When you’re stressed, the best relief can come from a food you may not expect – deep-purple-hued, delicious berries.
Blueberries, especially, have the power to provide antioxidants and phytonutrients to help your body fight stress-causing free-radicals.
Free radicals are produced by the brain and can cause serious damage to your body. They’re sometimes caused by viruses and other bacteria entering the body, but environmental factors such as herbicides, pollution, radiation, and cigarette smoke are also reasons they may disrupt your body function.
Your body desperately needs antioxidants to fight these life-threatening body invaders which may accumulate rapidly as you age. Studies show that people who eat blueberries experience an intense boost in free-radical killers.
These nutrients in berries also provide a boost to your immune system, which can also counter stress. Besides the medical problems that stress can cause, you may also suffer from depression and mood swings.
Stress can become a vicious cycle that’s hard to break free from and diet can play a huge part in relieving stress – or making it worse. If you eat the stress-busting foods such as berries on a regular basis, you can help balance your physical and mental well-being.
The purple-hued berries such as blueberries and blackberries get their color from anthocyanins – pigments which give the berries their deep color. They are antioxidants that act as a medicine to the brain, helping cognitive functioning, moods and even body and limb coordination.
Managing stress by adding some superfoods such as berries can be an effective preventative measure to keep side effects of stress at bay. Add delicious berries to your cereal in the morning or to yogurt for a healthy snack and ensure your daily dose of this stress-busting food.
You can make a difference in your health when you grow foods in your garden that lower your risk of high blood pressure caused by stress. Hypertension (high blood pressure caused by stress and diet) is known as “the silent killer” and may lead to medical issues such as kidney, stroke and heart disease, among others.
If you love to garden – or want to try out your green thumb, you can add foods to the table that can play a big role in reducing your high blood pressure and lowering your risk for those dreaded medical problems.
Leafy greens are an easy-to-grow place to begin your gardening experience – or to add to your garden if you’re already practicing this life-altering activity. Leafy greens are rich in potassium and help counteract the effects of sodium in your diet.
Choose from greens like spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, turnips, and collard greens. The fresh taste from your garden is far better than canned (which often contains high levels of sodium) and provides a much better taste than frozen.
Berries are another great source of flavonoids, a natural compound that can help lower high blood pressure. Strawberries are often one of the first plants a beginning gardener attempts to grow.
They’re easy and quick to yield. You can easily freeze them and add to your cereal or grab a handful for a quick and healthy snack. Hypertension, caused by stress and anxiety, may be prevented by adding a variety of berries to your garden – and your diet plan.
Potatoes are another easy-to-grow superfood that you can easily add to your garden space (or grow in raised beds and containers). They contain the valuable minerals, magnesium, and potassium, which can greatly help to lower your blood pressure naturally.
Fiber is another reason to grow potatos. Getting enough fiber in your diet helps create a healthy immune system, which can reduce your risk of depression and other maladies caused by too much stress in your life.
Rather than add butter, salt and sour cream to your fresh potatoes, try other low-calorie and low-fat options such as salsa and plain yogurt. Potatoes are a go-to comfort food when you need a filling and tasty meal, but without the calories and sugar that can raise your blood pressure.
Beets are also easy to grow and are delicious straight from the garden. Plus, you can eat the entire plant. The root of the beet can be a delicious addition to soups and stews or you can roast and grill them.
Valuable nitrates present in beets can help you lower your blood pressure within 24 hours of consumption. They’re great for your overall health and mental well-being, too.
Try growing these and other amazing superfoods in your garden and add them to your diet plan to lower blood pressure and to counteract the effects of stress and anxiety.
Gardening can boost the feel-good hormones in your brain, which help fight against feelings associated with stress. Studies have shown that people who have a garden eat better and have fewer long term negative health effects.
Plus, another upside to gardening for stress eating is that you’ll discover that instead of putting weight on, you’re actually losing it instead. Most people are surprised to find that they lose inches around their waist and drop numbers on the scale through gardening.
It doesn’t seem like exercise because it’s a fun, fairly easy hobby to get into. The best part is that gardening isn’t something that requires you drag yourself to an exercise club, wear workout gear or pay for a membership.
It’s all convenient and very low cost. You just have to buy the seeds or the starter plants. You can get started with gardening through container gardening, window box gardening, indoor or outdoor gardening.
There are so many different types of foods you can plant, too. When you’re involved in growing a garden, you get exercise in a variety of ways. It’s good for any body type and any weight because the exercising is all low key and low impact so you won’t feel it in your joints.
