You might be surprised one of the biggest stress-inducing activities we can do is... "dieting." Trying to stick to a strict plan that someone else has put in place for us pretty much makes us hate life!
Dieting drives up cortisol, which makes us store abdominal fat, and cutting calories puts tremendous stress on the body. First of all most people have a mindset that they are having to give up everything they love to eat during a diet and be hungry, plus they lose control of choosing their own food.
Eating foods high in sugars, salt and cheap oil, though they can reduce immediate stress, also increase our stress-level long-term. Processed foods, which are generally high glycemic index foods, send us into a vicious inflammatory cycle that's really tough to break out of, besides the addictive quality of the food, our body's own fat starts to produce more hormones that further drive up our stress.
What to eat to feel more relaxed:
Home made soup with lots of celery and vegetables, comforting and warming, soup becomes infused with the nutrients of the vegetables and meats you make it with. It helps the body fight infections and also helps clear the body of excessive stress hormones.
Green & Black Teas both contain L-theanine which helps counter act the caffeine in tea and helps you produce more alpha brain waves. This is why green tea is much less stressful than drinking coffee, but still provides that energized feeling.
Fruits high in Vitamin C such as kiwi, oranges and strawberries help us relax by providing enough vitamin C for our bodies to convert tryptophan into serotonin.
Vegetables high in potassium such as broccoli, avocado, kale, cabbage, tomatoes (and we can't forget bananas) helps fight muscle tiredness, fatigue and general irritability.
Seafood contains high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and Vitamin D all which help us stay cool under pressure. Nuts are also in this category.
Foods high in magnesium such as Spinach, Halibut, dark Chocolate, pumpkin seeds keep our nerves and muscles relaxed, if we are not getting enough of these foods we can get cramps, muscle tension and fatigue.
Foods high in selenium such as Brazil Nuts and other nuts, Shitake mushrooms, tuna, cod, salmon A deficiency in selenium has been linked to increased anxiety, depression and fatigue.
Here are also a couple individual star performing foods you need to eat:
Don't underestimate the effects that changing up your diet to include more relaxing foods can make, you might find that some of your food cravings are being driven by deficiencies. As you learn greater relaxing techniques during this challenge the compound effect of these foods can really add up and you can see significant changes to your life.