Stress and anxiety can be a friend to us in small doses, or it can be our worst enemy. In these modern times it seems that there is a lot more to be stressed and anxious about. These are really different times from our grandparents and great grandparents. Although much stress is self imposed and has to do with how we perceive things, there is also a strong connection between what we eat and how we feel.
Being low on key nutrients can alter our brain’s biochemistry and neurotransmitter health and function. Proper nutrition can help enhance any techniques or therapies an individual may be going through on their path to healing stress, anxiety and mood, and can help to speed up results. It is an often miss looked piece of the mental health puzzle.
Some foods and nutrients that are important to your emotional health and stress management include:
Our brains are mostly made up of fat. Omega 3 is key for positive mood, anxiety reduction, cognition and memory. It is also as an important factor in immune health and fresh glowing skin. Good sources of this life enhancing fat include, salmon, tuna, herring, walnuts, chia ,flax and hemp seeds.
Good Quality Protein:
Protein is broken down into amino acids in the body, which are important for our neurotransmitter function and our mood. Certain amino acids are responsible for certain moods and brain functions, and amino acid therapy is often used to help heal sadness, anxiety and to manage stress. The key is quality of protein. Sources include:
Consume leaner meats like chicken, turkey or ostrich. Fish is good too. Go for free range organic meat that has been grass fed and not given any unnecessary antibiotics.
Quinoa, nutritional yeast, beans, nuts, seeds, and algae are great sources. Try combining a grain with nuts, seeds or beans to get all essential amino acids. For example, try toast and almond butter, or brown rice with beans and salsa.
Green leafy vegetables
Try chard, kale, or spinach topped with strawberries and feta cheese.
Foods high in Zinc
Zinc is mandatory for so many functions in the body including mood, immune health, and optimal heart and nervous system function. Oysters, wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, cashews, cocoa, chicken, beans and mushrooms make great sources.
Other key foods and nutrients:
· Foods High in Vitamin C such as Bell Peppers, guavas, red and green hot chili peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green leafy vegetables, kiwi, papaya, oranges and strawberries
· B vitamins – Nutritional yeast is a good source of B-complex vitamins and well as lean meat.
· Vitamin D – found in cod liver oil, oysters, fish, eggs, or mushrooms.
· Cocoa powder (raw) / dark chocolate
· Green tea
· Whole Grains
For more information, or to discuss any health concerns, please contact Mindful Nourishment for a complementary 30 minute consultation at 604-831-6506 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please check out our website at www.mindfulnourishment.ca Thank you!
About the Author:
Nabila Bhimji is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and founder of Mindful Nourishment.