Picking up the plants to move them from a pot to the soil works the upper body. As you work on transplanting, you’re working out core muscles as well. Lifting bags of soil to add to the garden plot is part of a garden workout.
So is raking the soil and digging in it to plant items. There’s also weeding, which is a repetitive exercise that relaxes both the mind and the body. You can burn calories in your garden by mulching and other tasks required to keep a garden productive.
Some foods require more effort to grow than other foods and that also contributes to weight loss. If you’re doing more physical aspects of gardening such as hoeing, this is considered a moderate workout and you can end up burning as much as 300 calories for every hour that you’re hoeing.
You’ll end up giving your muscles strength from all the activity as well as toning them. Gardening calms the mind, too – which, in turn, reduces stress and lowers cortisol. When the cortisol is lowered, you’ll also have less of a drive to turn to food for comfort.
Gardening Helps Dieters Shed Fat During Stressful Times
When you garden, there’s always healthy food available for meals and snacks to help combat stress during troubled or anxious times. Your garden can be the quiet place you go to relax, exercise to get you out of the doldrums and provide a good supply of healthy, mood-boosting foods.
Gardening might be the ultimate way to shed the fat cells during times when you crave unhealthy foods. Sugary and salty snacks, fast food and foods rich in calories and carbohydrates are what you feel you need, but add calories and free radicals to your body.
You may also plant yourself on the sofa and feel like you can’t make a move to do anything beneficial to your body. Gardening is like any other hobby you might take up – you’re excited about doing it.
But, gardening is different because it not only relieves stress but can provide beauty for the mind with flowers and food for the soul and body with the healthy plants you choose. Keep your garden simple at first until you know what you have the stamina for.
If you discover you really enjoy gardening, the sky’s the limit on the healthy foods you can enjoy. But keep gardening your hobby to relax and enjoy and don’t let it become a chore.
Stress affects us in various ways. We always want comfort and most of the time we find it in harmful foods, but what we really need is vitamin and nutrient-rich foods we can depend upon to keep our stress-out times low calorie, but satisfying.
Mood swings are dangerous to the dieter. If you choose an outlet such as gardening, you have a better chance of foregoing the bad moods and immersing yourself in the mood-lifting gardening experience.
And you’re more likely to eat the healthy foods you harvest from your garden than to pick them up at the supermarket when you’re stressed out. Gardening affects all of the senses – taste, smell, sound and touch all benefit the dieters need to consume healthy and low-calorie foods.
When gardening to relieve stress and eat healthier, try to be in the moment. It doesn’t help much to garden while you’re thinking about tomorrow’s workload or finances. You also have the perfect chance to build on your creativity when gardening.
When planning your garden, think about whether you want it to be wild and entertaining or subtle and elegant. That decision goes a long way in how much you relax in your garden environment.
Relaxation is sometimes key in relieving food cravings, which occur when you’re stressed out. Carving out a space in your garden for only you – for meditation, reading or just enjoying the aromas and ambiance – can help reduce cravings you may have for high-calorie, high-carb foods.
Gardening also gives you a sense of accomplishment that you don’t get with many other hobbies. It satisfies all the senses and the harvest is low calorie – and beautiful to behold.
The earliest recorded history of the use of garlic to boost health and relieve stress was made by the Egyptians. They fed it to their slaves and other laborers to boost their strength and stamina during the decades the pyramids were being built.
Now we know for sure that garlic is a huge asset to the immune system and can help prevent cancer, heart disease and lower blood pressure. Antioxidants are highly concentrated in this superfood and can combat the damage to our bodies caused by free radicals (body pollutants).
Free radicals are now believed to contribute to the development of life-threatening diseases. Garlic contains the antibacterial and anti-fungal component called allicin and naturopathic practitioners often recommend it for depression and anxiety.
Some little known facts about the benefits of garlic include:
* Chop or crush the garlic and let it sit for a while before cooking so the allinase enzymes contained in the garlic will better preserve its cancer-preventive properties.
* Allicin (a sulfur compound) may help improve your iron metabolism. A protein (ferroportin) allows a passageway in the cell membrane to store iron and exit the cell when the body needs it.
* Garlic is a good source for selenium, a trace mineral also present in the soil. Selenium is imperative for the body to increase immunity, protect against free radical damage, as an anti-inflammatory and to maintain a healthy and vibrant metabolism.
