3 nutrition tips to combat stress
Have you considered choosing foods to reduce your stress? Unlike the psychological stress that we may have day-to-day, physical stress is a form of inflammation that occurs at a cellular level within the body.
When we exercise, the body experiences stress and inflammation. Food, and more specifically, the nutrients within food, enable and help the body to overcome this inflammation. When we eat a well balanced diet and include foods with anti-inflammatory properties, we improve our bodies ability to recover efficiently.
Nutrients that particularly help with reducing stress and regulating and reducing inflammation include: fats, antioxidants and protein like antioxidants called phytochemicals.
Below are 3 tips to get you started to support your body the best way possible to reduce stress and be inflammation free.
1. Anti-inflammatory Fats
Fats are grouped by their role in the body, and two groups of fats that have anti-inflammatory actions on the body are monounsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats. You can find these anti-inflammatory fats in nuts and seeds, avocado, fish (especially salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel), extra virgin olive oil, chia seeds and flaxseeds).
Meal example: Salad of tinned tuna / salmon (100-200g), with EVOO (add mustard + balsamic vinegar for taste), chia seed (1 tbsp) and avocado (1/4 - 1/2)
A diet rich in fibre helps to support the bacteria living in your gut. This bacteria is able to ferment the fibre into anti-inflammatory products. High fibre foods are all fruits and vegetables, legumes (kidney beans/chickpeas/lentils/black beans etc), all nuts and seeds, and wholegrains (wholemeal bread and wraps, brown rice, any oats, barely and quinoa).
Meal example: Spiced chickpeas (1/3 cup with paprika and cumin), brown rice (1/2 cup), roast sweet potato (50g), tahini dressing (1tbsp mixed with lemon juice & hot water), and spinach.
3. Eat the Rainbow
Eating colour from a vegetable or fruit means you are eating a different antioxidant or nutrient that has anti-inflammatory roles in the body. Antioxidants are used in the body to remove free radicals produced by stress and inflammation whilst phytochemicals are used in anti-inflammatory pathways.
Make your plate look like a rainbow e.g. add cucumber, red capsicum, corn kernels, carrot, avocado, etc. to a salad. Also, try to include different fruits (frozen or fresh) as often as you can each week.
If you would like further information about making good food choices to support your health, come along to our upcoming Stress Workshop, and discover the role nutrition, psychology and exercise has on our stress levels. You can also read our recent blog about what techniques you can use to manage stress.
For individualised support with food recommendations, you can also book in a consultation with our Head Dietitian Tara Davenport, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org