Apart from the relaxation techniques and physical activity, which act effectively against chronic stress, diet has an equally important role in managing stress. So, use your diet as a weapon against stress and give yourself a better physical and mental health.
Foods antidotes to stress
Whole-grain cereals: An ideal snack when you feel tired and high-tempered. In this case, the levels of blood sugar have probably dropped. Carbohydrates from foods such as whole-grain cereals are slowly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract, providing the body with energy at a slow pace, so that it can use it in the optimal manner.
Fruits and vegetables: Very good sources of vitamins and antioxidants, which help in fighting free radicals that are created in your body due to stress. Make sure you eat at least 5 portions per day.
Fatty fishes (e.g. mackerel, sardine, salmon): due to their high content in omega-3 fatty acids, they help against stress.
Dried fruits: They contain vitamins and minerals (e.g. magnesium), which can relax muscles, prevent arrhythmia and facilitate sleep. Prefer unsalted and non-roasted dried fruits in small quantities.
Non-fat dairy products, egg, lean meat and poultry: They provide the body with essential amino acids and trace elements such as magnesium and selenium for strong nerves and healthy muscles. Among these foods is Katiki Domokou cheese with only 13% fat, and low-fat cured meats. In the NIKAS Viveur range, cured meat is gluten-free and contains only 0-3% fat and 30% less salt. Also, NIKAS FUEGO smoked turkey has 0-3% fat and is made of 96% pure meat.
Water: The most important element for keeping fit. When you’re dehydrated, you can also get irritated and tired, while your self-concentration levels and decision-making ability are reduced.
Foods that cause stress
Alcohol: Alcohol operates repressively in your nervous system making you feel relaxed. This is why people with high-stress levels tend to depend on the repressive action of alcohol. However, consuming alcoholic beverages makes you feel like escaping reality but barely helps you to cope with stress and situations that lead to stress.
Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulating substance for your nervous system. It is found in various beverages and foods, such as coffee, cola and tea. Excessive consumption of caffeine can lead to tremors, tachycardia, and sleep disorders. Nevertheless, people with increased levels of stress often consume particularly high amounts of caffeine, usually in the form of coffee, exacerbating their already tense condition. For this reason, consumption of coffee is recommended to be within the acceptable limits, i.e. no more than 2-3 cups daily.
High-sugar foods: Foods that are high in sugar are sweets, cakes, biscuits, sugar refreshments etc. These foods cause intense fluctuations in sugar levels in your blood. As a result you feel you don’t have enough energy and you go back to the fridge to cover this need thus increasing the total intake of calories.
Refined foods: Such foods include white sugar, pasta, white bread, etc. For exactly the same reason as with high-sugar foods, it is recommended that you avoid refined foods and prefer equivalent unprocessed foods.
Diet tips for less stress
- Don’t let your stomach empty for many hours. Having 2-3 main meals and 2-3 snacks in-between during the day is important, in order to keep blood sugar in good levels.
- Prefer low-calorie snacks. In this case, an ideal snack with few calories is 1 fresh fruit or 2-3 pieces of dry fruit, 1 cup of yoghurt or some dried fruits.
- Try to combine proteins and carbohydrates in the same snack. This combination helps you receive all the ingredients you need and will keep you full for more hours. Try 2 toasts with 1-2 slices of NIKAS Viveur turkey, 1 cup of yoghurt with some croutons, or 1-2 rusks with Katiki Domokou cheese with only 13% fat.