We all deal with some amount of stress in our lives. While not all stressors that you have from day to day may be detrimental to your well-being, there exists a chemical effect which can negatively impact your body. This chemical reaction within your body’s tissues is known as free-radical oxidation – and it can ultimately be hazardous to your health if you don’t work to control it.
Fortunately, there’s an abundance of food sources within reach that help fight such oxidation. Most important of which is those foods containing a high content of anti-oxidants, such as vitamins and minerals. While it is true that you could take a multi-vitamin and consume all the daily recommended dosage of the majority of vitamins and nutrients, it’s just not the same. It is very important that they are from actual food sources, as the foods we eat containing high amounts of micro-nutrients have certain ratios and combinations that the body needs in order to utilize them effectively.
Aside from eating foods with nutrients that fight oxidation, there are other important components to fighting stress with the foods you consume. One is eating to maintain a steady level of blood sugar. High sugar foods that spike your insulin level causes stress within the body. There are many foods that also help increase the production and release of chemicals in the body that can help to reduce stress. And there are foods containing nutrients that work as natural anti-inflammatories for the body, as inflammation is a by-product of stress.
The most anti-oxidant rich food items by density is undoubtedly those of the green leafy vegetable category. Spinach, kale, collards – all are super foods that are jam-packed with oxidation-fighting micronutrients. What’s more, such greens contain folate – which produces dopamine, a pleasure-inducing brain chemical.
Another power-packed food that is high in anti-oxidants is the blueberry. The high content of antioxidants and phytonutrients found in blueberries help improve your body’s response to stress and fight stress-related free radicals.
When you’re stressed, you in effect increase your body’s levels of anxiety hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones can result in inflammation and potentially damaging effects over time. Salmon, an excellent food source of omega-3 fatty acids, is great for this. The Omega 3s you get in salmon have anti-inflammatory properties that may help counteract the negative effects of stress hormones.