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Eat to Beat Stress: 5 Foods that Pack a Punch

foods-for-eneryEveryone is born with a danger monitor called the “fight or flight” reflex. It floods the body with adrenalin, which causes everyone to be faster and hardier in either the flight or the fight. It releases hormones into the body that sends signals to the brain that relief is required. The brain then releases back into the body soothing hormones. We can help the brain soothe the stress by buying stock in Rolaids or we can reach for a banana. Food contains nutrients that punch stress in the nose. Here are five foods that pack a punch.

1. Almonds. Serotonin is a soothing hormone sent from the brain to calm the savage breast. Supporting this substance is the mineral magnesium. Magnesium can be found in salmon, oysters, spinach, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, avocado and whole grains such as wheat, oats and quinoa.

2. Fish. Salmon, tuna, sardines, trout in addition to walnuts and some seeds have Omega-3 fatty acids in common. These are brain foods, because the brain and the body’s cells are made of fat. Feed the brain its basic common denominator, and the stress signals won’t even register.

3. Bananas. Hearts need protection from stress, too. Asparagus, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, red wine among other “heart healthy” foods produce phytonutrients. These repair and keep healthy the cells of the heart. A healthy heart punches stress in the nose.

4. Broccoli. Nerves carry signals to the brain along the nervous system. Keeping it healthy means stress can’t rattle its cage. Vitamin B12 keeps the nerves in good shape and can be found in green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and fish.

5. Oranges. Sixty percent of the body’s immune fighting system lies in the intestinal tract. The immune system fights off intruders and diseases as well as contributing to aging gracefully. Stress suppresses the immune system. To fight that, eat foods like mushrooms, garlic, oatmeal, yogurt and beef. These provide zinc, selenium and vitamins A, B2, B6, C, D and E. All are needed for a healthy immune system.

The idea of foods combatting illnesses and diseases is as old as time. Earlier peoples have eaten natural foods without processed ingredients and have been perfectly healthy. The mind-body-spirit connection was nurtured through nature. The moral of the story is to eat an apple or a potato to prevent the fight or flight reflex from causing damage to the body’s major systems.

About Wayne Larsen

Wayne holds a Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sports Science from the University of Utah. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is also a Certified Coach of the American Sports Education Program (ASEP) and is CPR, AED certified. You can connect with Wayne on Google + View all posts by Wayne Larsen →
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