Our body deals with an infinite amount of stressors, but translates stress itself in exactly the same way over and over again. Regardless of whether you’re “stressed” because you’re running from a burning building, frustrated to be sitting in gridlocked traffic or running a marathon (yes, physical stress counts) – stress is stress. The severity of stress certainly shifts, but every time we throw our body into an emotional or physical overdrive, we go into some state of fight of flight, a protective function our nervous systems have evolved to over thousands of years. Needless to say, we abuse it – and our bodies pay the price.
Over time – whether it’s because of sleepless nights dealing with small children, or constantly rushing to finish a make-or-break work project – consequences arises. We all know that relentless stress can cause high blood pressure, heart disease and even obesity. Hormonal imbalances are a key culprit in these instances. Taking control of the conflicts that cause stress is, of course, priority. While food alone can’t resolve stress, specific nutrients can help to combat its effects.
When adrenaline kicks in, our adrenal hormones go into metabolic super speed, which results in depletion of key nutrients, specifically phosphorus, potassium and essential fatty acids among others. Replenishing those nutrients will help get our body out of “fight or flight” and back to “rest and digest” faster. Here are a few incredible functional foods to eat in times of stress.
(Phosphorus? Think strong bones and teeth, muscle repair, brain function and fluid balance. Fructose – fruit sugar – can deplete.)
(Potassium? Think heart and nervous system function, fluid balance. Licorice and excessive salt can deplete.)
Tomato (all variations – raw, paste, sun dried)
Essential Fatty Acids
(Essential fatty acids with vitamin E? Think inflammation fighter and viscous blood thinner…blood gets thicker when blood pressure is constantly high. Most of us are deficient in this.)
Nuts (and their oils)