Mitigating Stress: How Food Can Reduce Your Stress

Everyday stress can easily pile up, but today’s circumstances have made it much easier to feel more overwhelmed than ever. In fact, studies reveal that 88% of Americans are stressed out due to the uncertainty clouding over us.

Even though stress is a normal part of life, we owe it to ourselves to learn how to combat it — and one of the best ways to do this is to eat right. Though many people know that stress causes you to eat more and in unhealthy ways, it’s possible to reverse this and use healthy food to reduce stress. To help you eat right amidst these stressful times, here’s what you need to know:

The Best Nutrients to Beat Stress

Food serves as a source of nourishment. And leaning on this fact will help you identify which ones can help increase and decrease your stress levels. Case in point: Our post on how to ‘Boost Your Mental Health With Fruits And Vegetables’ notes that probiotics (otherwise known as ‘good bacteria’) positively influences your mental outlook, while soothing your anxiety.

Vitamin C is also a great stress-reliever, as it helps reduce levels of cortisol (a major stress hormone) and lower your blood pressure. Another helpful nutrient is omega-3 fatty acids because they can help relieve stress symptoms. Plus, Dr. David Mischoulon writes on Harvard Health that its anti-inflammatory properties can even help alleviate depression. Overall, knowing the right nutrients will help you build a strong foundation for healthy eating against stress.

That said, here are some food sources that you should consider incorporating into your diet to help fight stress:

Probiotics
• Lentils
• Banana
• Oats
• Asparagus

Vitamin C
• Sweet potatoes
• Broccoli
• Guava
• Citrus fruits

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
• Salmon
• Walnuts
• Flax-seed
• Soybeans

Essential Eating Habits to Beat Stress

A successful diet to combat stress isn’t complete without proper eating habits. Practicing these everyday will help you stay on the right track with your diet and stress.

Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating calls you to be in the moment when you eat — from paying attention to your food, to acknowledging your physical and emotional sensations. It’s all the more important to practice mindful eating today, when most people are working from home and the lines between work and your personal life can be easily blurred. Resilience coach L. Barbour told Marcus that it’s important to focus exclusively on eating during lunchtime, instead of looking at your phone or trying to multitask. This way, you can truly enjoy your food and be more careful about the dietary choices you make. After all, it’s very easy to subsist on coffee and beef jerky if you’re stuck to a screen all the time! Remember that what and how you eat can affect your mood and cognitive performance, so be sure to give yourself time to thoroughly enjoy your meals.

Don’t Skip Meals

As we’ve mentioned, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life — especially during this point in time. And trying to keep up with everything makes it much easier for you to skip meals. Unfortunately, ignoring your meals can result in even higher levels of stress. Psychiatrist Steven Gans explains on Very Well Mind that your blood sugar levels start to drop when you miss out on a meal. This, in turn, causes you to become irritable and tense, while also heightening your anxiety. To this end, it’s essential to follow a healthy eating schedule. If you’re not feeling too hungry during a certain mealtime, you can opt for a filling snack like a protein bar or a green smoothie.

Cook for Yourself

While ordering in from food delivery services may seem like a convenient option, it’s better to use the time you have on your hands by cooking your own meals. Cooking can do wonders for your stress levels as it helps you get in tune with your senses — from therapeutic techniques like stirring and rhythmic chopping, to smelling the aroma of your ingredients. Not to mention, there’s a special sense of accomplishment after preparing your own meals. If you’re pressed for time on weekdays, a good practice is to meal prep during the weekends.

 

Words by Mona Presson
Written exclusively for nutrifusion.com

America’s Snacking Habits Continue to Grow

Snacking is a favorite American activity, but many today are willing to sacrifice some things to get their snack products. Moonstruck Chocolate Co. contracted OnePoll to conduct a poll and found out some interesting facts:

  • Americans spend about $9 a week for snacking habits, spending an average of about $479 annually, and a lifetime total of more than $28,000 throughout their lives for snacks.
  • About 18% of Americans would stop using their mobile or electronic gadgets for a month for a chance at getting a lifetime snack supply.
  • One-sixth of all Americans would have their heads completely shaved to have that snack supply.

Examining Favorite Snacks, Snack Combinations, and Food Preferences

The OnePoll research also focused on all portions of the market and industry facts for Moonstruck. The details found were:

  • Around 37% of poll respondents wanted to snack on sweet items.
  • 34% of these same respondents preferred their snacks salty.
  • All respondent snackers had a common ground in potato chips.
  • 84% of salty snackers preferred potato chips as a staple.
  • 80% of sweet snackers preferred chips as stable snacks.

