NUTRIENTS FOR STRESS MANAGEMENT

Some short-term stress and fatigue in life is unavoidable and sometimes necessary (especially when it comes to parenthood!). But instead of reaching out for the coffee and the biscuits, try increasing some of the foods below. While there is no one food that will relieve your stress, these foods contain nutrients that can help your body to adapt and manage during inevitable times of stress. Omega-3 fats are found in high quantities within the human brain. Primarily found in oily fish such as salmon or sardines, a good intake of omega-3s (specifically EPA & DHA), has been shown to have a positive effect on mental health. Further to this omega-3s improve gut health and decrease inflammation. Fermented foods: Probiotics that affect the brain are also called psychobiotics. Both probiotics and prebiotics have been shown to reduce levels of anxiety, stress and depression. Fermented foods contain probiotics and in particular, kefir has been shown to alter brain activity. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and miso are great examples of femented foods. High-fibre foods such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables all contain prebiotic fibers that are good for your gut bacteria. Prebiotics can reduce cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Anti-oxidant rich foods cocoa, green tea, olive oil and coffee all contain polyphenols, which are plant chemicals that are digested by your gut bacteria, which effects brain function. Anxiety is thought to be linked to oxidative stress, which is when the body has more free-radicals (unstable atoms that can cause cell damage) than anti-oxidants. Vitamin C rich foods such as red capsicum, oranges, kiwi fruit, strawberries contain high amounts of vitamin C that can help to keep a lower blood pressure and recover faster from the cortisol surge that comes with stress.