7 Foods That Reduce Stress by Barbara Mendez

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Feeling overwhelmed at work? Try adding some of these stress-busting foods to your diet.

Most people struggle with balancing life demands with work commitments. But for entrepreneurs, finding balance can seem near impossible. The pressure of getting everything done can be overwhelming. And, if left unchecked, that stress can lead to other issues, including high blood pressure and depression.

Worst of all, stress leads people make poor food choices. When you self-medicate with junk food, it can actually amplify anxiety and do more damage to your health. But there are a few healthy foods that actually help offset stress. Include these in your regular diet, and you’ll feel more grounded and more productive. You might even lose a few pounds in the process.

1. Turkey. Turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid that boosts serotonin production, which helps alleviate stress. Add turkey to your morning omelet or slice it up into a salad at lunch.

2. Spinach. This leafy vegetable is great source of magnesium, a mineral that helps promote a sense of calm. Spinach, which is a great source of fiber, also helps boost your energy levels. Opt for this instead of lettuce in your salad at lunch.

3. Salmon. This fish is full of Omega 3 essential fatty acids, which help to boost serotonin production. The DHA (docosahexanoic acid) in Omega 3 fats help to nourish the brain while mitigating stress hormones. Plus, the Omega 3 in salmon can reduce inflammation and promote healthy blood flow, both of which are compromised with chronic stress. Enjoy wild Alaskan salmon up to three times a week.

4. Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are a rich source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids, which help reduce stress. Walnuts are one of the best sources of Omega 3s. Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain tryptophan, which boosts serotonin production and can take the edge off a stressful day. Have a handful of nuts as an afternoon snack.

5. Oatmeal. The complex carbohydrates in oatmeal help to boost serotonin production. Plus, oats have a lot of calming magnesium as well as potassium, which has been shown to help lower blood pressure. Have a bowl for breakfast with some walnuts and cashews, as well as some cinnamon to help stabilize your blood sugar, and you will on your way to a more tranquil day.

6. Citrus fruit. Oranges, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits are a great way to get your vitamin C, which studies show reduces stress levels. Plus, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that boosts your immune system. Have an orange in the afternoon for a calming and nourishing snack.

7. Sweet potatoes and carrots. Root vegetables are a good source of fiber and carbohydrates, which can help to boost serotonin production. Plus, because they are subtly sweet, they can offset cravings for sugar. Sweet potatoes and carrots are also a great source of vitamins and minerals that are good for your blood pressure and your heart. Have a handful of baby carrots with some almond butter in the afternoon or a sweet potato with dinner a couple of times a week.

http://www.inc.com/barbara-mendez/7-foods-that-reduce-stress.html

Barbara Mendez is a nutritionist in New York City. For more information about her private practice, visit BarbaraMendezNutrition.com.

Mediterranean Diet

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Mediterranean diet

He also speculated whether the British psyche was fatalistic when it came to illness: “I wonder if many people feel that they can ignore their health for decades in the expectation that the NHS will be there to bail them out when they get into trouble.”

In the 1970s a universal National Health Service was established in Italy which was modelled in part on the NHS. Successive Italian governments poured money into health – for decades Italy spent significantly more on its health service than Britain. Only recently has UK spending caught up and overtaken that of Italy.

It’s true that Italians are more likely to smoke than Britons – 23% of adults there compared to 20% here. But until around 2006 Italy had fewer smokers; our levels have simply fallen faster than theirs, meaning adults here are still paying the price of decades of greater cigarette consumption.

Consumption of olive oil is high in Italy
The Mediterranean diet is also likely to be a factor in Italian longevity. Stefania Salmaso, Director, National Centre for Epidemiology and Health Promotion in Rome, told me: “Since the 1960s there has been a big improvement in the Italian diet, with much more fresh fish and a wider variety of foods. Fresh vegetables and fruit are commonly available and we use a lot of olive oil in cooking, and less animal fats than is found in British dishes.”

Traditionally, Italians have drunk wine with meals and avoided the sort of binge drinking that is commonplace in Britain, but Dr Salmaso warns that habits are changing for the worse among the young.

Several studies have linked the Mediterranean diet with a reduced risk of heart disease. Only last month a trial in the New England Journal of Medicine involving more than 7,000 people in Spain found that those given either a litre of extra virgin olive oil, or 200g of walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds every week for five years had a significantly reduced risk of stroke and heart disease compared to a third control group who were simply advised to have a low-fat diet.

How do the Italians view their health? Do they celebrate their position as among the longest living nations in the world? Apparently not. “Not a single Italian journalist contacted me about the Lancet study” said Stefania Salmaso in Rome. “People here don’t realise how lucky they are. All the focus is on the political crisis. I think that good news gets ignored.”

Can we be certain why average life expectancy in Italy is 81.5 years compared to 79.9 in the UK? Is it diet, healthcare, social structure, even climate – and which is the most important? Dr Edmund Jessop, vice-president, UK Faculty of Public Health, told me: “To be honest, nobody knows. Life expectancy looks like a simple number but it’s incredibly complicated – with a huge number of factors all playing a part. We can speculate about the causes, but it’s impossible to give a single definitive answer.”

Read the entire article here: http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21690003

What Portion Control is Not

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When I talk with people about portion control, most think I’m starving myself. I’ve been at this since Dec. 3, and I haven’t been starving once.

Portion control is not:

- eating like a bird
– eating food that tastes like cardboard
– starvation

Portion control is:

- eating more vegetables – and you can eat a lot. Great nutrition, fiber, and tasty.
– eating more fruit
– eating protein smarter – chicken, fish, Greek yogurt, quinoa (a seed that has a surprising amount of protein)
– eating nuts
– eating whole grain breads (be careful not to over do it here)

There are tons of cookbooks that have easy recipes to help you eat better. Use a tool like My Fitness Pal to help you determine portion sizes. Go see a nutritionist. There are resources on the web (like this blog). Use them.

Portion control: it works if you work it.