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Instant De-stress Tips: 7 Foods You Should be Eating Right Now

Instant De-stress Tips: 7 Foods You Should be Eating Right Now

    “You are what you eat.” We’ve all heard it a thousand times before. So when my mom showed up at my house over the weekend with a bunch of bananas, I should have known there was a good reason.

    “Hey, Mom. What’s with the bananas?”

    “Well, kiddo, you told me you had a rough week, and I read somewhere that bananas were good for reducing your stress levels.”

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    So I ate a couple bananas, and I started to feel better. And that got me wondering…what other foods are good for lowering your stress levels?

    If you’ve stressed out, it can really affect your productivity. In order to stay at your peak, try snacking on some of the following foods.

    1. Bananas

    So obviously I had to start with the food that inspired me to write this. Bananas are high in potassium, which aids in the regulation of blood pressure. Lots of other fruits and vegetables contain potassium, but it’s especially high in bananas.

    In addition to stress benefits, bananas can also relieve heartburn and keep your blood sugar levels up.

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    2. Salmon

    Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which elevates your mood, thereby helping you to better cope with the aftereffects of a really tough day at the office. These fatty acids aid with brain function, meaning that you’ll have the mental acuity to keep your head when everything is going crazy around you.

    Flax seeds are also high in omega-3s.

    3. Broccoli

    Broccoli contains folic acid. In addition to being essential for pregnant women, folic acid is also very helpful for lowering stress levels and preventing irritability. Other foods rich in folic acid include asparagus and orange juice.

    4. Sugar

    And you thought this article was gonna be all about healthy foods.

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    Foods that are high in sugar cause your body to produce fewer hormones linked to anxiety. When you ingest sugar, your body creates a hormone that counters stress reactions, called glucocorticoid.

    So, while you should make sure to only eat sugar in moderation, a small taste of ice cream, cookies, or chocolate can help you to lower your stress levels almost instantly. Just be careful not to overindulge, or else you might just end up in a sugar coma.

    5. Black Tea

    One study conducted in England revealed that people who drank 4 cups of black tea per day for at least 6 weeks saw a marked decrease in the amount of cortisol their bodies were producing. Cortisol is a hormone linked to high stress levels, so anything you can do to limit cortisol production will help you to deal with the stumbling blocks that life puts in your way.

    6. Whole Grains

    A diet rich in complex carbs and whole grains encourages your body to produce increased levels of serotonin, a feel-good hormone that improves your mood and produces a sensation of relaxation.

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    7. Chicken Breast
    Everyone knows tryptophan as a buzzword you hear a lot around Thanksgiving. But believe it or not, chicken breast actually contains a higher level of tryptophan than turkey. That means eating some chicken after a particularly stressful day can help you to get more restful sleep, a very useful benefit if you often find yourself tossing and turning when you have a lot on your mind.

    Conclusion

    According to nurse Elaine Magee, the way we eat can absolutely affect your mood and our ability to cope with stress. By eating the right combination of foods, we can trick our bodies and brains so that they can battle stress more effectively.

    “Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, so you might think that foods high in protein would increase levels of tryptophan, but the opposite is true. Tryptophan has to fight with other amino acids to cross the blood-brain barrier and get into the brain. Since tryptophan is the weaker of the amino acids, generally only a small amount makes it into the brain when other amino acids are present.

    But, when you eat a meal that’s almost all carbs, this triggers insulin to clear the other amino acids from your bloodstream. That leaves tryptophan with a smooth passage into the brain. This, in turn, boosts the serotonin level in the brain. High serotonin levels help boost your mood and help you feel calm.”

    As a bonus, when your stress levels are lower thanks to a better diet, you won’t be a victim of “stress eating”. In addition, lower stress means lower levels of cortisol in your body; lower levels of cortisol will make it easier for you to lose weight, particularly around your gut. Those two factors combined mean that you’re more likely to lose weight by following these eating tips. Who knew eating sensibly could make you feel so good?

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    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

      More Tips on Getting in Shape

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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