IT IS A COMMON BELIEF that our gut acts like a “second brain.” Studies suggest more serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, is produced in the gut rather than in the brain. Eating anti-inflammatory nutrients on a regular basis can help lower your stress levels, feel calmer, and maintain energy from the inside out.
Transform yourself by adding just the right ingredients into your everyday routine and experience a whole new you.
1. AVOCADOS They are a great source of B vitamins, which is needed to maintain healthy neuron activity and brain cells. They also provide healthy plant fats, among numerous other benefits.
2. NUTS Replenish your necessary B vitamins with walnuts. Brazil nuts increase zinc levels, which can be drained by high levels of anxiety. Almonds boost vitamin E, which helps fight cellular damage linked to chronic stress. Pistachios can soften the impact of stress hormones on the body. Nuts are high in fat so moderation is key!
3. Spinach and kale are rich in potassium, magnesium, and DARK & LEAFY GREENS calcium. Potassium and magnesium are minerals which help overstressed muscles. Calcium can help your body maintain its circadian rhythm.
4. COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES Production of serotonin is prompted by complex carbohydrates. Healthy options include whole-grain breakfast cereals, breads, oatmeal, or steel-cut oats. They stabilize blood sugar levels which can help you feel more balanced.
5. For those who are not tomato lovers, your lycopene intake WATERMELON can be replaced with some refreshing watermelon which actually has higher levels of the antioxidant. Lycopene not only protects your brain, but helps fight depression-causing inflammation.
6. FISH Salmon and trout are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and can protect your heart from surges in stress hormones. Aim to eat four ounces of fatty fish at least three times a week. Fish such as cod, salmon, halibut, tuna, and snapper are rich in tryptophan an amino acid that naturally raises serotonin levels.
7. HUMMUS Garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, are the main ingredient in hummus. They contain tryptophan, folate, and vitamin B6.
8. MILKAs the perfect bedtime stress buster, milk contains the amino acid tryptophan. It is a precursor to our sleep hormone, melatonin, which helps you rest when you sleep.
9. CINNAMON Research studies have shown cinnamon can help stabilize your blood sugar and reduce body inflammation.
10 . EGGS They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, choline, and B vitamins. Eggs contain protein, which help you feel fuller longer and more energized. If high cholesterol poses a problem for you, try egg whites or egg substitutes.
11. DARK CHOCOLATE With at least 70 percent cocoa, it can give you an instant boost in mood and concentration. Dark chocolate relaxes blood vessels and improves blood circulation.
12. GREEN TEA Amino acids can be found in green tea. They help regulate stress, improve mood, and relax muscles.
Laughter, exercise, and healthy foods are daily gifts we give ourselves that keep on giving. Incorporating these nutritious foods into your daily routine will help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Please check with your doctor to make sure none of these foods interact with any medications you may be taking.
Dr. Gonzalez is a family counselor who also treats couples and individuals. If you have any questions about mental or behavioral health, contact Dr. Gonzalez for more information. Se habla español.
New Day Therapy and Counseling Center, LLC.