and reduce headaches.
Eggs help regulate emotions and moods, boost energy levels, stabilize blood sugar, and support the adrenal glands.
- Other: lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, kidney beans, and tofu.
5. Nuts, Seeds, Roots, Spices
- Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are widely known to stabilize moods, boost energy levels, balance hormones, reduce the harmful impacts of stress on the body, and ease inflammation.
Ginger can settle a distressed digestive system, boost immune functioning, reduce muscle pain, ease the inflammation caused by stress, lift moods, and ease tension.
Cinnamon helps to reduce the amount of cortisol in the body, regulate blood sugar levels, ease inflammation, reduce joint pain, and enhance immune system.
Almonds are great for boosting energy levels, lowering cholesterol, producing serotonin to lift moods and manage stress, promote relaxation, and improve immune functioning.
- Other: pistachios, peanuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
- Probiotic Yogurt
Probiotic yogurt helps to ease anxiety and depression, promote relaxation and restful sleep, build healthy gut bacteria, reduce inflammation in intestines due to stress, enhance immune system, and lower blood pressure.
- Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is known to boost immune health, promote positive moods, raise energy levels, and lower the stress hormone cortisol.
Other Ways to Manage Anxiety & Stress