If you suffer from stress or often, long and intensive sports you need more nutrients. Often you are inclined to grab a bar of chocolate or bag of chips, but fat and fast sugars are just a quick fix that only makes things more confused, making you feel even more restless. Do your body and mind a favor and go for an anti-stress diet with good fats, proteins and complex carbohydrates.
If you are stressed or train intensively, your body produces the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol ensures that the concentration of glucose in your blood increases so that more energy is released. If you are exposed to this hormone too often and for too long, your immune system can be disturbed, you have a greater chance of getting injured and you make belly fat faster.
The impact of low carb and low fat diets
Some diets can also make you feel stressed. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose, the number one feed for your brain. If you scrape all carbohydrates you can get concentration problems and feel exhausted. In addition, carbohydrates give your serotin level, the feel-good hormone, a boost. If you ban all fats, your digestion and blood sugar levels will be disrupted and you may experience mood swings .
What you eat has an impact on your neurotransmitters, hormones and blood sugar, all factors that influence your stress level. An ‘anti-stress diet’ is not really a diet – in the sense of eating different or less to lose weight – but a diet with healthy foods that give your body & mind a boost in stressful periods.
These five important nutrients help you to control your stress level.
B vitamins release energy from food and help your brain function optimally. For example, vitamin B1 helps keep your blood sugar level balanced and vitamin B3 plays a major role in your serotine balance. Vitamin B5, vitamin B12 and folic acid help to reduce stress. Go for dishes with asparagus, leafy vegetables, broccoli, eggs, cheese, organ meats, sunflower seeds and legumes.
Unsaturated fats in oily fish such as sardines, herring, mackerel and salmon help prevent inflammation caused by chronic stress. Vegetarian? Chia, linseed and hemp seeds are good vegetable sources.
Magnesium is also called the anti-stress mineral. Your magnesium reserves decrease quickly during stressful periods. Even when you exercise intensively you lose a lot of magnesium through sweat. A magnesium deficiency makes you more sensitive to stress. It is therefore important to keep your stock up to date. Magnesium is found in leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, whole grain cereals, bananas, avocados, nuts (almonds, cashews and pecans), sunflower and pumpkin seeds, raw cocoa and fatty fish.
Zinc helps you to recover if your immune system has been hit by stress. Put shellfish, beef and spinach on the menu more often. Zinc is also found in pumpkin seeds, cashews and raw cocoa.
Together with calcium, vitamin D ensures strong bones. Furthermore, vitamin D influences muscle function, it strengthens your immune system and it influences the functioning of your brain. Sunlight is the most important source of vitamin D. The body can produce vitamin D itself under the influence of sunlight in the skin. The advice is to go outside for a quarter of an hour every day between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., it is important that your head and hands are uncovered. But you also get vitamin D by eating fatty fish and eggs.