From time to time, we all experience stress, and that is perfectly normal. Chronic stress, on the other hand, is not. When stress goes on for weeks and months, it may affect all of the body’s processes, especially the adrenal glands, which are small organs that sit on top of the kidneys and are responsible for releasing vital hormones.
Cortisol, a stress hormone that regulates energy, decreases inflammation, and controls blood pressure and blood sugar, is one of them. It also regulates the sleep/wake cycle, increasing in the morning when you need to wake up and decreasing at night when you need to sleep.
Your adrenal glands may not be able to keep up and generate the required hormones to help you cope if you’re always tense and anxious. As a result, adrenal weakness develops, causing symptoms such as nervousness, insomnia, body aches, and depression.
Luckily, your diet can play a large part in helping you manage your stress levels. In general, a diet free of sugar, caffeine, processed grains, and alcohol is considered stress-relieving. Let us explore some food items that are great for stress-relieving and nourishing for your mind and body.
L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, aids in the development of relaxing neurotransmitters. Although it contains caffeine, evidence shows that L-theanine counteracts the stimulant impact of caffeine. L-theanine also stimulates alpha-brain wave activation, which coincides with a sense of calm, according to research.
Another type of tea, Rooibos tea, made from the leaves of the African red bush, has a cortisol-balancing influence. It’s also caffeine-free. Many studies have shown that chamomile (which is also caffeine-free) can help with anxiety, stress, and sleep. Antioxidants are also present in all three, which help to prevent inflammation.
2. Red Pepper
Red peppers are known to be high in vitamin C, which supports adrenal function and keeps cortisol levels in check. Vitamin C increased the adrenals’ capacity to respond to surgical stress and normalized cortisol levels in several trials. Vitamin C has also been shown to relieve anxiety, stress, and increase mood in other studies. So, cut up some red peppers and add them to your pasta or fried rice for dinner tonight!
3. Sunflower seeds
High in protein and B vitamins, Sunflower seeds help to maintain the health of the adrenal glands and improve the body’s stress response.
Specifically, Thiamine (vitamin B) has been shown in studies to shield the adrenal glands from fatigue and to reduce the body’s response to cortisol. Pantothenic acid (vitamin B) can help to balance cortisol and improve adrenal function, and deficiency has been related to poor adrenal function. Niacin (vitamin B) aids in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin and promotes restful sleep. Pyridoxine (vitamin B) is needed for the synthesis of GABA, serotonin, and other stress-relieving neurotransmitters.
Sunflower seeds are also high in zinc, which has mood-regulating properties.
Eat your stress away (healthily)
So, the next time you are feeling anxious or stressed out over work, instead of reaching for candy, try one of these food items to keep your stress at bay! You can also get some stress relief by exercising.