Often a nagging headache, insomnia or decreased productivity at work is misinterpreted as an illness when the actual culprit might be STRESS. The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress can be both positive and negative. It can also contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and PCOD. Stress releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline in the body. These hormones can speed up the metabolism of the body to quickly produce energy, which at times is a positive change, but an excess release of these hormones pushes the body to secrete amino acids, potassium, phosphorous and magnesium. This leads to muscle breakdown, which affects the immune, digestive and reproductive systems.
Tips to reduce stress:
Eight hours of undisturbed sleep is an important factor, which will help combat stress. Serotonin, a hormone present in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract and the nervous system, helps you sleep better.
Here are some guidelines to enhance the production levels of serotonin in your body, increase productivity at work and create a balanced life:
Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in the body and plays an important role in releasing serotonin. Pre-workout and post-workout meals are also important as they can affect our bodies.
Take some time out to listen to your favorite music or meditate or indulge in your favorite sporting activity.
Stay away from junk, refined and processed foods and instead include whole grains and cereals like ragi, oatmeal, whole wheat and quinoa in your daily diet. Apart from them giving you a steady supply of energy, these cereals are rich in B vitamins which enhance the production of energy from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Junk foods with simple carbohydrates and sugars cause your blood sugar to spike and then fall quickly which can cause your energy levels to dip.
Asparagus is very high in folic acid and vitamin B and can help maintain your mood as it helps in making serotonin.
is a protein from an animal source and helps in releasing serotonin. Proteins contain a large amino acid called tryptophan that converts to serotonin. Tryptophan, the amino acid works best when consumed with carbohydrates.
Almonds, high in monounsaturated fats and stable fats are also rich sources of vitamin B2, vitamin E, zinc, and magnesium. Have a handful of almonds early morning, mid-day or mid evening.
Citrus fruits reduce the production of stress hormones and strengthen the immune system. They are also high in fiber and are generally low-calorie fruits.
Omega 3 fats:
These fats break down into a hormone-like substance called prostaglandins, which help against inflammation and pain. So, it helps fight headaches. Include fish like tuna and salmon in your diet or flaxseeds for vegetarians.
a good source of slow release sugars, lactose and calcium along with a high content of protein and vitamin B2 and B12, helps in preserving the tryptophan and releases serotonin.