During times of stress, it can be tempting to turn to traditional "comfort" foods such as mac & cheese, pizza, and ice cream. Ironically, these high-fat foods are the worst possible choices because they can make us feel lethargic and less able to deal with stress.
The best solution? Low-fat, high-fiber, carbohydrate-rich meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. They soothe us without sapping our energy and give us the nutrients we need to boost our immune system. Here's a quick guide to stress-reducing foods:
- High-fiber, carbohydrate-rich foods: Scientists believe carbohydrates cause the brain to produce more serotonin, a hormone that relaxes us. And lots of fiber is helpful in preventing late-night binging. Some examples of healthy comfort food include baked sweet potatoes, minestrone soup, or sautéed vegetables over rice.
- Fruits and veggies: Chronic stress can weaken our ability to fight disease. By upping our intake of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, we can boost our immune system. Acorn squash and carrots, for example, are great sources of the antioxidant beta-carotene. And citrus fruits provide plenty of vitamin C, another stress-busting antioxidant.
Read more about reducing stress through diet at www.PCRM.org.