After a long day at the office, you might just want to kick back with some Ben and Jerry’s and call it a day, but before you do that, consider eating nutrients for your body and mind instead. Stress can trick you into thinking you need chocolate, wine, and ice cream, when really, you might just need a healthy meal and a hot bath. I realize that kale salads or steamed veggies just don’t sound great after a rough day, so instead of focusing on the food, focus on the nutrients in the food and what they can do for you. Try eating more of these nutrients for your body and mind and you’ll feel like a new person in no time. No sugary ice cream needed!
Calcium calms your nerves and can even help put you to sleep faster, making it one of the best nutrients for your body and mind. Instead of ice cream, opt for some non-dairy milk or leafy greens, both of which have 50% more calcium than dairy milk per serving.
Magnesium is one of the first minerals depleted from your body when you’re stressed. It plays a major role in nervous system function and is one of the best minerals you can consume when you need to relax. You can take a supplement or eat foods like leafy greens, raw almonds, raw cacao powder, whole grains, bananas, and sweet potatoes.
Potassium doesn’t just help beat the bloat, but it also lowers your blood pressure. Anytime you feel your heart racing through your chest, try drinking a glass of water and consuming a potassium-rich food. Some of the best options include bananas, almonds, oatmeal, quinoa, celery, cucumber, tomatoes, avocados, berries, spinach, sweet potatoes, nonfat yogurt, and non-dairy milk.
While supplemental iron isn’t the best option, it’s important to consume iron-rich foods. This not only helps prevent anemia, but also helps monitor your stress and fight low energy. Leave out the red meat and opt for lentils, chickpeas, spirulina, kale, spinach, raw cacao, raisins, oats, squash, and quinoa.
Tryptophan is an amino acids that acts as a precursor to serotonin, the feel good hormone. Tryptophan is abundant in many foods, with some of the best options being pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, peanuts and peanut butter, sweet potatoes, bananas, chia seeds, brown rice, quinoa, oats, and broccoli. It’s also found in animal foods but it’s best to turn to plant-based sources first.
Omega 3 fats help prevent heart disease, lower diabetes risk, and also help prevent and treat mild depression. However, you don’t have to consume fish to get your fill. Try having more plant-based sources, such as walnuts, acai berries, chia seeds, and flax seeds.
While you don’t have to go protein crazy, a little protein can go a long way towards fighting stress. Amino acids not only help calm the mind, but also fuel and tone the body. Great sources of protein include fish, nonfat Greek yogurt, lentils, beans, edamame, pea protein, hemp protein, chia seeds, whey protein isolate, and spirulina.
There are a number of ways you could combine these ingredients to make yourself a healthy snack or meal. For instance, have some carrots with hummus or a nice hearty soup with sweet potatoes, kale, lentils, tomatoes, and some seasonings. Other good options would be some nonfat plain Greek yogurt with almonds and berries, a pumpkin blueberry protein smoothie, or even a banana with some plain peanut butter. How do you eat a diet that’s rich in nutrients for your body and mind?
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