Stress is commonly known as the silent killer. We are all affected by it, but its effect is truly staggering. 75 to 90 percent of all doctor’s visits are due to a stress-related condition. Stress causes both mental and physical strains in the body. In this article, I’m going to talk about the strain of stress on cognition and how to tackle stress through nutrition.
Stress is anything that causes a strain on the body. Mental strain is most commonly caused by demanding jobs, heavy course loads, illness and a host of other reasons. As a result of increasing stress levels, the number of Americans affected by mental illnesses like anxiety has shot up in recent years. Everyone knows that they’d be better off without stress so here are a few ways to deal with it.
Good Nutrition for a Healthy Brain
The Mediterranean diet has received a lot of attention recently and for good reason. The diet consists of lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein like fish. It has shown to improve brain health and may even prevent dementia and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. The Mediterranean diet is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that help keep the brain sharp and healthy.
Adaptogens: Foods That Help Counteract Stress
An adaptogen is a natural substance that helps the body manage the toxic effects of stress and bring it back to balance. I talk more about adaptogens in thisarticle. Here are some adaptogens that can help fight stress (You might already have some of them in your kitchen!):
Foods For a Healthy Brain
1. Spice Things Up
What do cinnamon, turmeric, saffron in common? They’re spices that are rich in antioxidants and reduce inflammation in the brain and body. When it comes to spices, small qualities go a long way. Increase your spice intake by adding a little to soups and teas.
2. Get Caffeinated
Thought coffee was bad for you? Studies have shown that drinking 1-2 cups of coffee a day may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Coffee can also improve memory and reduce the risk of dementia.
3. Dark Chocolate
In case you needed another reason to indulge in some chocolate, dark chocolate is filled with powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation to the brain.
Tackling stress can be challenging endeavor involving introspection and taking time off to rest. Good nutrition plays a crucial role in improving cognition and is a simple place to start in your efforts to manage stress.
References and Resources:
6 Pillars of Brain Health - Food & Nutrition - Healthy Brains by Cleveland Clinic
America's #1 Health Problem - The American Institute of Stress