* Garlic may also play a role in the fertility of males and females and in preventing autoimmune, cancer and thyroid diseases.
You should include garlic in your diet plan on a daily basis. At least half a clove in your own food portion should suffice – but when used in recipes, use at least one or two for maximum benefit.
Use garlic in whole clove form, raw, chopped, powder, or pressed. Be sure to add it at the end of your recipe’s cooking cycle to derive the maximum benefits and flavor. Garlic can transform any dish into an aromatic and highly flavorful meal, boost your mood and counteract your high-stress levels.
Beets are coming back as a food-trend and being used in many different ways to ensure we get them in our diet plan. The arsenal of nutrients found in beets has an extremely beneficial effect on our nervous and immune systems.
Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties called betaine, beets also help to detoxify the body by stimulating liver cells and cleansing and protecting bile ducts, which carry waste through the system.
Betaine is an amino acid which acts as an antidepressant and stimulates the production of dopamine (the neurotransmitter which controls the pleasure points in our brains). An added bonus to consuming beets on a regular basis is the caloric count – approximately 40 calories per (average size) beet.
Beets are stocked with nutrients we sometimes lack, such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, fiber, niacin, biotin and iron. Together, these nutrients help to increase our levels of dopamine.
Low levels of dopamine cause us to be sluggish in our motor movements and may affect sleep cycles caused by stress. Recently, low dopamine levels have been connected to restless leg syndrome – the disorder that occurs often in seniors and keeps us awake at night.
Lowering blood pressure is also a benefit of beets. Some studies indicate that beets may help increase energy levels and stamina when you need it most. If you’ve never tried beets or beet juice, you’ll be amazed at all the ways you can use them in recipes or simply cut them up and include them in a leafy green salad.
Check out beet recipes and ideas online or in cookbooks and begin to use this superfood to boost your stress-reducing dopamine and nutrient levels.
If you’ve ever suffered from a stress-related headache, you know how debilitating it can be. Your own garden can be a source of food that can help alleviate the dreaded headaches caused by too much stress and anxiety in your life.
Certain foods can also cause headaches. Included in the list are cheese, red wine, chocolate, and caffeine. Many foods containing MSG (monosodium glutamate) can sometimes trigger the intense migraine headaches, so it’s good to avoid those foods when you can.
Foods that are known to prevent headaches can be grown in your own garden. Even if you don’t have a garden space in your backyard, many of these foods are easily grown in containers or hydroponically.
Some herbs are natural enemies of headaches and you can easily grow them and have them on hand whenever needed. Lavender, for example, emits a scent that encourages relaxation and is great for stress-related headaches.
Lemon balm is another easy-to-grow and fragrant herb that’s helpful to relieve tension and those headaches caused by anxiety. It also acts as a mild sedative if your headache is preventing you from getting much-needed rest.
Sage and rosemary are excellent stress-headache relievers. Rosemary also improves circulation and can stimulate the nerves – helping to relieve tension and cluster headaches. Use rosemary in your favorite recipes to give them an extra zing.
Sage is also an easy growing plant and a great addition to any garden type. It’s a herb that can turn a recipe from boring to amazing and also stimulates digestion. Tension and nerve-caused headaches may be relieved by the aroma of this amazing herb.
Many of these herbs are great for tinctures to add to beverages when you feel a headache coming on. Tea or infusions with some of the herbs can effectively stave off the onset of tension and nerve type headaches.
Cantaloupes and potatoes can be easily grown in your garden space or even containers and contain natural statins and anti-inflammatory properties which can help lower high blood pressure and alleviate the pain of stress headaches.
Low levels of magnesium may cause stress to morph itself into the form of a headache. You can get this essential mineral in dark, leafy green plants such as spinach and kale – easily grown in any type of garden.
Add spice to your foods to relieve headaches by growing peppers in your garden and add these to recipes. They’re especially good to add to stews and soups. Spicy peppers help to relieve congestion and sinus pressure and may also act to open blood vessels which may constrict during times of stress and anxiety.
Just the activity of gardening can do much to relieve stress. If you don’t have a large plot in your yard for a garden, consider another method such as container and hydroponic.
If you have enough space in your garden area, arrange a place for meditation and relaxation. Perhaps add a water feature and some aromatic herbs and flowers for complete relaxation and a way to get rid of those annoying stress-related headaches.
Carbs and sweets can cause powerful urges and wreak havoc with your system. The two cravings are what you’re bound to reach for when you’re under a lot of stress, but the few moments of satisfaction aren’t worth the harm they can do to your body and your stress level.
