Yes, my dear turkeys, here’s your Thanksgiving Edition of Body Designs. And, yes again, there will not be one this coming Sunday. So, you between this past Sunday’s and today’s, it’s an all you can eat buffet – figuratively of course.
Obviously there are many times during the year when we get stressed. But the Holiday Season seems to bring everything to a “boil” – figuratively and literally!
There’s the stress of going to big gatherings where you may not care for some of the other people who will be attending. There is the financial stress of your normal expenses piling up with property taxes, income taxes (if you pay them quarterly) and gifts for everyone on a your list. And, of course, there’s the added pressure to be in the Holiday Spirit, even if you are not. Unfortunately, there are many other stressors that can affect one’s emotional state, but today I am gonna help alleviate them for you.
How you ask? No, not with exercise. But with food! Yes, while we all know that exercise can reduce stress levels, certain foods can do so as well. So here are my top 12 foods to help you beat the stress so you don’t beat your …. Just kidding!
Asparagus – because it is high in folic acid and B vitamins, which are used by your body to make serotonin, it helps stabilize your mood. The recommended serving size is seven spears, 1/2 inch thick, cooked, 25 calories.
Even though many cuts of Beef has a lot of saturated fat, it’s a great choice for a stressed-out family. Beef contains high levels of zinc, iron, and B vitamins, which are also known to help stabilize your mood. But, if your weight is an issue, make sure you get the leanest cuts, so the next time you get on the scale you won’t be STRESSED! The recommended serving size is one cup of the leanest ground beef, 300 calories.
Milk is high in antioxidants and vitamins B2 and B12, as well as a great source of protein and calcium. A bowl of whole-grain cereal or Steel Cut Oatmeal and LOW fat milk is a breakfast that packs a punch for even the most stressful situations. The recommended serving size is 1/2 cup of LOW fat milk, 46 calories.
Cottage Cheese and Fruit is the perfect one-two-punch snack! The Non or Low Fat Cottage Cheese is high in protein and calcium and, if you add a fruit that is high in vitamin C, like an Orange or Blueberries, which is an antioxidant that fights the cancer-causing free radicals that are released when you are stressed. The recommended serving size is 1/2 cup of Cottage Cheese and one Orange or 2/3 cup Blueberries, 150 calories total.
Try grinding your teeth on some Almonds, Pistachios or Walnuts to help get your aggression our. A good source of vitamins B2 and E (which has been shown to fight the free radicals that are associated heart disease), as well as magnesium and zinc, these nuts will help you from going nuts! The recommended serving size is 1/3 cup, shelled, 306 calories. Fish like Tuna and Salmon have stress-fighting vitamins B6 and B12 and high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids which protect against heart disease because they keep the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from peaking. The recommended serving size is 3.5 ounces drained, about 100 calories.
Sweet Potatoes are particularly stress-reducing because they can satisfy the urge of eating carbohydrates and sweets when you are under a great deal of stress. Packed full of beta-carotene and other vitamins, the fiber helps your body to process the carbohydrates in a slow and steady manner; keeping blood sugar levels stable avoiding the “crash” when digested. The recommended serving size is 1 large potatoe with the skin, 162 calories. NOT three helpings of the Sweet Potatoe Casserole with Maple and Brown Sugar and Marshmallows!
Dried Apricots are rich in magnesium, which is a stress-buster as well as a natural muscle relaxant. The recommended serving size is 8 halves, 70 calories.
Turkey (who would have guessed) contains the amino acid L-tryptophan which triggers the release of serotonin and has been documented to having a calming effect after being ingested. The recommended serving size 8 ounces (yea, right!), 240 calories (white meat – yea, right!).
Since a deficiency in magnesium can cause migraines and a feeling of fatigue, one cup of Spinach provides 40 percent of your daily magnesium needs.
The monounsaturated fats and potassium in Avocados help lower blood pressure. The recommended serving size, 1/2, 140 calories.
So my fine unfeathered friends, when you are stressed about who’s goin’ to show up for dinner, don’t reach for a bottle of Wild Turkey or Vicodin, just plan your dinner with a purpose. My guess is that almost all of the above can be found at your table today. Just watch how much stress relief you indulge in or your next visit to the gym my call for a shot of Wild Turkey or two Vicodin.