It seems these day that everyone is under stress. Busy jobs, social lives, overflowing inboxes and constantly buzzing iPhones all place an increased demand on our mental and physical resources. Good food, quality sleep and relaxation activities are all so important in times of increased demand. To bust stress and soothe a frazzled nervous system give these simple meal ideas a try:
Wholegrain oats cooked in milk of choice, 1/4 cup blueberries and a small handful of walnuts.
Why it works: Oats are an excellent tonic for the nervous system and have a mood-elevating effect. Walnuts provide essential fatty acids essential for neural function.
// Morning Tea
A handful of raw nuts, or vegetable sticks with hummus, and a rooibos tea with almond milk
Why it works: Regular protein rich foods, such as nuts and hummus, throughout the day will prevent blood sugar from dropping too low. Low blood sugar can cause anxiety, trembling, sweating and heart palpitations. Not ideal if you are already stressed! Rooibos tea is a great tasting caffeine-free alternative to coffee – it’s best to avoid caffeine containing substances if you suffer from anxiety.
Grilled fish, or 2 boiled eggs, with mixed vegetable salad, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
Why it works: Stress induces the break down of muscle tissue, so sufficient protein in your diet is essential! Both fish and eggs provide easily digestible protein, whilst mixed vegetables provide a range of nutrients essential for the function of our nervous system.
// Afternoon Tea
2 sugar-fee protein balls and a chamomile tea.
Why it works: The cacao in these protein balls is rich in magnesium, which assists muscle relaxation and promotes a healthy sleep cycle. Chamomile is a calming anti-spasmodic for the digestive system, ideal if anxiety interferes with your digestion. Good-bye bloating!
Option 1 – Vegetable and lentil dhal, served with a side of brown rice.
Option 2 – Slow cooked lamb with roasted sweet potato, and a side of broccoli and sautéed spinach.
Why it works: Often under stress we crave refined carbohydrate-rich foods, and will sometimes eat these at the expense of balanced meal. Both sweet potato and brown provide complex carbohydrates to help satisfy the craving. Slow cooked warm meals are grounding and nourishing in traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda.
// Supper – an hour before bed
1/2 cup greek yoghurt, tsp honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Passionflower tea.
Why it works: Dairy foods are rich in tryptophan, an amino-acid required for the production of sleep hormones (serotonin and melatonin). Passionflower reduces anxiety and will encourage a restful, healing sleep.
I hope you find this guide helpful. Do you have any other diet or lifestyle tips to support you through times of stress? I would love to hear them! Let me know in the comments below.