Going through open enrollment? We can help.
Doctor's office
Enter your doctor's name to get office information.
Find labs in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find labs in your network.
Find urgent care centers in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find urgent care centers in your network.
FollowMyHealth®
Driving Directions
Cart
Update Information
Forgot Password

Please enter your e-mail address.

Sharp Health News

6 ways to use food to tackle stress

Nov. 7, 2019

6 ways to use food to tackle stress
Too much stress can take a toll on the body, both physically and emotionally. Learning to manage stress — and finding ways to relieve it — is important for your overall wellness.

One way to keep stress at bay is through diet. “Food can’t fix stress, but it can certainly play a role in how your body responds to it,” says Lauren Elliott, a registered dietitian and wellness education specialist with Sharp Rees-Stealy’s Center for Health Management.

According to Elliott, our bodies respond to stress by producing a steroid called cortisol. Cortisol prepares the body for a fight or flight reflex. Yet too much of it, too often, can wreak havoc on our ability to manage our weight, keep our immune system functioning properly and prevent disease.

Because inflammation is another culprit in cortisol production, eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help better manage the steroid’s impact on the body. Elliott shares six easy ways to reduce inflammation and use food as a natural stress reducer.

  1. Get colorful
    A vibrant array of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes is not only visually stimulating, but it also provides a variety of inflammation-fighting foods. Fresh, colorful plant foods are packed with phytonutrients — bioactive plant compounds linked to better health. A diet rich in phytonutrients can help lower inflammation, which can help keep the stress hormone cortisol in check.

    When visiting the grocery store, fill your cart with lots of color. Strive to incorporate all colors, like dark reds (cherries, purple cabbage), deep greens (kale, avocado), bright oranges (squash, citrus) and light whites (cauliflower, mushrooms).

  2. Maximize magnesium
    Magnesium has been shown to play a role in lowering inflammation, fighting depression and reducing blood pressure. One study found that magnesium deficiency is a predisposing factor for chronic inflammatory stress, and can increase the likelihood of chronic disease development.

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends most adults consume between 320 to 420 milligrams of magnesium daily. A quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half the recommended daily intake. Other potent sources include cooked spinach, black beans, quinoa, halibut and almonds.

  3. Know your omegas
    The Western diet is generally full of processed oils that are high in omega-6 fatty acids. These omega-6 fats contribute to inflammation and are found in most processed and packaged goods, from cookies and crackers to dressings and marinades.

    Omega-3 fats, on the other hand, are heart-healthy and have been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms. Incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into your diet by choosing fatty fish such as salmon, cod, sardines, mackerel or tuna. Also, try adding chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseed or walnuts to your smoothies, oatmeal or salads for an omega-3 boost.

  4. Go with your gut
    Research shows a connection between the human brain and the bacteria that reside in our gut. These bacteria have many functions in promoting our overall health, such as enhancing our immune response and synthesizing new vitamins.

    We can introduce this beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, to our digestive system through various foods, including ones that contain live cultures, such as yogurt or kefir. Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kombucha or kimchi, can also provide probiotics.

  5. Skip the simple sugar
    Large quantities of sugar create a rapid rise in our blood sugar levels. This can simulate the feeling of a panic attack.

    Refined and processed foods lack the fiber and balance of protein and fat that slow digestion. Our bodies quickly assimilate this sugar and, afterward, our blood sugar levels plummet, leaving us feeling lethargic. Check nutrition labels to see the sugar content and consider choosing a smaller portion.

  6. Be mindful
    Creating a peaceful environment for eating prepares the body for better digestion. When we are in tune with our food and not distracted, we are more capable of detecting when we are hungry and when we are full. While convenience foods make it easy to grab a bite while on the go or watching TV, take a moment to turn off the electronics and sit down to your next meal.

You might also like:

Choose the doctor who's right for you.

At Sharp, we make it easy to find an exceptional doctor — right where you live and work.

All Categories
Contact Sharp HealthCare
Call us

1-800-827-4277

If this is a life- or limb-threatening emergency, please call 911 immediately.


Email us

Please do not use this form to convey personal or medical information.

How would you like to be contacted?
Date of birth
Optional


Find other numbers

View our phone directory

What's This?

These important numbers are located on your billing statement.

Find your Sharp Rees-Stealy account number

Find your Sharp Rees-Stealy account number

Find your Sharp hospital account number

Find your Sharp hospital account number

Find your SharpCare account number

Find your SharpCare account number
What's GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs the processing of personal information gathered from individuals while they are in the European Union (EU) and parts of the EEA (European Economic Area, which currently includes Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway).

We are sorry, but we are unable to process hospital price estimates if you live or are travelling within the EU or affiliated nations.

To learn more, call us at 858-499-5901.

What's This?

Many surgery and procedure names sound similar. If possible, please provide the current procedure terminology (CPT) code, which can be found on the order from your doctor.

If you cannot provide the CPT code, please contact your doctor's office for the CPT or a detailed description of services.