Thursday, June 2, 2011

Eat to be Stress-Free

Lake Desoto Farmers' Market, Lake City, FL
Stress can take a toll on your body, your mind and your life. Insomnia, hypertension, headaches, fatigue, and stomach pains are clues that you are under too much stress. Chronic stress can lead to more serious mental disorders such as anxiety and depression as well as physical illness.

A 2010 study by the American Psychological Association found that twenty-nine percent of obese adults reported they experience a great deal of stress. Obese adults are highly likely to report poor eating habits as a result of their stress.

Healthy eating can help combat stress.  A healthy diet should include lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish and poultry, and low-glycemic (or complex) carbohydrates.  When eating to combat stress, stay away from trans fats, typically found in cakes, margarine and fried foods, salts and added sugars, like those found in sodas and breakfast cereals just to mention a few. 

Low-glycemic carbohydrates are great for combating stress because they release serotonin, a “feel good” chemical in the brain. These are found in leafy, green vegetables as well as whole grain foods. Vitamin C, found in broccoli, green bell pepper, strawberries, kiwis and oranges, also plays a role in combating stress, giving your immune system a boot and helping relieve fatigue.  

When making a decision to incorporate healthier eating habits, consider choosing fresh foods first (then frozen or canned).  Local farmers’ markets or locally owned super markets and produce stands tend to have the freshest in-season items, as well as fresh meats.  There is also a considerable cost savings available when shopping locally.

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