After researching and learning about stress this week, The Daniel Plan has connected the dots on stress: Eat well, exercise and have a daily quiet time and you will stress less. Here is a breakdown of what to eat, what to avoid, what to do, herbs and the surprising saffron you may want to experiment with to reduce stress.
WHAT TO EAT
- A high-fiber, low-sugar breakfast with protein. This is especially crucial because it gradually raises your insulin levels.
- A caloric balance of lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates
- Incorporate more foods containing B vitamins, foliate, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium.
- Food high in Vitamin C, like berries, and foods with antioxidants like blueberries, pomegranates and grapes.
- Drink black tea, and especially green tea which has theanine, which has shown to reduce mental and physical stress.
- Transform your "comfort foods" with healthy alternatives. Love chili? Use turkey and vegetables so you can enjoy one of your favorites without the guilty pleasure.
- For more details and examples, read The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution, chapter 1.
WHAT TO AVOID
- Fast Food - high trans-fat, high sugar contents, high salt
- Caffeine - replace with green, black, or oolong tea
- Alcohol - induces more stress, and disturbs sleep patterns
WHAT TO DO
- Practice deep-breathing techniques, like Dr. Mark Hyman's "Take 5" soft-belly breathing technique.
- Have daily quiet times to relax, pray, read the Bible, reflect on your goals and daily tasks.
- Get a massage to loosen up tightness in your body.
- Exercise with releases endorphins that battle cortisol, which is the "stress hormone."
There are a number herbs and natural supplements that claim to reduce stress and aid in relaxation. Be careful with these, do your research and check with an expert or doctor before mixing and matching herbal therapy. A few Dr. Daniel Amen recommends are:
- Ashwagandha, also known as Indian Ginseng
Other herbal remedies for stress include:
- Cat's Claw
- Kava Kava
- Lemon Balm
- Passion Flower
- Siberian Ginseng
Saffron, long the world's most expensive spice by weight, has a number of medicinal uses including improving memory, anti-tumor agent, helpful for depression, improves mood and reduces snacking as well as relieving symptoms of PMS. So reduce stress by cooking up some Paella or other recipes using this interesting, and healthy spice.