None of us are strangers to feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. When we feel like our schedules are getting the better of us or we’re exhausted at the end of a long day, driving through for an order of fries and a Coke seems like the perfect solution. While it feels great to indulge in fast food for a moment, it can actually end up making us feel even more tired and sluggish. Below are some foods to avoid during times of heightened stress.
1. Packaged and sugary foods give you quick blood sugar highs and lows, which end up making us feel more tired as the day goes on.
2. Large amounts of alcohol or caffeine cause dehydration and decrease the quality of sleep.
3. Refined vegetable oils can increase inflammation and cause poor indigestion, taking away vital energy.
Just as food can make us lethargic, fueling our bodies with proper nutrition can help improve energy and focus in times of stress. Below are some nutrients and associated foods that can help on those hectic, never-ending days.
1. Foods high in B vitamins assist the body in converting nutrients to energy. Some good foods include eggs, wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, and green leafy vegetables.
2. Foods high in calcium and magnesium act as electrolytes, help improve sleep, and relax muscles. Some foods to try include unsweetened organic yogurt, beans and legumes, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli.
3. High protein foods actually help our brain function more efficiently! Some foods to consider are organic chicken breast, goat cheese, almonds, and hemp seeds.
4. Omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce inflammation and are great for your heart’s health. Some foods high in healthy fats include salmon, avocados, and even olive and coconut oil.
Finding quick, healthy, affordable recipes can be a huge challenge. Check out this website for some great suggestions: https://draxe.com/recipes-search/#results
If you are currently struggling with stress and you are in the Chicagoland area, please feel free to contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000.
Written by Kathryn
2021 Graduate Intern