Three Things to Know About Food and Stress

food and stress

Did you know April is Stress Awareness Month?

I didn’t either.

Until I got a call from my friends at Studio 512 TV here in Austin asking me to come on the show and talk about how we tackle stress with food.

You know me and my obsession with the power of food — I was all over it.

The only thing that gets me more excited about talking about food is when someone else brings it up!

On the show I talked about 3 ways you can counter stress with diet.

And the 3 things that you may be consuming that could be making you even more stressed out.

You can watch the whole thing here (it’s super short, like 5 minutes) and get all the tips.

Here’s the Cliff’s notes so you can save to take with you….

Grounding Foods 

  • foods grown in the ground have a grounding energy
  • typical comfort foods – think soups, stews with potatoes, squashes, carrots, etc.; baked potato
  • go for these foods when you’re feeling overwhelmed and want to feel comforted, grounded.

roasted root vegetables

Calming Teas 

  • chamomile – calming, relieves stress, helps with sleep
  • peppermint – cooling, relaxing

camomile tea

Magnesium-Rich Foods 

  • Magnesium is rich in leafy greens, salmon, and dark chocolate.
  • Stress depletes nutrients, particularly magnesium
  • Magnesium is relaxing – it’s a muscle relaxer. So when depleted we can become tense, tight (i.e. opposite of relaxed).

Why Magnesium Deficiency is So Common…

The way plants get minerals is through the soil. So the amount of a mineral a plant can take up is dependent on how much is in the soil. In more recent decades, mineral levels in soil have significantly dropped due to modern farming practices that lead to soil depletion. Our soil is over-farmed and not given adequate time and means to replenish. That means our food is not nutritionally the same as it was years ago. For example, if you compared the nutrient levels of collard greens today compared to the same in 1975 they’d have 85% less magnesium. Another example, a stalk of broccoli that has 50% less calcium.

So today you have people who are getting fewer nutrients from food, plus higher nutrient demand (i.e. stress, particularly for magnesium) which is equaling nutrient insufficiency for a large majority.

Important Nutrients for Stress-Reduction

  • Vitamin C: Consuming foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges and other citrus fruits, can reduce stress and boost the immune system. Intake of this vitamin can help lower the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and blood pressure during high-anxiety situations.
  • Complex Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can induce the brain to increase serotonin production and stabilizing blood pressure as a way to reduce stress.
  • Magnesium: Obtaining an adequate amount of magnesium is essential for avoiding headaches and fatigue. Oral magnesium can also successfully relieve premenstrual mood changes. Additionally, increased magnesium intake has been found to improve sleep quality in older adults. Healthy sources of magnesium include spinach or other leafy greens, salmon, and soybeans.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna) and nuts and seeds (such as flaxseeds, pistachios, walnuts, and almonds) are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce surges of stress hormones and also confer protection against heart disease, depression, and premenstrual syndrome.

What are some foods and things that can exacerbate stress and anxiety?

  • coffee/caffeine —> drives cortisol response
  • alcohol —> anxiety loop
  • sleep —> required to reset cortisol (7-9 hrs)
  • sugar – that “spacey” feeling

If you’re struggling with stress and anxiety, digestive issues, or other health challenges, we can help you get to the root of what may be going on in your unique body and find the right healthy routine that works just for you. First step is to schedule a free health strategy session here.

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