6 foods that add to your stress levels and its healthy swaps
The coronavirus pandemic has increased our stress levels. Though some stress is good as it pushes us to perform better and make the right choice. But too much stress can be bad for our health. Chronic stress can increase inflammation in our body, mess with our mood, sleep, eating habits and overall well being. Did you know what you eat can play a major role in how you feel? While stressing too much about what you eat won’t help, simply swapping some foods can greatly help. Here are some simple food swaps that will make you feel calmer.
Choose oatmeal over white bread
Not all carbs are bad for you. In fact, carbs are good for your body and brain and are needed by the body just like any other nutrient. Carbs help us make the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. But not all carbs are created equal. Thus, one must choose wisely. Whole grains (like oatmeal) have fibre that is digested slowly and thus does not lead to sugar spike, unlike simple carbs.
Choose salmon instead of sausage
It’s important to choose the right protein for your overall health and to keep your stress levels in check. Salmon contains omega-3 fats, which helps reduce anxiety, as per research. Processed meats like sausages have preservatives and too much sodium, which can increase your blood pressure. Reduce your consumption of processed meat and have fish twice a week to manage your stress levels.
Choose nuts over a granola bar
The packaged granola bar in the market is full of sugar. On the other hand, nuts have healthy fibre, fat and protein, which means you won’t feel hungry too soon. Nuts are also rich in B vitamins, which get depleted when one is stressed. Potassium in nuts helps in keeping your blood pressure in range.
Choose dark chocolate over candies
Most of us keep some candies on our work desks and in our bedside drawers. We reach out for these sugary candies when we are stressed, but this can backfire due to the blood sugar swing caused by sugar. As per studies, dark chocolate helps reduce stress and thus is a perfect swap for those gummy sugary candies. Choose the chocolate with 70 per cent cocoa.
Choose herbal tea over wine
Many people get into the habit of daily drinking only because they feel it helps them relieve stress. Though yes, alcohol may temporarily relieve some stress, it should not become a habit. Alcohol is actually a depressant that can increase anxiety. Choose herbal tea over alcohol. It has been observed that tea drinkers have a lower level of cortisol, the stress hormone. Herbal teas are caffeine-free. Caffeine can trigger anxiety and interfere with sleep. So, a cup of herbal tea might not look as great as a glass of wine but it surely will make you feel better if you are stressed.
Choose yoghurt over cheese
Yoghurt is a better choice than cheese as it is rich in probiotics and good for your gut bacteria. You will be surprised to know that 50 per cent of the dopamine and 95 per cent of the serotonin (mood-boosting chemicals) are produced in your gut. Other common sources of probiotics include kimchi, kombucha and kimchi.