Here are further facts:

  • The snackers all voted for having chocolate combined with snack goodies.
  • Many were willing to experiment with unique, non-traditional taste and ingredient combinations, pizza and chocolate, like an apple pie with cheddar, and strawberries paired with balsamic vinegar.
  • 40% preferred pairing chocolate with caramel.
  • 39% preferred having nuts combined with chocolate.

Most preferred general pairings of non-snack foods, in order of preference, included:

  • Eggs with bacon at a whopping 58%
  • Potatoes with steak
  • Dip with chips
  • Syrup and pancakes
  • Cheese with wine

What Other Food Companies or Researchers Found?

  1. Campbell

One company has found substantial evidence of how Americans are more dedicated to their snacking. The Campbell Soup Co. reports in the Wall Street Journal that in the last quarter of 2019, their sales reflected more of their snack products sold than their flagship food brands.

Soup sales declined 3% in the first quarter of 2019, as its snack products increased sales by 2% from the previous year. Campbell is currently planning to capitalize on American snacking habits while bolstering its traditional soup products with more investments.

  1. Innova

The competition is ramping up for the American snacking dollar. This is based on the findings of the research firm Innova Market Insights. They report that Americans have developed the habit of snacking all day at any given hour. Other interesting facts from Innova:

  • A lot more consumers prefer quicker bites than traditional meals.
  • 37% of consumers prefer salty snacks during the evening.
  • 46% want their salty snacks in the afternoon.
  • 17% replaced their dinner with salty snacks.
  • 23% ate said snacks for lunch.
  • 8% want these snacks instead of breakfast foods.

The Word is Out on American Snacking Habits

What all the facts enumerated in this article simply mean that snacks are either getting tastier, are more nutritious, can replace meals or a combination of all three factors. Major studies must be conducted to determine whether the poll and research results referenced are right, but most other signs support them.

Inspired by foodinstitute.com

Recent Studies Point to 28 Disturbing Facts About Drinking Soda

It is a well-known fact, now, that soda may taste good—but it does not contain any health benefit at all. After all the research linking soda to health issues, here are some of the compiled facts that are very disturbing to know—especially at some point in our life we have gulped that drink.

  1. As fast as two weeks, soda can have adverse effects on health by increasing your cardiovascular disease risk.

  2. Laden with sugar, just a 20-ounce soda contains 16 tablespoons or 1 cup of sugar in it. Think of your venti sized coffee cup filled with a cup of sugar.

  3. Can speed up the beginning of menses in pre-puberty girls by as much as 3-months earlier than those who do not have a drink of soda a day.

  4. It can lead to cognitive decline, as shown by a study where two or more sugary drink consumption was connected to lower brain volume and a bad memory.

  5. May diminish lifespan as shown by the American Heart Association statistics that reported 180,000 deaths linked to sugary drinks.

  6. The tendency to have gout is increased wherein men who consume as much as six soda servings weekly increase their risk by 85%.

  7. Increases your appetite.

  8. Increases your visceral fat—the fat that surrounds your organs.

  9. Triggers unhealthy eating with poor choices like ice cream cookies and other nutrient-poor options.

  10. Weakens your muscles since drinking few liters of soda a day affects potassium levels that can lead to reduced muscle functioning.

  11. Packs a lot of calories—we all know this already!

  12. Makes YOU fatter because of all the empty calories and high sugar count.

  13. It makes your heart unhealthy because of increasing your triglyceride levels in the blood.

  14. It can cause childhood obesity, especially when sweetened fruit juices and soda are freely accessible to them.

  15. Its caloric count is high, a measly 12-oz can of soda packs 140 calories, and if you drink three glasses, that’s equal to a meal already in terms of calories!

  16. The citric acid in soda can erode and decay teeth enamel.

  17. Greater incidence of high blood pressure is seen in people who drink soda or sugary drinks.

  18. Drinking soda is associated with lowered fertility, as seen in a study of 5,000 couples.

  19. It contains toxic chemicals like 4-MEI, which may increase your risk of cancer.

  20. Promotes belly fat by as much as 3-inches than those who don’t consume sodas at all.

  21. With its high sugar content, diabetes is not far off in your future.

  22. Sugar dependency is a possibility due to the emotional response that sugar can give.

  23. Unhealthy to your kidneys and continued consumption may reduce your kidney function.

  24. May hasten aging like wrinkles and breakouts.

  25. The risk of pancreatic cancer is increased due to its high sugar levels.

  26. Bad cholesterol is increased, which is another factor for heart diseases.

  27. Those who drink at least two sodas a day are twice likely to have lung problems.

  28. Weakens bones.