THE BEST FOODS FOR STRESS
Stress is a problem, it is increasing because our lifestyle is too hectic and the circadian cycle, i.e. how we use our energies during the day, is reversed, due to this problem also the hormones which should help our metabolism to fight stress are no longer available. In this article we are going to explore a fundamental topic for the state of health and for the regularity of the cycle
HOW CHRONIC STRESS IS FORMED AND THE DAMAGE IT PRODUCES
Stress is essential for survival, it is considered in a negative sense but if we subject ourselves to a level of stress appropriate to our metabolic and mental capacities, the results are always an improvement in our physical and mental health, hormone levels improve, we are more energetic and stronger. Unfortunately, however, today it is not easy to be able to dose stress. Our lifestyle is hectic, work schedules and our commitments accumulate, we often feel overwhelmed and on a motivational level our energies give way. When we feel like this we have usually gone beyond our ability to handle stress.
But what does stress mean for our body: it converts this word into a specific molecule within our blood, the molecule is called Cortisol. This hormone has only one function to make us survive by providing energy to the body's metabolism such as the muscles or the mind. Unfortunately, to fulfill this very important task it is forced to degrade our body's energy sources such as muscles, bone tissue, cartilage and adipose tissue, this cocktail of energy allows us to react to a hostile environment. However, things are very different when this hormone is released in low doses and constantly, you understand well that over time chronic stress induces the following damages in our body:
- Loss of muscle mass and consequently loss of strength
- Loss of cartilage and joint pain
- Increased blood inflammation due to increased circulating fat
- Decreased effectiveness of the immune system which is reduced by cortisol
These are damages that in the long term can lead us to an alteration not only of the menstrual cycle but also of our circulatory cardio system and therefore it is good to realize that we must react and manage stress in the best way to keep it under control.
THE BEST FOODS TO BETTER MANAGE STRESS
Now that we understand how stress acts inside our bodies we can begin our journey into the world of nutrition to learn how to use the right nutrients to improve stress and lower cortisol levels. Obviously there is no magic food to lower cortisol levels, this must be clear from the outset, being able to reduce the levels of this hormone is always a synergy of factors that certainly also involve nutrition but as anticipated in the previous paragraphs, style as well. of life and the hours we dedicate to work are important. Having said that, let's try to understand the correct shopping list:
- Green tea : it contains molecules called catechins which help reduce intestinal permeability a consequence of chronic stress which always leaves us with bloating belly pains and other unpleasant sensations. In addition, some research has proven that the catechins present in green tea can interfere with the activity of enzymes that originate in our body from the hormone cortisol.
- Cloves : a magical spice rich in eugenol also present in basil it not only helps to improve intestinal mucus and therefore the barrier that defends us from bad bacteria that attack the intestine when we are under stress for a long time.
We now come to foods rich in vitamin C such as broccoli, oranges, sweet potatoes, plums, tangerines, kiwis . This vitamin is able to regulate cortisol levels and also keep the harmful consequences of cortisol-dependent inflammation at bay. Other very important foods are those rich in magnesium, a very important mineral for the central nervous system which, as we know, mediates our interpretation of the surrounding environment and therefore our ability to interpret a certain situation as stressful or not. Many studies have found that a drop in magnesium levels can increase stress and cortisol levels even in normal situations.
Foods rich in magnesium are avocados, bananas, broccoli, dark chocolate and pumpkin seeds . Another way to reduce stress through the use of the right foods is precisely to increase its opposite hormone, namely serotonin. This hormone which is 95% produced by our intestines is able to influence our mood and make us feel relaxed and able to handle unpleasant situations with the right approach. Serotonin is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan which is found in the following foods: almonds, chicken breast, lentils and chickpeas, eggs .
By using the right combination of foods, you will be able to counteract stress levels and be able to avoid long-term damage.