Sweet potatoes are a great way to reduce the urge for carbs and sweets while consuming a well-known superfood packed with vitamins such as beta-carotene and fiber. They can help your body process carbs slowly and steadily without causing mood swings and cravings.
As a snack, you can’t beat the stress-reducing power of sweet potatoes. Rather than a short rush of sugar (then, the crash that’s sure to occur), sweet potatoes treat your body to an array of nutrients that have the power to benefit your body rather than harm it.
Sweet potatoes also make you feel full for a longer period of time, reducing the need to binge or eat foods you don’t need or really want. Among the benefits of sweet potatoes is their high vitamin content.
Vitamin A (beta-carotene), manganese, pantothenic acid, Vitamin C, copper and Vitamin B6 are all contained in sweet potatoes. They’re also a great source for dietary fiber, niacin, potassium, Vitamin B1 and B2 and phosphorus.
Sweet potatoes are inexpensive, easy to cook and eat and make a delicious side dish or meal. The health benefits are numerous and include many for stress relief. Vitamin D can help those who may not receive adequate sunlight.
Vitamin D is a hormone and a vitamin and can keep SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) at bay. SAD often affects those who don’t get enough sunlight and can cause our energy levels and moods to suffer. It also benefits the thyroid gland – which in turn, affects our weight and moods.
Iron is another component found in sweet potatoes. Iron provides energy and stimulates the production of white and red blood cells, helping us resist the effects of stress on the body.
Magnesium is also necessary for our bodies and helps relieve stress by providing us with magnesium – a natural anti-stress and relaxation mineral. As important as it is to our overall well-being, it’s estimated that about 80% of America’s population is magnesium deficient.
Sweet potatoes are also versatile. You can bake, slice and grill, puree, steam or roast them or even add them to your leafy green salads and soups. Pureed, they can be an excellent addition to smoothies.
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Depression strikes nearly all of us at one time or another. It could be clinical depression, which is caused by our mental health and possible physical reasons – or situational depression caused by traumatic events or other negative occurrences in our lives.
It’s one of the most common illnesses striking the general population today and may cause irritability, fatigue, lack of motivation or purpose in life and extreme sadness, crying and even aches and pains.
Clinical depression sometimes requires seeking help from a counselor or physician and taking medications, but you may get relief by simply changing your diet a bit to include the right foods with elements that reduce and obliterate feelings of depression.
Processed meals, junk foods and foods high in refined sugar and carbs may contribute to the causes of depression in your life. By eating these types of foods, you’re only adding to the physical and mental problems causing the situation.
Recent studies report that a diet high in vegetables and fruits caused fewer symptoms of depression and had a cumulative effect of providing more antioxidants to the body. Antioxidants are essential to flushing out toxins and other elements adding to a sluggish immune system – and depression.
Folic acid may also reduce the risk of depression and other ailments such as insomnia and fatigue. Dark green, leafy vegetables contain folic acid as do an array of colorful vegetables such as those having deep colors.
Beets, peppers, melons, and tomatoes contain valuable nutrients that literally make us happy – boosting the brain’s production of serotonin – the happy chemical. All of the above vegetables can be grown easily in your home garden.
Whether you have an outdoor space or use another method of gardening such as containers on a small patio space or hydroponic gardening which can be done indoors, you can grow a garden for health that beats stress.
A common cause of depression is free radicals – highly damaging molecules produced by the body and are harmful to cells, cause aging and other body and mind dysfunctions.
Vitamins C and E and beta-carotene (an antioxidant) reduce the effects of free radicals on your system and render them unable to destroy your body or your happiness. Blueberries, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, and strawberries are great sources of Vitamin C and can be grown handily in your garden space.
Beta-carotene sources can be grown by planting carrots, spinach, collards, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes. Planning and planting your own garden is one way to bring much-needed exercise into your life – and exercise boosts the production of serotonin which, in turn, lifts your mood and your health.
Look to your garden to combat bouts of depression. Working in the garden gets you out into the sunshine (a good source of Vitamin D) and the vegetation you grow and harvest will help transform a dark, gloomy mood into a happy day.
Some plants offer natural stress relief elements that can’t be found in other methods. The simple beauty and joy of tending to these functional plants can greatly relieve stress you might feel from a long day in a stuffy office or fighting traffic within a fog of fumes.
