Stress is in the air, while on the move, we stress over poor road sense of fellow drivers, in office over mounting workload, at parties over surging real estate rates, and round up as impatient listeners at home. But just who is not stressed these days?
Experts blame an erratic diet as a predominant cause of stress, which usually spans into snack breaks, tea breaks and more snack breaks. Though we can do better by tweaking our diet chart to include foods that curb stress.
Here is a list of eight foods that’ll do the trick ...
Yogurt: Yogurt works well especially in summer, as it is light and digests easily. Says Dr Shikha Sharma, doctor and wellness expert, “yogurt or any dairy product is rich in tyrosine which increases the serotonin level in the brain.” She simplifies this for us, “Proteins increase neurohormone in the brain which eases stressed nerves and calms you down.” If plain yoghurt bores you, try the ready-to-scoop-up, fruit flavoured version. Strawberry, blackcurrant, litchi and mango are some popular flavoured yoghurt.
Dark chocolate: Dark chocolates are nothing short of a delicacy, they send our taste buds spiralling. But there is more to dark chocolate such as lowering stress hormone levels and improving other stress-related bio-chemical imbalances. Agrees Chef Sachin Sahgal, food and nutrition expert, Tivoli Garden Hotel, “Our body requires a fair dose of antioxidants, and in chocolate the antioxidants come in the form of flavonoids. Besides, the flavonoids are maximum in dark chocolate.” Chocolates also go a long way in enhancing mood. Explains Chef Sahgal, “Chocolates are good aphrodisiacs, also known as ‘love chemical’ which is a mood stimulant and booster. They contain phenethylamine - a safe natural ingredient that is released in the brain when positive emotions such as falling in love are experienced.”
Citrus fruits: Any fruit of your choice is good enough. “Fruits have natural sugar which de-stresses the mind. It is best to go for citrus fruits or any summer fruit. Besides, the natural sugar in fruits is very healthy for the body. Make any one meal fruit rich, and you will feel the difference in your energy levels,” says Dr. Shikha Sharma.
Almonds: Almonds not only promote shiny mane, but also work as stress relievers. Elaborates Chef Sahgal, “Almonds are packed with vitamin B2, vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc. B vitamins and magnesium are involved in the production of serotonin, which helps regulate mood and relieve stress. Zinc fights some of the negative effects of stress, while vitamin E is an antioxidant that destroys the free radicals related to stress and heart disease.”
Herbal tea: Black tea or herbal tea checks calories, and at the same time betters your mood. Justifies Dr. Shikha Sharma, “Chamomile tea, jasmine tea, tulsi tea and other herbal variants of tea do wonders to our system. The herbs act like medicine in calming and relaxing our mind.”
Fish: An abundant source of Omega 3 fatty acids, fish contains important B vitamins, particularly the renowned stress fighters B6 and B12. “In fact, B12 is one of the most important vitamins involved in the synthesis of the ‘happy’ brain chemical serotonin; a vitamin B12 deficiency can even lead to depression. Seafood contains high amount of zinc which relives one from stress,” reasons Chef Sahgal.
Broccoli: Broccoli is such a happy, green vegetable. It works magic when added to pasta, rice, salad or simply sautéed with mushrooms and baby potatoes. But did you know the vegetable had stress-busting properties? “Broccoli is chock-full of stress-relieving B vitamins including folic acid, which is also part of the B vitamin family. Folic acid helps relieve stress, anxiety, panic, and even depression. It is also high in fiber content which is helpful in treating constipation and the loose stools associated irritable bowel syndrome which is one of the long term effects of stress,” says he.
Garlic: Outside of keeping vampires at bay, garlic eases tension and stress, and reduces glucose levels in the body. If you are not sure about how else to include garlic in your diet, pickle it. Garlic pickle lives long and tastes good with quick snacks, rice and chapati. Shares Chef Sahgal, “The development of hypertension is implicated by a state called as oxidative stress where our body produces reactive oxygen species much higher than its antioxidant capacity. Garlic is rich in antioxidants and helps restore these antioxidants which in turn soothe our stress levels.”