Women should be issued with a button “in times of stress, release chocolate”!
The problem with most typical “comfort” foods that we turn to in times of stress is that the gratification is often short term, leaving us weighing heavier and feeling bad about ourselves and more stressed than when we started.
Apart from many hormonal consequences from increased cortisol levels that come with chronic levels of stress (and that’s most of us!), one of the most common is increased food cravings and those cravings tend to be for sweet foods. However, the more sweet foods we eat, the worse our mood tends to get.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Here are 10 foods that will actually decrease cortisol levels and assist you in reducing the dreaded belly fat.
1. Asparagus – high in folate which in turn battles high stress levels. And yummy. Try a bunch oven baked with a scant drizzle of olive oil.
2. Avocadoes – anti-aging, good fats, aids in REDUCING the absorption of certain fats that cause belly fat, I could go on about how good this fruit is for you.
3. Blueberries – rich in antioxidants and vitamin C which is shown to reduce blood pressure and stress levels. All berries share this actually – so get nibbling.
4. Go nuts. Boost your zinc levels – low levels of zinc have been linked to anxiety and depression. And an easy way to get your daily zinc is the moderate consumption of nuts. Nom nom.
5. A study from the University of Pennsylvania tested chamomile supplements on 57 participants with generalized anxiety disorder for 8 weeks, and found it led to a significant drop in anxiety symptoms. So add some chamomile tea to your bedtime ritual for a better, more relaxed sleep.
6. Add some garlic to your diet. Not just good for keeping vampires away but also for boosting immune function!
7. Increase your consumption of fish and certain seafoods. Cold water fish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and the sneaky addition of oysters to your diet will aid as an aphrodisiac as well as adding essential zinc to your diet.
8. Grass fed beef while expensive is higher in anti-oxidants, omega 3’s, and vitamins C and E than grain fed beef. You’ll not only increase your omega 3 levels but you’ll actively decrease your omega 6 levels which are linked to a host of inflammatory disorders including depression.
9. Green tea – considered a calming tea but it’s also actually considered a brain stimulant. Great for those “mentally foggy” days.
10. I saved it for last because it’s the ultimate comfort food. CHOCOLATE! Yep, but keep it dark and keep portions in moderation. Dark chocolate is known to lower blood pressure and contains anti-oxidants. Find your happy place with a couple of squares of chocolate and you’ll manage your stress AND your belly fat.
So consider a multi pronged approach to managing your stress. Improve the quality of your diet, carve out some quiet time just for you – even if it’s only 5 minutes to yourself.
And of course, exercise is an essential part of that equation. Here’s an exercise method that is PROVEN to reduce cortisol AND burn bodyfat.