Winnie Yu, author of What to Eat for What Ails You (Fair Winds Press, 2007) shares some advice for the season:
Eat to Beat Stress
You’re knee deep in meetings when your financial advisor calls you to give you the latest grim news on Wall Street. The party for the in-laws is happening Saturday, and you can’t get a hold of the caterer. Meanwhile, you sense that the yoga class you’ve been anticipating all week is quickly slipping off the to-do list.
Stressed out? Resist the urge to grab lunch at the vending machine or the nearest mini-mart, drive-through or gas station checkout. It’s probably the worst thing you can do for your body when you’re under the gun. Eating the right foods when you’re stressed – which is rampant these days -- can make all the difference in how you feel. Here’s your diet Rx for stress:
* Get your C. Loading up on this immune-boosting nutrient can help you survive an ordeal without succumbing to illness. It can even help reduce the physical effects of stress. Some studies have found that vitamin C can actually lower blood pressure and rein in the production of cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormone.
* Track down some B6. Vitamin B6 is involved in the production of serotonin, the feel-good hormone, which has a naturally calming effect. Good choices include turkey, tuna, sunflower seeds and bananas.
* Feast on whole grains. Got a carb craving? Reach for those whole grain crackers, which are packed with tummy-filling fiber. The fiber will help you feel full, so you’re not grabbing every treat that comes your way.
* Drink water. Load up on good ol’ H20, which will flood your cells with hydration and prevent you from energy-sapping fatigue.
* Steer clear of foods high in sugar, which will set you up for a crash and raid your energy stores. That means nixing candy bars, pastries and sodas.
* Watch that java. Too much coffee, tea and cola will flood your body with caffeine, a diuretic that can result in dehydration and fatigue. For those who are sensitive, caffeine can also worsen anxiety.
* Imbibe with moderation. It’s tempting to grab a cocktail after a stressful day, but watch how much you drink. Too much can disrupt your sleep, which is what you really need after a stressful day.
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