Icon WebMD Expert Blogs

Real Life Nutrition

A Fresh Take on "Good for You"


The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, review, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have... Expand

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Great Foods to Chill Out To

By David Grotto, RD, LDN


Everyone handles stress in different ways. Some sleep more, some yell and scream, some channel their stress in more positive ways like physical activity while others turn to high-calorie comfort foods that relieve stress in the short-term, but often do more harm than good in the long run. If you are a stress-muncher, here are some foods and suggestions that may help you tackle stress one bite at a time.

First off, it’s a good practice to avoid the sugary treats when you’re trying to calm your stress. Simple sugars spike your blood sugar, giving you a quick burst of energy, but then your energy falls again, leaving you under energized and more stressed!

Guac out! Avocados are a healthy fat source and provide potassium and antioxidants like vitamin C. These nutrients help battle high blood pressure, and when you’re stressed any help to decrease blood pressure is beneficial! Ounce per ounce, avocados have more potassium than bananas!

Sing the Blues. The high vitamin C of blueberries is what helps fight off stress; its antioxidant properties help protect cells from damage. A study found that people with higher blood levels of vitamin C show less mental and physical signs of stress when faced with challenges.

Orange you gonna take it easy? Like blueberries, this citrus fruit provides a wealth of vitamin C. Studies have found that C has the power to reduce levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Now, doesn’t that make sliced oranges sound more appealing than a slice of frozen pizza you might turn to after a stressful day at work? Orange consumption is higher than any other fruit in the U.S., but this is also attributed to the popularity of orange juice. Although orange juice is a good source of antioxidants and is a better choice than soda, try to limit your intake to a cup a day and also reach for the fresh fruit form, which has more fiber, leaving you feeling more satisfied.

Go nuts! Vitamin B6 and omega-3s in pistachios and all that crunching help lessen stress and tension. They help reduce blood pressure and inflammation, allowing blood to flow more efficiently. Pistachios are also a good source of fiber and a serving contains about the same amount as a serving of oatmeal — 3 grams!

Go fishin’ The high omega-3 content in salmon helps to keep stress hormone levels like cortisol and adrenaline in control.

Popeye “leaves” stress behind. There are so many goodies provided by spinach, like the stress buster magnesium! Low magnesium has been found to trigger headaches and fatigue, which certainly isn’t a good feeling when trying to relieve stress. Careful to not overcook spinach because micronutrients leach out; the best way is to enjoy raw or just a quick steam. Remember that the green-tinted water you have left over when boiling, for example, is where a lot of the vitamins and minerals are.

Tuna out stress. The omega-3s in tuna help relieve stress, but the high B vitamin content is very helpful as well. A 3 oz of tuna has about half a day’s worth of B1, B3, and B6. Canned tuna is probably a more realistic and affordable weekly meal option, but opt for the water-packed varieties to save on calories and fat.

What foods help you bust stress without busting out of your jeans?

Photo: iStockphoto

Posted by: David Grotto, RD, LDN at 7:51 am


Leave a comment

Subscribe & Stay Informed

The Daily Bite

Receive a healthy, delicious recipe in your inbox every day.


WebMD Health News