The top Dietary foods that can put a DENT in your Stress
In the Diet portion of my DENT program I teach people how to optimize their Diet to put a DENT through Diet, Detox, Exercise, Nutrition and Treatment in different chronic conditions. This blog is about what foods will help optimize your body’s ability to balance your stress.
The top 5 foods to help you put a DENT in your stress:
- Green Leafy Vegetabeles: Folate or B9 is a major vitamin to help balance neurotransmitters in your nervous system. Serotonin and Dopmine are two neruotransmitters that are very important to relax and calm the system. They are necessary to optimize the parasympathetic nervous system and quiet or balance the sympathetic nervous system. If one does not have enough of these neurotransmitters anxiety and depression are more likely to exist and plague ones existence. Green leafy veggies like spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choy, lettuce or swiss chard are some examples. They can be eaten raw, steamed or mixed in stews. If you are someone who does not like vegetables you are going to have to find a way to change your palate to get vegetables into your diet. One option to take action to change your palate slowly but surely is adding green leafy vegetables to smoothies. If you would like education on how to make delicious smoothies full of folate and other vitamins I have an entire course on smoothies with four step by step videos: The Smoothie Course offered on my website: www.tmurraywellness.com
- Turkey: Most people have experienced the need to nap after their Thanksgiving Turkey. Part of this is typically due to the fact that we gorge ourselves, but it is also because of the tryptophan in turkey. Tryptophan is an amino acid that your body uses to make proteins, B-vitamins and the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin. As we’ve discussed serotonin is a calming and anti-depressant neurotransmitter. Melatonin is a hormone that is highest at night when we are sleeping and it is lowest during the day when our cortisol that is our stress hormone is up. By having melatonin in your diet through tryptophan in turkey you can counter your cortisol levels and put a DENT in your stress.
- Blueberries: A general rule in the Diet portion of the DENT curriculum is to make sure you get at least one serving of every color of the rainbow every 48 hours. But when it comes to balancing stress, foods with blue or purple color are high in anthocyanins which are phytonutrients that are high in dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is very important in our physical coordination, memory and our moods.
- Dark Chocolate: Who says that eating healthy has to be boring or that you have to eat like a rabbit. Dark chocolate is a very healthy food. It has anandamide, which is another neurotransmitter and the name is taken from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means “joy, bliss, delight”.
- Fermented Foods: The enteric nervous system, which is the nervous system of the gut has been called the second brain and serotonin is a major neurotransmitter to calm this system. To have a healthy gut is fundamentally necessary to balance ones stress and not have run away anxiety or depression. In order to have a healthy gut one must have a healthy microbiome or population of beneficial bacteria in their gut. One of the best ways to populate your gut with the right bacteria is to eat multiple servings of fermented or probiotic foods every day. Most commercially fermented foods must undergo sanitizing processes that kill many of the good bacteria, so the best way to get your most beneficial probiotic foods is to make them at home. Sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables are excellent examples of foods that are easy to make at home with little education. Our grandparents knew how to make fermented foods and they used to be a regular part of our diets, but over the last 50-60 years with the faster and faster food culture that has developed most people do not know anymore how simple it is to make fermented foods. Yogurt or kefir are also easy to make at home once you know how and if you are sensitive to dairy or lactose intolerant, then water kefir can be an excellent probiotic. Members of my Discover Health programs get automatic access to “Dr. Trish’s Dishes” which is a series of food making demonstrations in which I show you how to make many different probiotic and fermented foods: Simple, Simple!
The Foods that will Surely Increase your Stress that you should Avoid!
Now let’s list the top foods that disrupt the balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. They increase cortisol and other hormones that increase inflammation and ultimately your stress leading to multiple different chronic conditions such as diabetes, anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome and many others.
- Sugar: Everyone has heard of diabetes and the fact that insulin is needed to help us physiologically utilize sugar in our bodies. If you ingest too much sugar your pancreas cannot put out enough insulin to keep up and your sugar levels become uncontrolled. But, another hormone that most people are not familiar with is leptin. Leptin is a hormone that tells us when we are full and when to stop eating. If a person has leptin resistance than the message of when to stop eating because you are full is blocked and you just keep on eating and gain weight. Insulin and Leptin resistance can both lead to mood swings and anxiety and depression and without balancing these hormones the road to metabolic imbalance and many disease processes to clear and sure. This is not to mean that you cannot eat anything sweet. Processed sugars and sugar laden processed foods are what you want to avoid. If you start to read the labels of the foods you buy you will be amazed at just how much sugar they are filled with. This over time changes your palate and your taste buds to require high levels of sugar and you think natural whole foods taste bland until you are willing to take action and detox yourself and break yourself from this sugar addicted programmed state. The food industry wants you to be sugar addicted and has been very successful with processed foods in making the majority of the population exactly that: sugar addicted. If you want to be free of this it will require that you actively read the labels of the foods you buy and to increase your intake of whole foods around the outside of the grocery store rather than down the aisles.
- Packaged and/or Processed Foods: Over the last 50 or 60 years the fast food and processed food industry has done a great job of changing our food culture. Getting our food out of a box and making our meals with instant this and instant that has become the norm and it is a major reason why we have the chronic disease problems we do today. In the Mount Washington Valley, where I live in New Hampshire, a stunning statistic is that 59% of people over 55 years old have three or more chronic health conditions that they are on prescription medication for. This is not due to genetics; this is due to our accepted environment of processed foods and a toxic world. The top ingredients in packaged and processed foods that you want to avoid are trans-fats or hydrogenated fats, artificial colors, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the litany of chemicals that your cannot pronounce. Remember, if the label reads like a foreign language then your body probably see’s the ingredients as foreign and will not know how to utilize them and your immune system will react against them.