Stress was an alien term to mankind before the 19th century – thanks to rapid globalization, the rise of corporate culture, and junk food culture. Stress is your body’s response to change for which it needs adjustment. Depending upon the nature of the change, the body’s response could be physical, mental, or emotional.
It may surprise you, but stress is a normal part of life as anything could trigger signs of anxiety. If handled effectively, stress can be useful as it can motivate you to achieve a challenging task. However, if it is affecting your mental health and becomes long-term, it can impact your family, work, and social life.
Causes of Stress
The triggering factor for stress could be different for different people. The surveys validate that work-related stress tops the list. Here are the major causes of stress:
• Work stress – long working hours, bullying, and discrimination, etc.
• Financial problems – loan repayments, debt management, and household expenses, etc.
• Relationships – domestic issues, divorce, and complicated relations, etc.
• Death of someone beloved – the death of parents, spouse, or siblings.
• Trauma – due to any personal reason, including violence, bullying, and rape, etc.
• Emotional issues – anxiety, grief, guilt, and depression, etc.
Common Symptoms of Stress
There are multiple signs and symptoms; however, below are some of the most common and widely experience signs and symptoms:
-Headaches and migraines
-Fatigue and muscle tension
-Weight gain or loss
Best Diet for Stress Management
Food plays a crucial role in stress management. Specific food preferences boost levels of serotonin, a vital chemical that calms your brain. Similarly, a healthy diet also helps in reducing the levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which are known to be stress hormones. A balanced healthy diet improves the immune system and keeps your blood pressure under control.
Foods to Eat for Stress Relief
Thankfully, we can keep our stress levels under control by including the following food choices in our diet plan.
The carbohydrates stimulate our brain to develop serotonin. The inclusion of complex carbohydrates will lead to a constant supply of the chemical for our brain. The complex carbohydrates take longer to digest; hence, they are good to stabilize blood sugar levels too. You can include whole-grain bread, sweet potatoes, and sautéed vegetables in your diet plan.
Fruits and Greens
The antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables boost our immune system. The citrus fruits have an abundance of vitamin C that suppresses the level of stress hormones. Similarly, leafy green vegetables contain magnesium that fights off headaches and fatigue. Potassium-rich fruits like banana contain mood improving chemical dopamine that helps during stressful situations.
Nuts and Seeds
Stress runs you down, but nuts and seeds help. Nuts are an amazing source of healthy fats, they ward off unhealthy cravings, and they help lower the blood pressure. A balanced intake of nuts like pistachios, almonds, and walnuts will provide a stress-free life.
Foods to Avoid When Stressed
All food options are not safe, especially when stressed. Therefore, one must avoid the following food choices as much as possible during high-stress times.
Fat Saturated Foods
The food options that include animal products, such as meat, poultry, milk, cheese, etc. are not good for health and stress management. These food items cause blood thickness due to which you can experience headaches and blurred vision. Moreover, high-fat foods are the primary reason for cardiovascular diseases.
Food with Refined Sugar
The desserts are often deemed to be the comfort food during stress, and the quantity of refined sugar found in foods like cakes, cookies, candies, and ice cream shoots the blood sugar levels. This increase in the blood sugar level is followed by an immediate drop, also described as the crash. It happens because sugar is a simple carbohydrate that enters and leaves the bloodstream rapidly. High-level of sugar intake is often associated with a higher risk of depression as well.
People going through a stressed phase in their lives turn to alcohol consumption to deal with the situation. Alcohol consumption is the unhealthiest way of dealing with distress as it contributes to multiple chronic diseases. Moreover, once you become dependent on this notorious habit, it becomes difficult to deal with any difficult situation without it. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to abstain from drinking while stressed.
Work-related stress is linked with a caffeine addiction. People dealing with workload pressures usually increase their caffeine intake in the form of coffee, tea, and other similar drinks. The intensified quantity of caffeine leads to sleep deprivation that results in increased distress levels.