It’s been scientifically proven that what you eat has a direct effect on how you can deal with stress. Straight away, we know what you’re thinking and don’t worry, this isn’t one of those articles telling you what you should and shouldn’t eat. There are already thousands of those elsewhere on the Internet. All this is, are a few pointers about foods you might want to try and include in your lunchbreaks at work to help your body cope with stress.
As a famous sea explorer once said: “I eat me spinach because it keeps me strong (toot toot)” but what many of us didn’t realise was that he was talking about his mental strength. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have said that green leafy vegetables such as spinach contain folate, which helps your body produce dopamine, a chemical from your brain which causes you to feel calm and happy.
As mentioned in a previous article on stress, blueberries, in particular, have high levels of antioxidants such as anthocyanin and dieticians say that they improve cognition and memory. Most berries contain high amounts of vitamin C which are vital when it comes to fighting stress.
Yes, you read correctly, chocolate. Many of you reading this don’t need us to tell you this but chocolate can make you happy. Scientists also say that the cocoa in chocolate causes your blood vessels to loosen up which lowers blood pressure and improves circulation. However, as great as this sounds, eating too much chocolate has an adverse effect and will cause energy spikes, high blood sugar levels and headaches.
Psychologists say that doing something repetitive helps calm anxiety – thus why we pace back and forth when we are worried about something. Pistachios are infamously fiddly and addictive but the repetitive action which it takes to continuously crack open shells has an almost therapeutic effect and will help destress.
Research shows that the oats in the porridge are carbohydrates which can help the brain make serotonin, a substance which some people have to take anti-depressants in order to produce. I know what you’re thinking; “well I can get carbs from a nice big doughnut or pizza roll!”. Which is correct but stress causes a spike in your blood sugar levels, however, oats do not cause this fast release they have consistent energy release so you don’t peak during the working day.
Studies at Loma Linda University have shown that the slow release of energy caused by avocados lasts for hours and make you less likely to have urges to snack on junk food during the day. Just like chocolate, this is a food which should be eaten in moderation.
Everybody knows the benefits of calcium from milk but did you know that fortified milk is a great source of vitamin D? A study which has taken place over 50 years by London’s UCL Institute of Child Health found there were direct links between reduced levels of vitamin D and risk of panic attacks and depression.
This drink is unfairly branded as something which helps you sleep and so many wouldn’t even think of drinking it in the workplace. A study from the University of Pennsylvania has shown that supplements which contained camomile helped treat patients who were diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder.