Stressful events cause our cortisol levels to rise. Cortisol causes food cravings, and in women those cravings tend to be strongest for carbs, especially sweet foods, according to researchers at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Centre.

The more of them we eat, the worse our mood gets. As if that isn’t bad enough, the cortisol then makes more trouble for us, triggering an enzyme in our fat cells. Since our visceral fat cells (the ones in our abdomen, packed around our vital organs) have more of these enzymes than the subcutaneous fat cells, stress causes many women to accumulate more belly fat. The more stress, the more this abdominal, or central obesity occurs. Some research has found that these belly fat cells, which have been linked to a greater risk for heart disease and diabetes, have four times as many cortisol receptors as regular fat cells.

Hence, the calming food mentioned here does not mean comfort foods. It means meals and snacks that will truly soothe and clam you. Whether it’s because of the specific nutrients they provide or the steady, reliable source of energy they give you, they will get you through the day feeling focused and balanced, so you will have the ability to conquer anything

 

Asparagus

These slender stalks are known to make your urine smell funny, but they are high in folate, which is essential for keeping your cool. I like them steamed, then added to salads. I also love them broiled until crisp. Go ahead and eat as many as you’d like. Enjoy them in new ways with these recipes. http://www.prevention.com/food/cook/8-awesome-asparagus-recipes

Avocado

These creamy fruits stress-proof your body. Rich in glutathione, a substance that specifically blocks intestinal absorption of certain fats that cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain lutein, beta-carotene, vitamin E and more folate than any other fruit. A single serving has plenty of Vitamin B too. This is not only a fruit, but it can also be considered a fat, so use portion control.

Berries

Blueberries have some of the highest levels of an antioxidant as anthocyanin, and they have been linked to all kinds of positive health outcomes, including sharper cognition. But all berries, including strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are rich in Vitamin C which has been shown to be helpful in combating stress. German researchers tested this by asking 120 people to give a speech, then do hard math problems. Those who had been given Vitamin C had lower blood pressure and lower levels of cortisol after the stressfest. Substitute berries for any other fruits on the plan whenever you want. I like to nibble on them frozen too.

Cashews

Nuts make great snacks because they are crunchy and a little salty, they cure many cravings. For those trying to lose weight, they are such potently satisfying combo of protein and fat that it’s hard for me not to recommend them for every single meal. Cashews are an especially good source of zinc. Low levels of zinc have been linked to both anxiety and depression. Since our bodies have now ay ot storing zinc, it is important to get some every day.

Chamomile Tea

This is probably one of the most recommended bedtime soothers around. Especially now when there are more evidences to prove its calming effect. A study from the University of Pennsylvania tested chamomile supplements on 57 participants with generalized anxiety disorder for 8 weeks and found that it led to a significant drop in anxiety symptoms. Just pour a cup of boiling water over 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of the dried flowers and steep for 10 minutes. Try having a cup every night: Turn off the TV, the computer and your phone, then settle down for a peaceful end to the day.

Chocolate

Besides healthy antioxidants in this treat, which push chocolate to the top of the most heart healthy food lists, it has undeniable link to mood. A recent study form the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine reports that both women and men eat more chocolate as depressive symptoms increase. Of course, we’ve all been there, polishing off an entire pack of chocolate after a bad day. But there’s evidence to show that chocolate actually does make you feel better. Dark chocolate in particular, is known to lower blood pressure, adding to a feeling of calm. It contains more polyphenols and flavonols – 1 important types of antioxidants. You can safely allow yourself dark chocolate as a snack once a week, or as a conscious indulgence, and still stay on track with your weight loss results.

Garlic

Like many plants, garlic is jam-packed with powerful antioxidants. These chemicals neutralize free radicals (particles that damage our cells, cause diseases and encourage aging) and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage the free radicals cause over time. Among the compounds in garlic is allicin, which has been linked to fending off heart disease, cancer and even common cold. Because stress weakens our immune system, we need friends like garlic, which can toughen it back up. As long as you saute it in broth, not oil, you can add it liberally to all the meals on the plan.

Grass-fed beef

Grass-fed beef is not only better for the planet, it is also better for people. It has more antioxidants including Vitamin C and E and beta-carotene than grain-fed beef, and doesn’t have added hormones, antibiotics or other drugs. And while it is lower in fat overall, it’s about 2-4 times higher omega-3. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that healthy volunteers who ate grass-fed meat increased their blood levels of omega-3of fatty acids and decreased their levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. These changes have been linked with a lower risk of a host of disorder, including cancer, cardiovascular disease. Grass-fed beef is pricey but well worth the ocassional splurge.

Green Tea

While it does contain caffeine, green tea also has an amino acid called theanine. Researchers at the University of Illinois say that in addition to protecting against some types of cancer, this sliming food is a brain booster as well, enhancing mental performance. Drink two cups each day.

Oatmeal

A complex carbohydrate, oatmeal causes your brain to produce serotonin, a feel-good chemical. Not only does it have antioxidant properties, it also creates a soothing feeling that helps overcome stress. Studies have shown that kids who eat oatmeal for breakfast stay sharper throughout the morning. And beta-glucan, the type pf soluble fiber found in oatmeal, has been shown to promote greater satiety scores than other whole grains. Make a batch of the steel-cut variety on the weekend, store it in the fridge and microwave it on busy mornings. It keeps beautifully and in fact, that’s how restaurants often prepare it.

Oranges

Another Vitamin C powerhouse, oranges have the added benefit of being totally portable. Simply keep them in your bag or purse. Experiment with all the varieties – clementine, tangelos, Mineola.

Oysters

Oysters are not only good as aphrodisiacs, but they are also a recommended food to fight stress. They are the Godzilla of zinc: Six oysters, which is what you would typically be served in a restaurant as an appetizer, have more than half the RDO for this important mineral. I think they are best served on ice with nothing but a lemon wedge.

Walnuts

This sweet flavour of walnuts is so pleasant, and it’s nice to know that they have been proven to provide a bit of a cognitive edge. They contain alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid, and other polyphenols that have been shown to help prevent memory loss. Researches at Tufts University found that animals that ingested walnuts even reversed some signs of brain aging.

Referenced from: http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/13-healthy-foods-reduce-stress-and-depression?s=14

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