In today’s fast paced, hectic world, stress is common and considered a normal part of life. However long term, chronic stress can lead to a host of health problems if left unchecked. Constant mental and environmental stress can take a big toll on your health.
What you eat and drink on a daily basis plays an important role in how your body handles stress. If you eat poor quality foods that are heavily processed, genetically modified, high in refined sugar, refined white flour, refined vegetable oils, preservatives, food additives, hormones, and chemicals you will not give your body the crucial nutrients it needs to fight the effects of stress and maintain vibrant health.
Whole foods offer the best protection against stress. These amazing foods provide the important nutritional foundation you need to maintain a healthy immune system and protect your body from the effects of long term stress.
Whole foods are packed with key nutrients that help your body to stay nourished, repair itself, and rejuvenate so it can remain strong and healthy. Whole foods taste wonderful and are completely satisfying. Once you start eating these nutrient-rich, organic foods daily, you will no longer crave unhealthy foods with empty calories and little or no health benefits.
The 7 best healing foods to eat to reduce the effects of stress include:
1. Organic Leafy Greens and Herbs
Organic leafy green vegetables and herbs are filled with important phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins C, K, and E, B vitamins, chlorophyll, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, amino acids, water, enzymes, and fiber which are crucial for fighting the effects of stress and strengthening your immune system.
Top choices to eat on a daily basis include: kale, spinach, collard greens, cabbage, Swiss chard, arugula, mustard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, watercress, romaine lettuce, green and red oak leaf lettuce, chicory, bok choy, escarole, basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme, tarragon, oregano, mint, sage, rosemary.
2. Organic Root Vegetables
Organic root vegetables grown in organic, mineral-rich soil provide important stress fighting nutrients like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber. Root vegetables are also an excellent source of complex carbohydrates that help boost serotonin levels.
Top choices to eat on a daily basis include: beets, radishes, sweet potatoes or yams, turmeric, carrots, parsnips, turnips, celeriac root, parsley root, ginger, and purple potatoes.
3. Organic Allium Vegetables
Organic Allium vegetables are important health promoting vegetables that offer fantastic protection against the effects of stress. These vegetables have a high level of antioxidants and phytochemicals that strengthen your immune system and protect against free radical damage caused by stress. Allium vegetables are also rich in vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, sulfur, calcium, and quercetin which help protect against free radicals, cleanse the blood, fights inflammation, and protects against damage caused by stress and toxins.
Top choices to eat on a daily basis include: garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, and scallions.
4. Organic Berries
Organic berries are a wonderful source of important antioxidants, vitamin C, carotenoids, phytochemicals, water, enzymes, and fiber that work together to provide protection against chronic stress. The antioxidants in berries also protect the body from producing too much cortisol.
Top choices to eat on a daily basis include: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, acai berries, goji berries, blackberries, mulberries, golden berries, camu berry, and maqui berries.
5. Wild Fish
Wild fish is an excellent protein-rich food to eat for protecting your body from the effects of stress. Wild fish contains Vitamins D and B-12, selenium, and omega-3 essential fatty acids that are so important for maintaining vibrant health and fighting stress. Omega-3 essential fatty acids help lower cortisol which is a stress hormone that can cause health problems if it remains elevated for extended periods of time. A study published in “Molecular Nutrition and Food Research” in 2013 found that supplementing with fish oil for three weeks resulted in a measurable decrease in cortisol levels.
Top choices to eat several times per week include: Wild salmon, wild sablefish, wild Alaskan cod, wild Alaskan halibut, wild sardines.
6. Organic Raw or Sprouted Nuts and Seeds
Organic raw nuts and seeds contain protein, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, fiber, zinc, B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, and enzymes which all work together to fight the effects of stress. Soaking and sprouting raw nuts and seeds before you eat them removes the anti-nutrients, increases the vitamins and minerals, activates the enzymes, and makes the nuts and seeds easier to digest.
Top choices to eat on a regular basis include: almonds, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds.
Coconut in all its forms is one of my favorite foods. The coconut oil, coconut meat, water, and milk are rich in potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, selenium, B vitamins, amino acids, and fiber which all work together to help lower stress levels and protect your body from the effects of stress. Coconut contains lauric acid which is an important medium chain fatty acid that the liver uses for energy production instead of storing as fat. Coconut meat, coconut oil, and coconut milk also has antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Coconut reduces cortisol levels and also has potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Top choices to eat on a daily basis include: extra virgin, raw coconut oil, young coconut meat, organic coconut milk, unsweetened coconut water, and unsweetened coconut flakes.
Once you start adding these fantastic health-promoting foods into your daily diet, they will help you successfully protect your body from the effects of long term stress so that you can enjoy radiant health and wellness.
For some fantastic holistic lifestyle suggestions on how to reduce stress and enjoy vibrant health, check out my post 10 ways to enjoy a happy and healthy 2013.
What do you do to fight the effects of stress? Please contribute to the conversation by leaving a comment below.
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Salmon picture courtesy of Vital Choice Seafood