How To De-stress With Food

For so many people, the first few months of the year are a stressful time. The combination of cold weather and the pressure of a new year, on top of busy work schedules, can be a lot to handle. Therefore, it is so important to take extra care of yourself and tackle stress head-on, sometimes in ways you wouldn’t expect.

Jennifer Irvine, the founder of The Pure Package and busy mother to four girls, knows just how important it is to manage stress. The entrepreneur has used her love of food and quality ingredients to better the lives of her clients since 2003, with her business ventures making her a revolutionary of the food industry. Jennifer has won awards such as Harpers Bazaar Entrepreneur of the Year over her years in business. Jennifer has shared some of her top tips, linking diet to stress.

Improve your gut health
Research has shown that ongoing stress can negatively affect the healthy bacteria in our gut and as a result affect our entire system. 80% of our immunity lives in our gut – if we experience unusually high levels of stress, the blood flow to our gut gets affected, and as a result, we could be more prone to getting ill. Foods good for your gut include bananas, blueberries, beans, broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables such as kale), and fermented plant-based foods.
Increase consumption of oily fish
Oily fish contains a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to have a direct link with stress. Omega-3 fatty acids can help bring your cortisol (stress hormone) levels down, therefore keeping your stress levels even. Add a variety to your diet including mackerel, tuna, herring, and salmon. If you’re not a fan of fish, try adding flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts to your diet instead.
Eat a diet high in potassium and magnesium-rich foods
Eating healthy might seem like obvious advice, however, during very high periods of stress focus on increasing your intake of potassium and magnesium-rich foods. Potassium can help regulate blood pressure, which rises during times of stress and magnesium has been termed as ‘natures Valium’. Think of foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, avocados, bananas and even a bit of dark chocolate! Include some of these in your breakfast for a morning boost.
Drink water and tea
Make sure you start your day with a glass of water first thing in the morning. Water is vital for hormonal function, blood sugar balance and elimination of waste – if these are not in control the body can be put under stress. Many of us forget to drink enough water, try to drink eight 8-ounce glasses each day or carry around a water bottle with you. When it comes to tea, L-Theanine, a chemical found in Green tea has been proven to reduce stress and anger.

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