When you think of comfort foods, what pops up in your mind? Pizza, pasta, ice cream and cookies? We eat comfort foods in times of stress, but these foods we consume tends to increase our stress levels and hunger even more. With all that said, what if I was able to convince you to redefine your definition of comfort foods from a health standpoint? What if you could envision comfort foods as a way to lower general stress and make you feel balanced, calm and energized, all without the ingredients being detrimental to your health?
I obviously cannot do that within one article, but learning what foods and nutrients can provide you the constant energy release to keep blood sugar levels stable, fatigue decreased, and mood stable, is a start!
When we are stressed, our cortisol levels increase which triggers a conglomerate of negative side effects including junk food and carb cravings, or “comfort food” cravings as many would say. If you are looking for ways to lower cortisol levels with the help of nutrition, then read on!
Folate is one nutrient that helps fight depression, lowers blood pressure, and is also an essential vitamin for expectant mothers. Eating a plant-based diet can increase your folate intake, since this vitamin is found in many fruits and vegetables. Foods like asparagus, avocado, lentils, and citrus foods all contain folate.
Don’t discount carbs when it comes to weight loss or diets. In fact, I myself feel like I am my slimmest when I have complex carbs in the evening. Carbs like quinoa and brown rice will keep you feeling balanced and stabilized by keeping blood sugar levels neutral and stimulating the right hormones in our brains.
Vitamin C is one nutrient that can help cut cortisol levels to combat stress. Not only does your citrus fruits improve your immune system, it will help keep your mind at ease as well. Include oranges and berries in with your daily smoothies to get a boost of this stress busting vitamin.
Studies show that niacin helps decrease anxiety and depression, as well as aiding proper sleeping patterns. Foods high in niacin include: almonds, dark leafy greens, mushrooms, salmon or tuna, sunflower seeds, and rice.
Even though I shared just a sliver of the food sources to lower stress, I’m hoping you have an idea of how these vitamins and minerals can keep your body healthy and a smile on your face. Next is to figure out ways to combine these foods to make meals that will satisfy both your tummy, and your brain.
Stay tuned for a future post on creating more health based comfort foods.
All photos sourced from Dollar Photo Club