We all know just how prominent stress can be in our lives. Whether it is a pandemic, riots, or even just our daily nine to five. We all experience stress at some point in our day or lives. A little stress every once in a while can be good for your health. In fact, our bodies need stress from time to time to ensure that we are functioning at the best of our ability. Unfortunately, as is the case for most of us in the world especially right now, an excess of stress can breakdown our bodies and lead to a number of health issues. Because I know just how big of an issue stress is on all of us we are going to break down a number of holistic options you can reach for to help get your health and happiness back on track.
All Work & No Play
Stress is actually part of our bodies natural defense. In situations where our lives are in danger the brain will activate the release of Cortisol. Cortisol is one of the hormones that is released in response to stress. While Cortisol is mainly known for its involvement in the body’s response to stress it also serves other purposes. Cortisol assists in the regulation of blood sugar levels, balancing metabolism, reducing inflammation, and even in the formation of memories. Its natural effects on water and salt balance, make it ideal for aiding in the regulation of blood pressure. In women, Cortisol also plays a key role in the development of the fetus during pregnancy. When our levels become out of balance it can present itself in a number of ways.
Be On The Lookout!
Some of the signs and symptoms that can indicate excess levels of Cortisol are: feeling overly alert yet exhausted, difficulty falling and or staying asleep, feeling anxious or nervousness, easily irritated, memory lapse, easily distracted, craving sugar, weight gain (especially around the waist), indigestion, GERD and other digestive issues, as well as skin issues such as eczema or psoriasis. The unfortunate reality is that we all display at least one, if not multiple, of these signs and symptoms. Due to our constant exposure to stress from looming deadlines, money woes, and even the foods we eat. We are in a near constant exposure to stressful situations. Luckily, there are a number of all natural solutions that can help us keep our stress levels in check.
Best Foods To Beat Stress
When it comes to choosing stress reducing foods you have more options than you may think! The following is a list of my top 10 favorite foods to help you naturally lower your stress levels at home:
- Citrus Foods
- Dark Chocolate
- Sweet Potatoes
- Dark Leafy Greens
Orange You Glad?
Citrus foods are packed full of amazing reasons to incorporate these handy helpers into your daily routine. Just the scent alone of citrus foods has been shown to help naturally lower your stress levels. Not to mention the fact that these little guys are loaded with vitamins and minerals to help naturally strengthen your immune system while also keeping you looking your best. Their high concentrations of vitamin C helps to naturally reduce your stress while also giving your skin and immunity the boost they need. One of my favorite bonus reasons to grab these fruits is their ability to help breakdown fats!
Berries To The Rescue
Another stress reducing favorite has to be berries. Let’s be honest we all love them. They are low in calories, high in fiber, antioxidant rich, and loaded with the vitamins and minerals our bodies need. While each type of berry comes with their own additional health benefits they are all great options to help naturally lower your stress levels with ease. Some of my go to favorites include strawberries, blueberries, and black berries. One of my favorite things about these little guys is the fact that they are easy to integrate into a variety of foods. Making it even easier to ensure you are giving your body the building blocks it needs to keep you happy and healthy.
Join The Dark Side
If you are looking for something a little sweeter to help you kick your stress to the curb you will want to keep some dark chocolate on hand. Dark chocolate has tons of health benefits that come from eating it. It contains Serotonin and Dopamine which help to increase the feeling of happiness. As well as the stimulation of Endorphins which create a sense of euphoria throughout the body which is why exercise is great for lowering stress naturally too. Dark chocolate is one food that you don’t have to twist someone’s arm to get them to eat. It is proof that foods that are good for you can taste great too!
When it comes to eating our vegetables there is a reason our parents pushed so hard to up our green game. Dark leafy greens are loaded with powerful nutrients and are an excellent source of Folate, vitamin A, Iron, vitamin K, fiber, Magnesium, and Calcium. Not only do the majority of these nutrients help boost our energy levels they are also great for our mood levels too! Magnesium comes in a variety of compounds all of which are designed with you in mind. Some of the best benefits from consuming the right amounts are: improved digestion, immunity boost, inflammation reduction, pain relief, and better sleep. Just like the berries and citrus fruits these guys are high in nutrients and low in calories making them a must for every occasion.
Another food packed full of helpful vitamins and minerals is sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber which helps to balance out our hormonal levels while naturally aiding in detoxing our bodies. They are also a great source for vitamin B6, Potassium, beta-carotene, Manganese, and Iron. Manganese is best known for its ability to help naturally elevate your mood as well as improve your immunity. These vitamins and minerals are also critical for ensuring that your electrolytes are balanced and keeping your energy levels up. Not to mention, sweet potatoes are also high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which not only lower stress but also slow the aging process!
Stress is always going to be in our lives. But that doesn’t mean it has to rule our lives. To help keep your stress levels down and your health and happiness at the forefront you will want to eat more of these foods regularly. Due to the fact that none of us know what tomorrow may bring, it is always a good idea to be prepared and schedule out more down time for yourself. While I am a strong advocate for eating your way to better health I know that you need more than just the right foods to maximize your health. That is why I will be posting more tools and tips to help you take back control of your stress today. So, be sure to check back often and until then why not try this great recipe!
Overnight Blueberry French Toast
Gluten & Dairy Free Serves 10
- 12 Slices Gluten-Free Bread Cut into 1 Inch Cubes
- 16 Ounces Vegan Cream Cheese Cut into 1 Inch Cubes
- 1 Cup Fresh Blueberries
- 2 Cups Coconut Milk
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 12 Large Eggs Beaten
- ½ Cup Orange Juice
- ⅓ Cup Maple Syrup
- 1 Cup Coconut Sugar
- ½ Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
- ½ Cup Water
- 1 Tbsp Vegan Butter
Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange half of the bread cubes in the dish along with the cream cheese cubes. Pour 1 cup of blueberries over cheese and top with remaining bread cubes. In a large bowl combine eggs, milk, syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour over bread mixture, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minute prior to baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Uncover and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes or until the center is firm and the top is lightly browned. In a saucepan combine juice, water, cornstarch, frozen blueberries, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 10 minutes or until berries burst. Pour sauce over baked French Toast and enjoy!
Need A Hand?
A happy and healthy life is closer than you may think. Our health is something that we all have to deal with daily, and when we don’t feel our best, it shows. If you are tired of just making it through your day then you NEED to start investing in your health today! You are not alone on this journey. If you ever need any help I am always here to do just that. Even if it is something as small as just acting as a sounding board. Do you have any questions or concerns I can help you with? Feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] or you can even book a one-on-one call with me. Be sure to subscribe to gain access to tons of free goodies and check back daily for more great recipes and information!