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Superfoods to keep stress at bay!

12 October, 2012

ISLAMABAD: In this hectic schedule and busy lifestyle of the present day, most of us have become victims of stress due to various reasons.

Chronic stress not only affects your physical and mental health, but it also makes you feel miserable and blue. Stress is accompanied with increased cellular activity and poor digestion, leading to lack of nutrients in the body. However, a diet rich in nutrients can help fight off stress.

So, if you want to stay happy and fit, go for a diet loaded with anti-oxidant and minerals, since it is the best way to stave off pressure and anxiety. Dieticians suggest that consuming these food items in small portions say, five to six times a day will help in combating stress.

Here's a list of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins, minerals and flavonoids, which are effective in fighting stress:

Oatmeal breakfast: Including oats in your breakfast is a good option for fighting stress. Oatmeal provides carbohydrates which help to produce serotonin, a calming hormone that helps fight anxiety's negative effects. It has plenty of fiber to keep you full and satisfied. Studies show that oatmeal also reduces cholesterol, maintains blood sugar levels and fights against heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and obesity.

Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate is a rich source of flavonoids, which are lauded for their relaxing properties. Chocolate also contains phenethylamine, a chemical that improves your mood. So, you should look for bars that are 70 percent cacoa or higher as the darker the chocolate, the more healthy substances you're getting in your diet.

Avoid coffee: Drink water, herbal teas and fresh fruit juices instead of sipping on coffee, tea, fizzy drinks and cola which can overly stimulate the body.

Fruits: Fresh or dried fruits like apricots, dates and figs are a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals as they can help stabilize your system. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds, nuts (particularly walnuts) are also good source of anti-stress foods. Antioxidants in blueberries thwart the effects of stress hormones like cortisol on your body.

Green vegetables: Eating lots of dark green vegetables are probably your best source to fight stress. Studies show that greens leafy stuff like spinach contain magnesium which improves your body's response to stress.

Milk: Milk is a rich source of calcium and contains minerals - magnesium and potassium, which help in fighting stress.

Fish: Fish like salmon has abundant omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids can help reverse stress symptoms by enhancing serotonin levels (Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter, popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness). An omega-3–rich diet can also help restrain the production of the anxiety hormones cortisol and adrenaline.

Eggs: Eggs help in fighting against stress as they contain pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid is sometimes called the "anti-stress" vitamin because it supports the adrenal glands, which produce hormones that help the body respond to stress.

To stay happy and content in life, health experts also recommend moderate work out or meditation besides taking healthy balanced and anti-stress diets.


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