Time With Nature
Spending time with nature is known to help relieve stress. One study showed that hospital patients who enjoyed well-placed plants within their rooms tended to have much lower stress levels than those patients without the plants.
Planting greenery indoors can cheer up the ambiance of a room and also purify the air you breathe. They bring relaxation and a restful scene into any room in your home or office.
Increase the Oxygen Levels
Indoor plants also increase the oxygen levels in a room and rid it of toxins so you’re breathing cleaner air. Some great plants for containers and your indoor space include the aloe plant.
Not only does the gel within the aloe leaves contain healing properties – they keep the air free of pollutants found in most cleaning products. Place the aloe plant in a sunny spot and watch it grow.
Scientists at NASA have deemed the English Ivy plant as one of the best indoor plants to use for filtering the air. It’s great for absorbing formaldehyde and a beautiful plant to hang or use as a floor plant – and it doesn’t need a lot of sunlight to flourish.
Other indoor plants useful to filter the air and release oxygen are the low-maintenance peace lily and the spiked leaf snake plant. Neither needs a lot of sun or water, so they’re relatively easy to grow.
Relieve Stress in Many Ways
Gardening can help relieve stress in many ways, whether you plant your garden in containers, grow them hydroponically or have an outdoor garden space. The sunshine you get while gardening outdoors provides natural stress relief and exercises your body, producing natural stress-relievers in the brain, provides your needed Vitamin D.
If you can grow vegetables in your garden space, be sure to include dark, leafy greens such as spinach and kale. Blueberries are also a great resource for stress relieving antioxidants.
Carrots, tomatoes and peppers are also vegetables that can have a great impact on lowering your stress level, helping to relieve tension and balance your blood sugar.
Rather than drowning your sorrows – and stress – in a bowl of ice cream or bag of chips, reach for fresh veggies and enjoy all the health benefits they provide.
To further reduce stress in your life, be sure to carve a meditation space in your garden. Add a water feature and some colorful flowers and plants to reduce stress levels in your life.
When stress causes your blood sugar to spike, you feel horrible and your mood can swing from happy to irritable in minutes. Your energy levels wane and all of a sudden you just want to go to bed and “sleep it off.”
A few changes to your diet plan can help you balance your blood sugar and combat the feelings that come when your blood sugar spikes. Essential elements and nutrients found in certain plants you can incorporate into your garden space may be just what you need to keep your blood sugar on an even keel.
High fiber fruits and veggies aid carbohydrate digestion and their rush into the bloodstream that causes a spike in blood sugar. Berries such as blueberries and blackberries are nutritious and can be added to cereal or eaten as a snack to prevent the fluctuations occurring in your blood.
Adding a leafy green salad to your meals provides sugar blockers that can counteract a meal heavy with carbs – and lettuce, kale, arugula, and spinach are easy additions to any garden space.
Chopped tomatoes, bell pepper, and broccoli are also easy-to-grow garden items and can be effectively added to meals in salads or other methods and work wonders to provide the fiber that helps prevent sugar spikes.
Legumes in the form of kidney beans, lentils, and chickpeas and other types can be added to soups and stews, salads and used as a side dish. They contain the fiber need to regulate your blood sugar and keep you from feeling hungry all the time.
Many fruits and vegetables tend to be high in carbs, but contain healthy carbs and affect your blood sugar differently than other carbs. Some healthy foods you can grow in your garden that contain low glycemic levels include lettuce, onions, red peppers, cabbage, and broccoli.
Cauliflower, eggplant, green beans and tomatoes also contain low glycemic levels. Carrots are easy to grow and can be eaten raw – but when you cook them, the glycemic levels jump to higher levels.
Unhealthy snacks can greatly affect your blood sugar levels in a negative way. Healthy snacks during the day can include berries, kale chips, raw veggies and other foods from the garden.
A low glycemic diet plan can also promote overall health and well-being. Since fruits and vegetables are considered most low-glycemic, low-calorie and nutritious foods on the planet, be sure to add these superfoods to your garden plan – and your diet plan.
They’re also high in water which helps to hydrate your body – and fiber, which provides volume to any meal and helps you feel full so you don’t add calories by snacking. If you have Type 2 diabetes or swings in moods caused by spikes in blood sugar, don’t skip meals.
Breakfast is important and adding such garden foods as spinach to an egg omelet can do wonders to regulate your blood sugar for the rest of the day. Building your diet plan – and your garden plan around healthy fruits and veggies will enhance your health and your life.