Don´t Distress – De-stress

Improve mood, increase energy, uplift spirit and just feel good!
In these challenging, fast paced and fast changing times in which we live, stress is a major factor in every body’s life.
What is much more important than the actual stress or stress factors themselves is the capacity to cope efficiently with the stress. There are innumerable techniques for coping with stress and the prescription for each person is as individual as the stress factor itself, the important point is finding the technique that works for each individual.
Of the many and varied effective techniques, we have aromatherapy, massage, conscious breathing, meditation, yoga, Tái chi, walking, music therapy, art therapy, exercise, the list is endless.

One other vital technique for controlling stress lies in the very foods we eat. We must eat to stay alive and one of the only things over which we do have control and free choice is in what we choose to put into our bodies. Everything that enters our body through the mouth, food, drink, smoke and pills can reduce or increase stress. We can choose nutrient rich foods or we can choose nutrient empty foods. By making a conscious choice in regards to which foods we choose, we can create a balancing, calming or de-stressing effect or we can create an irritating, stimulating, or stress full effect. The choice is ours. There are foods that are known as good mood foods that can change our mood and relax our mind and help us to function optimally. These good mood foods produce endorphin or, feel good hormone in our bodies. With the foods we eat we can also raise or lower the neurotransmitters or chemicals of the brain. “What you eat can affect your mood and how well your brain works,” says Judith Wurtman, Ph.D., a former Massachusetts Institute of Technology research scientist and coauthor of The Serotonin Power Diet.


Serotonin is the mood neurotransmitter that enables us to be peaceful and calm, as well as emotionally and socially stable as opposed to cortisol and adrenalin which increase stress and nervous tension and even can cause us to retain fat especially around our mid –section. Serotonin comes from the essential amino acid tryptophan which occurs naturally in almost all foods containing protein such as low fat turkey, chicken, salmon and sardines as well as avocados, bananas and wheat germ. It is recommended that adults consume a minimum of 300 mg of tryptophan containing foods daily. The feel-good chemical, serotonin cannot be produced by the body without tryptophan. Without serotonin, people feel low.
The body cannot produce tryptophan which is converted by the body into serotonin, so unless we get enough through our diets, we may suffer a deficiency, leading to low serotonin levels. Low serotonin levels are associated with stress, mood disorders, insomnia, anxiety, cravings and irritable bowel syndrome. Mood swings could be indicative of nutritional deficit.
Although stress is not a dis –ease in itself it is a cofactor in nearly all dis-ease, thereby relaxation, inner calm and a positive attitude is a co-factor in optimal health. Too much stress suppresses the immune system, damages the heart and the circulatory system, slows down the metabolism, produces insomnia, and depletes the body of vital nutrients, as well as promoting rapid ageing, weight gain and a host of other stress related ailments.

The top good mood foods
Top on the list of the good mood foods are oats, whole grains, apples, bananas, honey, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, brewer´s yeast, vegetable milk like almond, oat or rice and lettuce, asparagus, spinach, mung beans and tofu.
Basic food groups containing tryptophan:
Dairy products: yogurt, milk, cheese
Protein foods: low fat meat, turkey, chicken, fish, shellfish, eggs
Soy products: tofu, soy milk, soybeans
Legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas
Sea vegetables: Spirulina, kelp
Whole Grains: oats, brown rice, wheat, wheat germ
Nuts and seeds: hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds
Fruit: mangos, dates, bananas
Vegetables: beats, potatoes
Cocoa: dry cocoa powder, chocolate

Some meal ideas that contain high amounts of tryptophan: Miso soup with tofu and sea vegetables, chicken or turkey salad with whole wheat bread, shrimp fried rice, pita bread and humus, banana date nut bread, chocolate soy milk, mango yogurt smoothie and oatmeal with dates and hazel nuts.

Essential Vitamins and minerals to control mood swings and stress
Zinc –seafood, lobster and oysters, whole wheat, nuts, seeds and eggs. If your body assimilates dairy products you can also include cottage cheese, cheese, yogurt and dairy in your diet, but be aware of the high fat content.
Too much stress may deplete your bodies’ reserve of magnesium, so it is important to include magnesium rich foods such as dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach as well as figs, raisins, seeds and nuts such as pistachio and walnuts. Magnesium helps to relax the muscles.


Calcium, also known as the natural tranquilizer is important in a de-stress diet as it has a tranquilizing effect on the nervous system. Calcium can be found not only in dairy products and soy but also in green leaf vegetables, as well as in sesame seeds and almonds and molasses.
Experts suggest an anti stress diet should include B vitamins, which are found in whole grains, wheat germ, yeast extract, avocados yogurt and dates as well as in dairy and animal products. Your anti stress diet might also include brown rice, rye, oatmeal, quinoa and buckwheat. Vitamin B is the principal vitamin needed in the diet to effectively combat stress as it helps to regulate and sedate as well as strengthen and regenerate the nervous system. Brown rice is not only high in complex B vitamins but also selenium, manganese and iron, which are important vitamins and minerals that may help to relieve stress. Brewer´s yeast is an important supplement to add to the diet when under heavy mental pressure or physical pressure or stress, it has proteins and vitamins and acts to detox and to relax. Vitamin B 6, folic acid, magnesium and vitamin c are all necessary for the body to metabolize the tryptophan.
Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, strawberries, pineapple, blackberries and kiwi, cabbage and broccoli are an especially good tonic for the nervous systems and should be included in the diet as they have the capacity to pull toxins out of the body and for the anti-oxidant properties. Be sure to also include Vitamin A and E also for the antioxidant properties to prevent the formation of free radicals.
Complex carbohydrates -Carbohydrates cause the body to make insulin, which allows tryptophan, an amino acid that’s a precursor to serotonin — the brain’s natural “feel good” chemical and appetite suppressant — to get into the brain. Carbohydrate cravings can be explained as a subconscious drive to increase serotonin levels,”

 

Don´t forget to include plenty of water in your daily diet and to learn some simple conscious breathing exercises. Every cell in the body requires a molecule of water and of oxygen to function optimally. Failing to drink enough water or breathe deeply can cause every cell of the body to be under stress. Make sure that your dining area is peaceful and free of clutter and excessive noise. Turn off the news (the news is normally not conducive to relaxation) and enjoy some quiet music and conversation. Last but not least make sure to place the most important ingredient of all in your dishes, a positive and grateful attitude and prepare the food with consciousness, love and affection as you are what you eat and the energy with which you prepare your dishes is also absorbed into the food and thereby assimilated into the body. Take a few seconds before beginning the meal to silently allow your eyes to savor the colors and your nose to enjoy the aromas and to offer thanks to the living plants and creatures who have sacrificed their lives in order that you may continue with yours and to try to honor them in the way in which you live your life.
Jeanne Lurie

Spa Manager La Fuente Gran Hotel Son Net Puigpunyent,

Mallorca

Yoga and meditation teacher, stress management coach, nutritionist, naturopath, masseur and bio-energy techniques.
636 462 544 http://www.llifeyoga.es, jeannelurie@hotmail.com

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