Stress eating is generally considered to be a bad thing; along with emotional eating can trigger a false sensation of hunger and lead to overeating. It’s also perceived as a negative coping mechanism because it does not solve the underlining problem, simply gives the illusion of comfort. However, there are experts who encourage stress eating. As long as you choose the right foods and not devour an entire chocolate cake, nibbling on something when your nerves are stretched to the max can calm you down and decrease your risk of high blood pressure.
Almonds, Pistachios & Walnuts
When you feel like even the slightest unpleasant noise could provoke you a nervous breakdown, pick up a handful of almonds, pistachios or walnuts. They’re filled with vitamin E, an antioxidant that strengthens the immune system, as well as B vitamins, which may help your body hold up during seriously nerve wrecking events. You could also replace your peanut butter with almond butter on days when you need a bit of extra to calm you down (say a tense full day at the office). Also, having one and a half ounces (about a handful) of pistachios a day lowers blood pressure so your heart doesn’t have to work overtime. Walnuts have also been discovered to lower blood pressure, both at rest and under stress.
Remember how when you couldn’t sleep your parents would give you a glass of warm-milk as a remedy for your insomnia and restlessness? Well, mothers do know best, as it has been proven that calcium helps in reducing muscle spasms and soothes tension. A glass of skim or 1 percent milk can also reduce stressful PMS symptoms, for instance mood swings, anxiety, and irritability. A 2005 study has showed that women who drank four or more servings of low-fat or skim milk per day had a 46 percent lower risk of bad PMS symptoms than women who had no more than one serving per week.
Salmon, along with mackerel, herring, light tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help keep your cortisol and adrenaline levels from spiking. Studies have also proven that omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of heart disease. If you’re not that keen on fish, you can get your omega-3 punch from foods fortified with DHA (you can find it in eggs, yogurt, milk, and soy products).
Magnesium is to your stress hormones what kryptonite is to Superman. This wonderful mineral can help reduce your stress levels, and keeps your body in a state of relative relaxation. If you’re feeling unusually tensed, have migraines and you feel fatigued, not getting enough magnesium could be the cause of it. Just one cup of spinach provides 40 percent of your daily required value, so you could try replacing your lettuce on sandwiches and salads with spinach. Or try the “Popeye” way and have it directly from the can.