It sounds like something out of science fiction, but this is no Sci-Fi novel where Zombies eat brains. A recently released Yale University study, says that stress causes the brain to shrink. Houston neuroscientist and author David Eagleman states, “Stress is underpinned by particular hormones that circulate through the body and the brain. Those stress hormones are very bad…They eat away at brain tissue.”
- Complex Carbs: They prompt the brain to make more serotonin. For a steady supply of this feel-good chemical, it’s best to eat complex carbs, which are digested more slowly. Good choices include whole-grain breakfast cereals, breads, and pastas, as well as old-fashioned oatmeal.
- Oranges: These contain a wealth of vitamin C. Studies suggest this vitamin can reduce levels of stress hormones while strengthening the immune system.
- Spinach:One cup goes a long way toward replenishing magnesium stores. Not a spinach eater? Try some cooked soybeans or a filet of salmon, also high in magnesium. Green leafy vegetables are a rich source of this mineral. Too little magnesium may trigger headaches and fatigue, compounding the effects of stress.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon and tuna can prevent surges in stress hormones and protect against heart disease, mood disorders like depression, and premenstrual syndrome.
- Black tea: Too much caffeine, like that in coffee can boost stress hormones and increase blood pressure. Instead of reaching for that third cup, replace it with a cup of black tea. It can help you recover from stressful events more quickly.
- Nuts:A handful of pistachios, walnuts, or almonds every day may help lower your cholesterol, reduce inflammation in the arteries of the heart, lower the risk of diabetes, and protect you against stress.
- Avocado: Half of an avocado has more potassium than a medium-sized banana. In addition, guacamole offers a nutritious alternative when stress has you craving a high-fat treat.
- Carrots or Celery: Munching on hard raw vegetables release a clenched jaw and that can ward off tension.
- Toast with a little jam: Carbs at bedtime can speed the release of serotonin and help you sleep better. Heavy meals before bed can trigger heartburn.
- Calcium:Researchers found that calcium eases anxiety and mood swings. Dietitians recommend a cup of skim or low-fat milk. Almond milk has double the calcium and is low in calories.
- Aerobic exercise: Aim for 30 minutes of exercise three to four times a week. This increases oxygen circulation and produces endorphins—chemicals that make you feel happy.
- Yoga or meditation: It releases other hormones that are the anti-flight-or-flight hormones.
- Stop ruminating: “You keep reliving the situation and get in a vicious cycle that breaks the brain down more,” says Sandi Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth. “Halt that pattern and change the way you see things.”
- Support system: Talk to someone, not necessarily to offer solutions but who just listens.
- Sleep:Eight hours helps restore mental processes so we can handle stress better.
For additional ways to deal with stress visit 30 days, 30 ways to less stress. NOW, which one (s) will you do or are doing? How’s it working for you?