Foods to Include in your diet:
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 vegetables: 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.
Foods to Avoid for stress management
High-fat foods: Fatty foods such as meat or cheese dishes and many baked goods thicken our blood which in turn makes us feel tired, even lethargic. This is clearly not a good way to reduce stress! Even just one high-fat meal can increase our risk of a heart attack.
Caffeine: Many of us deal with a stress-induced lack of sleep by turning to coffee, tea, and colas. Unfortunately, caffeine stays in our systems longer than many realize. Cutting back on caffeine can help with both sleeping problems and jitters.
Sugar: As a carbohydrate, sugar tends to calm us. The problem with sugar is that it’s a simple carbohydrate so it enters and leaves the bloodstream rapidly, causing us to, in effect, “crash.” On the other hand, complex carbohydrates?such as pasta, beans, and lentils, the starchy parts of foods?soothe without bringing us down.
Tip: Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun – plus the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on.