I would like to say a special thank you to all that came out for my presentation, Healthy Eating to Combat Stress, this morning at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market! It was such a wonderful experience to connect with the community on how to manage stress through fresh, locally produced foods! Also, thank you to the staff at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market for giving me this opportunity! Featured recipes from the demo can be found at the bottom of this post.
Stress, according to the National Institute of Mental Health is commonly defined as "how the brain and body respond to any demand". Oxford Living Dictionary defines it as, "A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances".
Everyone experiences stress whether it is from the day to day life demands, in the form of a traumatic event (war, elections/government, natural or manmade disasters), or that of a sudden life change such as divorce, death, or loss of a job. No matter how it is defined, so many of us know what stress is, what it feels like, and how it impacts our daily lives.
Stress that is not addressed can cause a mirade of health problems that include high blood pressure, diabetes, abnormal sleep, depression and anxiety, chronic colds or flu. Not to mention headaches, fatigue, low sex drive, relationship problems, and alcohol/drug abuse.
It doesn't have to be like this!
Eating a healthy diet can make a tremendous effect on how we feel and how we deal with stress. To begin this process one can eliminate processed foods from the diet. Foods high in sugar, chemical additives, overly processed wheat, or gluten, have been shown to have detrimental effects on health and have little or no nutritional value. Replacing processed foods with whole foods can increase the amount of nutrients that you receive on a daily basis including fiber, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids.
One of the key components of reducing stress through healthy eating is by adding foods rich in tryptophan, an amino acid found in protein rich foods, as well as fruits and vegetables. Tryptophan is the precursor to producing serotonin which is commonly known as the 'feel good' hormone and helps maintain mood.
With 80-90% of serotonin produced in the gut, a healthy diet is one of the first steps one can do in combatting stress. Listed below are foods found at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market that can help you feel better:
Baked potatoes with skins, beef, broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, cheese, chicken,
corn, dates, eggs, eggplant fermented foods, figs, fish, green leafy vegetables, green tea,
hummus, Kombucha, lamb, lima beans, peas, sweet potatoes, steel cut oats, tomatoes and turkey
Here are a few more tips that can help eliminate some of the stress in and around the kitchen:
- Plan a menu
- Plan menus with stress busting foods
- Plan shopping trips/stock your kitchen
- Ask for help in the kitchen
- Plan ahead for busy mornings or evenings
- Eat together!
- Turn off the television and other devices while eating
Here are a few more tips that can help you when you find yourself feeling overwhelmed:
- Practice gratitude-most likely when we acknowledge the things that are working in our lives, it makes the problems we are facing a bit smaller
- Exercise-30 minutes of daily exercise can boost serotonin levels. Daily exercise helps manage weight, lowers cholesterol, and helps you sleep better, to name a few
- Grazing or snacking to help maintain your blood sugar
- Practice mindful breathing-it's amazing that we so often forget how to breath
- Turn off tv, radio, & social media-especially before going to bed
- Get outside
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
- Dance, yoga, meditation, music, books-all wonderful ways to enhance the body & mind
- Just say NO- don't over commit your time! Keep an updated calendar and know when to say YES
- Practice positivity-ALWAYS!
Life is so full of wonderful opportunities and experiences! Remind yourself that you don't have to live a life of chronic stress! As a health coach I would be more than honored to help you find the solutions that work for you! Let's connect!