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Friday 21 October 2011


You can find natural stress relief right in your fridge and cupboards. Good thing, too, since stress can harm your health in many ways. Left unchecked, chronic stress can disturb sleep, trigger back pain, headaches and indigestion, and even increase risks of depression and heart disease.

While no one food can claim to be the number one, best stress-buster, certain nutrients really work in your favour:

  • Polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, help to steady mood swings.
  • Magnesium helps to soothe jangled nerve responses.
  • Vitamin C and the family of B vitamins defend the body against the ravages of stress.
  • Complex carbohydrates boost your body's production of serotonin, which jolts your brain with happy vibes. They also fill you up and keep you satisfied for longer. Who needs to feel hungry when you're already stressed?

Blissful bunches of these nutrients turn up in the following 10 foods:

  • oatmeal: A steamy bowl of oats comforts and calms. Scoop up hearty helpings of complex carb fibre, magnesium and B vitamins.
  • sweet potatoes: Your mood may be a bit sweeter after a side of sweet potato fries or roasted yams. That's because of the tuber's supply of vitamin C and the energy-boosting combo of fiber and iron.
  • nuts and seeds: Grab a handful of these stress-busting snacks to squirrel away healthier fats, B vitamins and magnesium.
  • berries: Pop a brightly-colored berry in your mouth for a flavour jolt along with a burst of vitamin C and fiber.
  • avocado: Spoon out rich, buttery avocado and eat it as is – or smash it into a spreadable, dip-able guacamole. Avocado boasts B vitamins that stress saps from your body and plenty of good-for-you polyunsaturated fats.
  • leafy green vegetables: Green is good. A bundle of spinach, kale, Swiss chard or broccoli will be chock-full of magnesium and B vitamins.
  • bell peppers: If the crunch alone doesn't cheer you up, you might get a lift from the abundance of vitamin C, folate (a type of B vitamin) and fibre.
  • peppermint: For a quick spark of relief from stress or indigestion, chew on sugarless peppermint gum or add a few fresh mint sprigs to tea or lemonade. The perk comes from peppermint's zippy flavor and its traces of nerve-soothing magnesium.
  • eggs: Crack an egg, crack a smile? Maybe, since eggs shell out a good serving of vitamins B2, B5 and B12, all vitamins that can be depleted when we're really stressed.
  • black beans: Another reason to call beans the magical fruit! One cup of black beans will fill you up with B vitamins, fibre, magnesium as well as iron.

SOURCE(S): © McNeil Consumer Healthcare, division of Johnson & Johnson Inc. 2010

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