Stress is a necessary protective mechanism to save us, but if it becomes excessive and chronic, it affects well-being, can be the cause of insomnia, irritability, concentration problems, depression and even contribute to many health problems.
Research and studies show that simply incorporating certain foods, at the right time of day, with a certain frequency, can address nutritional imbalances that can promote or worsen anxiety symptoms.
The key to eating to fight your anxieties and manage your stress? Stock up on certain nutrients and vitamins. But also play on the precursors of stress hormones and hormones of well-being. Activated and stimulated, they produce a feeling of well-being and happiness.
Eat foods that are sources of magnesium.Research has amply proven the relationship between magnesium deficiency and stress. A recent study of very large scale (more than 3000 subjects), confirmed that people who lack it are more prone to be anxious and depressed than others.1. However, more than 70% of us are deficient. Among the causes, there is the decrease, especially the ever-increasing consumption of ultra-processed products, modern cultivation techniques.
- participates in the myelination of the brain which has lasting effects on behavioral functions;
- intervenes in the monoaminergic system and in the homeostasis of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), a regulator of mood, neuronal activity and anxiety;
- is a cofactor of the enzymes responsible for the synthesis of dopamine and serotonin (hormones of happiness).
This explains why a lack aggravates nervous tension that can lead to depression. In addition, once the stress is installed, various mechanisms follow, which will promote the elimination of magnesium through the urine. The more you stress, the more magnesium you will lose. It’s a vicious circle.
Fill up on magnesium by:
- eating an avocado a day;
- making a muesli for breakfast with 30 g of buckwheat flakes, 1 sliced banana, 20 g of crushed oilseeds, 10 g of crushed dark chocolate;
- drinking a full glass of magnesium-rich water daily like Hepar.
Ideally, supplement yourself with magnesium. For more than a century, numerous studies have demonstrated the value and safety profile of magnesium supplementation.2. A study published in the scientific magazine PLOS One even highlighted that the effectiveness of magnesium on the treatment of depression was comparable to that of antidepressants of the class of SSRIs such as fluoxetine and citalopram.3. Take 3 x 100 mg minimum per day of marine magnesium or bysglycinate combined with a B vitamin and taurine, for its good assimilation.
Eat foods that are sources of vitamin D. Depression, fatigue, are among the phenomena associated with vitamin D deficiency. Our pool of vitamin D comes in small part from food. For it :
- eat fatty fish 3 times a week, small because they are less contaminated with heavy metals: sardines, herring, anchovies. Canned cod liver is also very interesting. Among the large oily fish: tuna and salmon;
- eat liver once a week;
- eat eggs regularly (up to 3 a day every day, no negative impact on health);
- eat a fatty dairy product (if you tolerate them), once a day, preferably in the morning or at noon: cheese or butter for example.
But vitamin D does not come primarily from food. Our body produces it in the presence of UV radiation. In winter supplementation is absolutely necessary. Count at least 1000 IU per day. You can find it in pharmacies.
Eat foods that are sources of omega-3s: they would facilitate resilience by improving the strength of connections between neurons in a brain region that regulates stress. Researchers who placed mice for 10 days in the company of a very aggressive male, then analyzed the nucleus accumbens (small structure in the center of the brain that regulates emotions) of all the mice. The less the mice ate omega-3, the less their brain produced endocannabinoids (cannabis-like molecules naturally present in the brain), and the more they were stressed, with anxious behavior.
To know : Blood levels of endocannabinoids decrease when a person suffers from depression and a high level of omega – 3 in the blood is associated with a lower frequency of depressive symptoms in the elderly.
Actions to be taken:
- same advice as for vitamin D: eat oily fish 3 times a week. They are the ones who provide the most assimilable omega-3s;
- eat a tablespoon of oil rich in omega-3 per day: linseed, rapeseed or hemp oil for example…;
- insert nuts in your morning muesli, in your salads. 30g per day.
A little extra: omega 3 fatty acids help the cellular absorption of magnesium.
Lower your cortisol level (stress hormone) by eliminating the consumption of industrial and processed foods, which are nutritionally impoverished and responsible for hormonal variations, and by avoiding stimulants.
When a person is in a stressful situation, cortisol is released to help the body manage the fight or flight instinct. But in excess, in the long term, the effect is the opposite: too much cortisol exacerbates stress.
Actions to be taken:
- buy raw foods that you will cook yourself: meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, organic and first cold-pressed oils, aromatic herbs and spices;
- if you eat starches, buy whole, unprocessed grains, such as brown rice;
- avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar and foods high in sugar, excess carbohydrates in general – the most stressed will also benefit from adopting a ketogenic diet, extremely low in carbohydrates
Boost your happiness hormones. The brain has serotonin, endorphin, dopamine, oxytocin, norepinephrine, hormones of well-being, which are within our reach. We can, through food, stimulate our own production.
Eat foods that are sources of tyrosinean amino acid (constituent of proteins), precursor of dopamine.
Actions to take (especially at the beginning of the day):
- sprinkle your dishes with peanuts, sesame seeds and pumpkins;
- eat raw avocado, cabbage and/or beetroot every day;
- think of turkey as poultry;
- consume liver once a week;
- put oregano everywhere;
- drink green tea;
- consume rather hard cheeses such as Parmesan or Cantal;
- make a protein breakfast. Example: an egg in addition to your magnesium-rich muesli. On the other hand, avoid carbohydrates at the start of the day.
If you are lacking in motivation to start the day, take an L-Tyrosine supplement when you get up (between 200 and 300 mg).
Eat foods that are sources of tryptophan, an amino acid precursor of serotonin, which is interesting to draw from cereals, rich in carbohydrates. Eating a carbohydrate-rich dinner causes the release of insulin and thus leads to the drop in plasma of amino acids (especially present in meats and fish) which usually compete with tryptophan for access to the brain. Freed from this competition, tryptophan crosses the blood-brain barrier.
Actions to take (in the evening):
- dine on tryptophan-rich legumes;
- sprinkle your dishes with nuts and seeds (especially peanuts, sunflower, walnuts and cashews);
- prefer a vegetarian meal with soy (tempeh, tofu, instead of a steak).
In case of craving for sugar, discomfort at the end of the day, take at a distance from meals, tryptophan capsules associated with B vitamins and magnesium for a good synthesis of serotonin.
Bananas, rich in serotonin, but the intestine does not assimilate it in its pure state.
When it comes to oxytocin and norepinephrine, food won’t do much. But a hug of twenty seconds is enough to get his dose of oxytocin. Serotonin is also boosted by hugs. For norepinephrine, you will stimulate its production with sustained sports activity.
Eat pre and probiotic foods.Current scientific research shows that people who have higher levels of good bacteria in their gut experience less anxiety and stress and have better mental outlook. The intestines are considered a second brain lined with neurotransmitters.
For it :
- eat at least once a day fermented foods such as pickles, pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh, yogurt;
- drink kefir or kombucha, a small glass a day.
Eat foods that are sources of hydroxytyrosol, a powerful antioxidant against stress and depression. For it :
- cook mainly with olive oil;
- add olives to your dishes;
- don’t skip the grapes in September;
- allow yourself a glass of red wine from time to time.
Have a soft drink at 4 p.m.: a matcha tea. Matcha reduces anxiety due to its high L-theanine content and boosts the immune response. L-theanine decreases the stimulating effect of caffeine on the nervous system, facilitating a state of concentration, moral and physical well-being, and reducing mood swings. The stress-reducing effect of matcha has been examined with animal experimentation and a clinical trial. 1g is enough. As an indication, a good matcha is around 1 euro per gram.
Have a good comeback!