Have you ever wondered why so many people are on medication for stress? What is it that is so different about now than 30 years ago?
One of the major differences in our lives is the food in which we eat. Most Americans do not eat a healthy diet and more than a fair share are overweight. Many doctors believe that stress and the onslaught of people suffering from depression is due to a vitamin deficiency. The stress that many of us suffer from today may be the result of simply not eating a healthy diet.
We all know that proper nutrition is essential for a healthy body, but what about a healthy mind? We are hearing more about good nutrition for mental health as well as physical health.
Certain foods are natural mood enhancers. These include:
Dairy products. Dairy is usually high in protein and can improve a physical response to stress. You can take dairy in milk or cheese and expect less physical problems due to stress as well as enjoying a lighter mood.
Fish. Fish that is rich in fatty acids, such as salmon, is good for the body as well as the mind. We all know that fish is considered “brain food,” but fish that is high in Omega-3 fatty acids is a natural way to treat depression. There are studies that indicate that people who suffer from depression related to stress have low levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in their body.
Strawberries. These can keep your blood sugar levels stable, which can be another cause of stress. Strawberries are a natural way to stabilize your mood and are a lot tastier than any SSRI medications.
Spinach. Folic acid is essential to good health and spinach is high in this B vitamin. Studies have also indicated that people who have low levels of folic acid are more prone to depression. Folic acid increases serotonin naturally, which is exactly the way that medications to treat depression work on the brain.
Turkey. Another food that boosts the serotonin. Turkey contains Tryptophan, an amino acid that can actually make you calm. Remember how sleepy you felt after eating Thanksgiving dinner last year? That was from the Tryptophan, a natural tranquilizer.
Brazil Nuts. These contain selenium, which is another mood enhancer, however, too much of this can prove toxic for your system so eat these nuts sparingly, but include them in your diet.
Complex carbohydrates. These also contain tryptophan and, although we have been warned to “stay away from carbs” these past few years, we need complex carbs, not simple carbs. If you are watching your diet, stay away from simple carbohydrates, such as cakes, cookies and sweets, but eat complex carbs, such as sweet potatoes, that are rich in tryptophan.
Clams, Oysters, Cottage Cheese – all are high in Vitamin B12. Raw clams and oysters have been considered an aphrodisiac for a long time, but cottage cheese is also rich in this vitamin that has been known to enhance your mood and stave off stress.
If you are not getting enough of these foods in your daily diet, consider taking a multi vitamin or a supplement. If you are suffering from stress, chances are that you may be deficient in vitamin B as well as Omega-3 acids.
Eating a proper diet certainly will not hurt you and may actually end up relieving much of your stress.
Exercise is also crucial to relieving stress. As a matter of fact, when you feel stress coming on, the best thing that you can do to stave it off is to exercise. Doing something physical can sometimes really work out the problem that you are having.
Cardio exercises are the best way to work out stress. These get your heart pumping and naturally raise the serotonin in your brain, putting you in a better mood. Stress can be very draining on your physical being and exercise can right the wrong and get your body back into shape. Exercise also boosts the body’s immune system, which also suffers under stress.
Get yourself into an exercise routine. Work out in the morning or after work doing cardio vascular exercises that will give both your mind and body a boost, as well as help control stress. In the evening, you can practice yoga or stretching exercises that can help tone your body as well as relax you.
Don’t want to exercise? Do something physical. Cleaning the kitchen floor will not only relieve your stress, but will also get the floor really clean. Doing something physical such as cleaning, is one of the best stress relievers available. It works better than any pill, costs nothing and, when you are finished, you will have a really clean house.