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Food Choices and Preparation Tips to Reduce Stress, Depression and Anxiety

Food  photoWhen stress hits, my first instinct is to run for McDonald’s. I crave greasy food, or at the very least, food that is carb heavy. This is certainly one instance when my gut instinct doesn’t lead me in entirely the right direction. While I may crave carbs or greasy food, there are better diet choices when I need to relieve stress.

Make a fresh fruit salad.

Fresh fruits rich in Vitamin B (like those that are yellow and orange, as Oprah’s Dr. Ro points out) are great choices when you are trying to fight stress and anxiety. Head to a local farmer’s market, or visit a grocery store. Stock up on fresh fruits and combine them into a delicious fruit salad. For a twist, add a bit of orange juice for an extra kick of Vitamin B, make individual serving sizes, and freeze them.

Switch to brown bread and rice, instead of white.

Generally healthier for you than the empty carbs in white bread and rice, brown bread and rice can also help you avoid depression, stress, and anxiety. As the Telegraph reports, whole grains are also rich in Vitamin B, and are some of the carbohydrates that can help relieve stress. If you’re having a difficult time making the switch, consider adding fresh vegetables to your brown rice, or eating your brown bread with butter. Holistic Online also notes that whole grains help release serotinin, a common neurotransmitter mentioned for people suffering from depression and anxiety.

Fill your plate with broccoli.

Broccoli is another food that helps relieve stress. Boiled, steamed, with or without butter – the choices are limitless for this versatile vegetable. Broccoli is rich in vitamins and minerals and Holistic Online notes that vegetables such as broccoli not only help with stress, but with general health and well-being. Add a side of broccoli to chicken or steak to complete and highlight any meal.

Drink more water.

The addition of water alone isn’t enough to decrease stress, but it can be an essential component in a healthy diet, especially when taking the place of soda or alcohol. While soda (and other caffeinated beverages) and alcohol can intensify the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression, water simply quenches your thirst. Replacing less healthy beverages with water can help relieve your stress.

Bake meat, rather than fry.

Meats can help reduce stress in a variety of ways when you make them correctly. While burgers with full fat and fried chicken can actually work to increase stress and anxiety, baking your chicken in lemon juice and sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper can actually help reduce it. Not only does meat cooked in low fat ways help reduce stress, but the simple act of cooking can create a stress-free environment.

While I may crave carbs or greasy food, there are better diet choices when I need to relieve stress. Focusing on healthy food choices and the manners in which you prepare your food can work wonders towards relieving your stress on a daily basis.

Sources:
Holistic Online; http://www.holisticonline.com/Stress/stress_diet.htm
Oprah Radio; http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahradio/bgreene/bgreene_20080426
The Telegraph; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/5061370/How-diet-affects-your-stress-levels.html

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