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by Angela Aladjem RD, LDEveryone has periods where they are feeling a little, “blah.” There are plenty of ways that people choose to deal with stress, sometimes good and sometimes bad. The first step in easing your stress is to try and pinpoint your stressors, and see if you can make lifestyle changes to help keep the “stress” under control. The second step is to try certain different techniques to help ease the stresses you can’t control or help your body better deal with the negative energy. Some of the obvious choices include exercising regularly, taking more "you" time, or getting more sleep. One of the things people don’t often think about changing up is their diet. Foods and beverages can be a tool to ease or increase stress in the body. No, I am not talking about sitting down with a pint of ice cream and a movie. Let’s take a look at some examples.
Down in the dumps?
Try some toast and honey (or popcorn, toast with jam). If you are feeling sad, try a light carb snack that doesn’t have any protein or fat with it. The protein and the fat inhibit your body from making serotonin, which boosts your mood. So as good as a candy bar might sound, it isn’t really going to help pick you up because of the fat content.
Up all night?
No sleep can just further contribute to a stressed out feeling. It can make you feel lethargic or confused during the day. There are a couple of things you can change here. First, you may want to look at how much caffeine you are consuming. Watch teas, coffee, sodas, or energy drinks (even ones that claim to be all-natural). A little in the AM is okay, but taking in caffeine all day long can make you nervous and keep you up at night. Also, it seems like a little wine or a mixed drink at night may help put you to sleep, but really, the drink will only cause disrupted sleep. After making these changes, if you still aren’t sleeping, try eating a lighter dinner, since heavy meals closer to bed tend to disrupt your body from being able to turn off at night. A light snack, however, is okay and can contribute to a good nights sleep. Examples include: a cup of warm milk, a banana, or a mini bowl of oatmeal.
If you have been suffering with depression for a while; and have been considering taking or are already taking medications, try adding some fish to your diet. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish (think tuna and salmon) can help ease symptoms of depression. Some studies have shown fish consumed twice weekly to lower the risk of depression and suicide.
In health, Angela
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