Let your food help you maintain a positive mind set
Ever noticed the way you tend to fall ill more often when you are emotionally disturbed? Or the way you feel dull and listless when you are down with a bout of the flu? These incidents just go to show that there exists a close connection between the body and the mind, and anything that affects one, has repercussions on the other.
Ayurveda has known the connection between food and mental health since long and has been advising upon the importance of diet to keep the mind in a state of positivity. Modern-day scientists are slowly discovering the truth of this concept.
Based on their findings, here is a list of foods that can help you form your own de-stress diet:
Foods rich in Folic Acid
Folic acid is a vitamin that helps to reduce stress and irritability. Broccoli is rich in this compound and therefore, is a must have on the de-stress diet. You can also include orange juice, asparagus, leafy greens, kidney beans, lentils and avocado.
Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are important to ensure an elevated mood and therefore, foods rich in these are useful to de-stress. Cold-water fish such as tuna, herring, salmon and halibut are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Vegetarians can get their share of these from walnuts, tofu, soybeans, flaxseeds and cloves.
Foods rich in Tryptophan
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is used by the body to produce a compound called 5-hydroxy tryptamine, better known as serotonin. This compound acts as a neurotransmitter and when present in required quantities, puts you into an enthusiastic state of mental well-being. Whereas its deficiency can lead to spells of depression . Foods rich in tryptophan include - milk, cheddar cheese, nuts, turkey, spirulina and fish.
Nuts in Moderation
Nuts contain the important mineral magnesium which plays a role in keeping levels of the stress hormone cortisol, low. Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews and pistachios – all of them play a role in keeping your heart healthy, too. However, it is important to eat not more than a handful a day, for some of these are high on calories and may prove counter-productive if you are on a weight loss diet.
One of the easiest ways to de-stress is to down a glass of water and then take a walk outdoors. If you must have something else to drink, it is best to stick to a cup of black tea because it lowers the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol. A glass of warm milk just before going to bed will ensure you get a good night’s sleep. The tryptophan in milk gets converted to serotonin that has a calming and sedating effect. Studies have found that green tea is also good for relaxing because it contains a compound called theanine that relaxes the brain.
Over years, many of us have developed our own ways of coping with stress and we think they work for us. However, if these include steps such as gulping down a few cups of coffee or gorging on a sugary snack, it does not augur well for your body. Rather, use the foods mentioned here to help you de-stress.