Lots of things can lead to stress, but how you take care of yourself when you're feeling frazzled plays a big role in how you handle it. In addition to things like yoga, aromatherapy, a warm bath or a night out with the girls, there are some nutrients that can help you get a grip on your stress levels and get you through anything with your sanity intact. Start filling up on these vitamins and minerals and you should notice a big difference.
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When you eat protein rich foods, you help your body produce serotonin, which helps you feel happy and relaxed. Most people get some amount of protein on a daily basis, but if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you may need to boost your intake a bit. Turkey breast is an ideal source of protein, but fish, chicken, beef, beans, cheese, eggs and nuts are other good options.
Antioxidants are found in many plant foods and their primary role is to help fight free radical damage in your body and optimize your immune system so that you can fight off illnesses and diseases from the common cold to heart disease to cancer. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are great sources of antioxidants so try adding blueberries, cantaloupe, carrots, squash and kiwis to your meal plan.
Folate, which is also known as folic acid, is a B vitamin that helps optimize the production of the hormone dopamine, which helps boost mood. When you have good levels of dopamine, you naturally feel more calm than when you are deficient. In addition, some research shows that increasing your intake of folate can help battle depression. Leafy green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, are a wonderful way to get more folic acid in your diet.
4 Omega-3 Fatty Acids
This nutrient has anti-inflammatory properties that can battle the stress hormones that your body produces when things aren't going your way. In fact, studies show that people who increase their omega-3 intake reduce anxiety and stress by up to 20 percent. Salmon is a prime source of omega-3s, but they can also be found in flaxseed, walnuts, tuna and olive oil.
5 Complex Carbohydrates
New research finds that a super low-carb diet isn't a healthy choice. Your body needs some carbs just to function and the complex kind helps boost serotonin production and helps control your blood sugar so that a spike doesn't lead to that stressed out feeling you hate so much. Good sources of complex carbohydrates include oatmeal, brown rice, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Probiotics can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods. Research shows that women who get plenty of probiotics on a regular basis are better able to control gastrointestinal problems that can lead to stress. Yogurt is also a good source of protein, which helps battle stress on another level.
7 Vitamin D
Many people are low in their levels of vitamin D and that could be leading to high stress levels. Studies show that people with a deficiency in vitamin D are more prone to stress, anxiety and depression. Your best source of the nutrient is fortified milk, but it can also be found in egg yolks, salmon and fortified cereal.
Are you lacking in any of these nutrients? What are you going to eat more of?
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