This time of year can result in high levels of stress and anxiety. Everyone is trying to avoid the flu, prepare for Black Friday, and plan for family Holiday events. Although it is not easy to avoid the stresses of the holiday season or rather your everyday life, there are ways to assist and manage how we respond.
Letting stress and anxiety get the best of us, can often lead to the selection of unhealthy dietary choices. When experiencing chronic stress and anxiety, it taxes our adrenal system, depletes crucial nutrients/minerals, and spikes our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the main hormone that is released in our response to stress, so it is important for us to do our best in preventing it from spiking out of control.
How can we aid our body in its natural response to stress?
Here are a few dietary implementations and important nutrients that can be helpful in the way the body responds to stress and anxiety:
- A major mineral that is helpful in managing the stress hormone cortisol, and plays a significant role in anxiety, is Magnesium: Magnesium can be found in whole foods such as spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, black beans, avocados, figs, dark chocolate, and bananas. Magnesium plays a large role in many of our bodies functions on a cellular level, as well as our heart health.
- Another important mineral that is instrumental in stress, anxiety and blood pressure on a cellular level is Potassium. Potassium can be found in whole foods such as: Avocado, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Coconut water, Kefir or Yogurt, White Beans, Banana, Acorn Squash, Dried Apricots and Mushrooms.
- B Vitamins also contribute to balancing stress and anxiety on a cellular level. In particular, B1 (Thiamine) converts glucose into energy which is helpful in blood sugar control and mood. Also, B6 (Pyridoxine) is key in the production process of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is highly responsible for our mood and behavior. B1 is commonly found highest in Beef, Liver, Nuts, and Oranges. B6 is commonly found highest in Fish, Beef liver, other organ meats and starchy vegetables.
- Another important mineral that contributes on a cellular and neurological level in anxiety is, Zinc. Zinc, is commonly known for its role in our immune system, but it also contributes the production of key neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and GABA. Those neurotransmitters are highly responsible for our levels of anxiety and even depression. Zinc can be found in the following whole foods: Grass fed beef, kefir or yogurt, Lamb, Chickpeas, Pumpkin seeds, Cashews, Chicken, Mushrooms, Spinach.
- Lastly, there are a variety of herbs that can assist in leveling spikes in cortisol levels and stress hormones, and adrenals include: Rhodiola, Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Valerian, and St. John’s Wort.
During this time of year, having a fridge full of these healthy foods can seem a little overwhelming and expensive. It’s a good idea to figure out which ones you can make “staples” in your diet. Implementing a quality supplement is also great way to help fill any nutrient gaps, and can contribute to making a big difference.
Monique Reynard, creator of UnBoxed Wellness Nutrition and Wellness Consulting, is a Certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, and soon to be Chiropractor. Monique applies a holistic and functional approach in her pursuit to assist her clients in creating sustainable habits and self empowering solutions. She places an emphasis on gastrointestinal health, blood sugar, and hormone balance due to their instrumental roles in physical and mental health. She looks forward to seeing others thrive and live optimally throughout her career.
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